- Series: Places Rated
- Paperback: 662 pages
- Publisher: Places Rated Books, LLC; 7th edition (March 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0979319900
- ISBN-13: 978-0979319907
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.4 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Places Rated Almanac: The Classic Guide for Finding Your Best Places to Live in America 7th Edition
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Looking to live somewhere where houses are cheap? Head to Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa, where the average home costs $75,700, and annual property taxes for that home are about $960. Perhaps a good job market is a higher priority. In that case, pick Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; or Riverside, California, as they top the list of places projected to have the highest-percentage increase in new jobs by 2005. Most of those jobs, by the way, are expected to have above-average pay. This and other detailed information can be found in the sixth edition of Places Rated Almanac, a helpful resource for people thinking of relocating as well as those with a desire to learn about cities and towns. Metropolitan areas are rated in nine categories: costs of living, job outlook, transportation, education, health care, crime, the arts, recreation, and climate. But don't go looking for statistics on Podunk--the focus remains on 354 metro areas, metro defined as a city or urbanized population of at least 50,000, located in a county with a total population of at least 100,000.
Places Rated is laced with intelligent and, unexpectedly, witty writing. The whole concept of judging places, the author notes, may seem the utmost of brass. "Yet everyone does it, privately. Some suspect that culture in Omaha or Des Moines or Saskatoon is a contradiction. Others surmise that daily life in Miami consists of surviving drug-trade shoot-outs..." Organized intelligently, Places Rated acknowledges that "livability" and "quality of life" are moving targets. Livable for whom? The artist who wants mountain vistas? The entrepreneur who wants low taxes and no red tape? With these limitations in mind, the book ends with a chapter titled "Putting It All Together," where the reader is invited to rate cities with a customized list of priorities. Arriving at your customized list, however, requires answering 72 questions that force you to decide once and for all what you value most--a low cost of living or good school districts or mild winters or some other criterion. And should you find that climate matters most, head for Santa Barbara, California, where winters and summers are mild and natural hazards are few, and stay away from Rochester, Minnesota, unless you're willing to endure 35 days when it's 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and 165 days of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, annually. --John Russell --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The problem that I have with PRA is the lack of an index on the culture or "mood" of the cities involved. There certainly is a difference in culture between, Charleston S.C., Joplin, MO., and Phoenix, AZ. even if the score the same on the other indices.
Moving to a new city is, in some ways,like marrying another person by mail. It's great to know the age, weight, IQ, favorite hobbies of the individual, but not knowing their behavior or quirks can be disastrous. In my case, even with the last two PRA highly rated cities that I moved to, adverse culture was among the top reasons why I ended up leaving.
What would I recommend to the publishers of PRA? Hire a part time anthropologist. Look for possible indices (such as population inflow vs. outflow, town hall meeting topics, newspaper headlines, suicide rate, major religious activities, etc.). Scale the cities based on parameters such as "citizen involvement", "cohesiveness", "tolerance", and "skeletons in the closet". This is not as "tangible" as the elevation or average temperature, but it sure would help users of the PRA match their own cultural values with candidate cities.
It's nice to see the truth accurately told. For example, Florida is not the sunshine state. It rains there a lot. There are more lighting strikes in Florida than any other state. Minneapolis-St. Paul is a fabulous place to live, but few people know about the tremendous quality of life there. Salt Lake City is another example of a quality, but unknown, city. And most Deep South cities get bad scores for education and quality of life.
But, as other reviewers pointed out, there are ommisions that you need to compensate for. First, the book is a statistical summary and does not mention the intangibles, such as character, for each area. These intangibles need to be considered. For example, I would never live in highly-rated Los Angeles because my experience is that the people there are rude and selfish - the land of lawsuits, the LAPD, the O.J. murders, and divorce. Yet, that may be just the lifestyle you may be looking for. Maybe you are a single, litigation lawyer. But you will not find those tidbits mentioned in the book.
Personally, I would like to know those tidbits. They may be most important. Where are the people most friendly? Is Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love? (The answer is no.) Which suburbs of a major city are best for families? It would be nice if some essays are included, covering these intangibles.
Second, you need to adjust these scores for your own preferences. There is a chart to use for that. Young graduates might have different preferences than young families and retirees.
Finally, no matter where you are from, there's no place like home.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I sm very well traveled and this book got good reviews but it leaves out important things like pollution and inversion for western mountain states and certain Western mountainous... Read morePublished 4 months ago by puppy9
Someone needs to take over the writing and editing so this can be updated frequently. Outdated but still useful.Published 5 months ago by J. Rhyner
It met my expectations as I've used this publication before; however, either I misunderstood or the publishing date was incorrect as I expected it tobe more current and it's from... Read morePublished 8 months ago by dddinah
Old and outdated. Time for a new edition. Was once an excellent resource.Published 11 months ago by Lee Morrison
What a great book for its purpose, so full of all kinds of data to aid one in where to live.Published 15 months ago by Leo Coale
Great reference - probably outdated with current internet capabilities.Published 18 months ago by Vic Galfano