Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cincinnati: #HottestCityInAmerica?

Dear George,
When our university’s president arrived six years ago, a high-level administrator recommended to him that he use social media to connect with the student body.  Despite no prior familiarity with Twitter, the president began tweeting regularly, using the hashtag #HottestCollegeInAmerica to connect with his seventy thousand followers.  Initially I thought this was preposterous: (a) that the president tweets to the students in the first place; and (b) that he presents the university as “the hottest college in America.”  Granted that the university is well-respected, it never struck me as particularly “hot” and definitely not as "the hottest".  However, after receiving hundreds of #HottestCollegeInAmerica messages over the past six years, I’ve found my attitude becoming more and more positive.  I still don’t think that the university is as hot as Michigan or Berkeley, but, for me, it's become a lot #Hotter than it used to. 

This made me wonder: What if people starting tweeting about the city of Cincinnati as the #HottestCityInAmerica?  I always worry about Cincinnati being under-rated.  While it lacks the pizzazz of Las Vegas or Miami Beach, Cincinnati certainly has its share of attractions.   I found my opinion supported recently when I ran across an online article by Bloomberg.com which ranked America’s “50 Best Cities”.  Cincinnati was ranked No. 21.  Since there are 382 metropolitan areas in the country, No. 21 is definitely on the high side.  This led me to look around for other efforts to compare America’s largest cities on one dimension or another.  Here are some of Cincinnati’s other recent rankings that I ran across. 

#1 in the nation, Recreation (WalletHub.com, 2015).  WalletHub’s rankings of the 100 largest U.S. cities were based on parks, average price of food, and high ratios of playgrounds, swimming pools, music venues, and tennis courts to number of residents.

#1, Best City for New College Grads (SmartAsset.com, 2016).  Smart asset.com’s rankings were based on cost of living, job market, and how fun it is to live in the city.  Cincinnati’s cost of living is 3rd lowest among the nation’s 100 largest cities, and the city ranked high on its job market and on fun (population in their twenties, restaurants and entertainment, Yelp ratings of bars and restaurants). 

#1, Best U.S. City for Pets (WalletHub, 2016).  WalletHub.com rated Cincinnati as the number one city in the U.S. for pets (and pet lovers), based on pet-care providers, vets and vet costs, animal shelters, dog parks, and pet-friendly restaurants and hotels.  

#2, Health Care (livability.com, 2014).  Livability.com identified the 100 best cities in the U.S. for health care, based on access to care and affordability of care.  Cincinnati came in second.  

#2, Most Popular for the Holidays (bestplaces.net, 2011).  Cincinnati ranked second among 300 U.S. cities in the amount of increase in air traffic for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (compared to total annual flights).

#3, Top U.S. Travel Destinations (LonelyPlanet.com , 2012).  Lonely Planet, the travel web-site, ranked Cincinnati No. 3 among its top travel destinations in the U.S. for 2012.  Local attractions included parks and river walkways, Mt. Adams nightlife, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Over-the-Rhine, Findlay Market, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

#3, Most Affordable U.S. Cities (National Association of Home Builders, 2014)

#4, Best Cities for Living an Active Lifestyle (WalletHub, 2016).  Sports clubs and park playgrounds per capita, monthly fitness club fees, public golf courses per capita, etc. 

#4, Most Sexually Satisfied Cities (Men’s Health, 2010).  Condom sales, birth rates, adult sex toys. 

#4, Top Mom-Friendly Cities (Sperling’s Best Places, 2015).  Child care and daycare centers; KinderCare, OBGYN and pediatric physicians, family fun centers, baby and toy stores, parks and playgrounds, percent of households with children.  

#4, Manliness (bestplaces.net, 2009).  According to Sperling’s Best Places, Cincinnati is the fourth most manly city in the country, based on criteria such as number of professional sports teams, popularity of power tools, monster truck rallies, fishing, home improvement, and drag racing. 

#5, Arts Destinations (American Style magazine, 2004).  American Style magazine ranked Cincinnati No. 5 in its list of 26 top arts destinations in the nation, specifically mentioning the Contemporary Arts Center, The Cincinnati Art Museum’s recently opened Cincinnati Wing, and the renovated Taft Museum of Art. 

#6, World Food Cities (National Geographic, 2014).  National Geographic ranked Cincinnati #6 in its list of top 10 food cities in the world, citing the two million pounds of chili served in local restaurants each year. 

#6, Romance (Amazon, 2016).  Cincinnati, according to retail giant Amazon, is the sixth most romantic city in the United States.  Amazon complied their list from sales data for romance novels, relationship books, romantic music, romantic comedy movies, and sexual wellness products.

#7, Trendiest Cities (realtor.com, 2016).  Evaluating America’s 500 largest cities for their “trendiness”, e.g., yoga studios, bike shops, “foodie hot spots,” etc., realtor.com (2016) ranked Cincinnati No. 7.  Cincinnati’s trendy features included massive street-painting parties, evening glow-art bashes, group bicycle rides, downtown murals, Over-the-Rhine, and Findlay Market.

#7, Cities that Rock (Esquire Magazine, 2004).  Esquire Magazine ranked Cincinnati No. 7 in its top 10 list of “Cities that Rock,” chosen based on talent in their music scenes, music venues, and record stores.

#7, Best City Park Systems (Trust for Public Land, 2015).   Cincinnati’s rankings were highest on acreage, park land as a % of city area, per capita playgrounds, basketball hoops, dog parks, and recreation/senior centers. 

#7, Leanest American Cities (Men’s Health, 2015).  Percent overweight, type 2 diabetes, physical activity, money spent on junk food, fast food 9 or more times a month (to compare fattest and leanest cities).    

#8, Most Creative Cities in America (Movoto Real Estate, 2015).  The Movoto rated the nation’s 100 largest cities on creativity, using indicators which included art galleries, art supply stories, music stores, performing arts per capita, colleges and universities, and percent of the working population in arts, entertainment, and recreation. 

#9 Best Cities for Raising a Family (Forbes.com, 2012).   Forbes ranked Cincinnati No. 9 among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, based on quality of education, median income, home ownership, commuting delays, crime. affordable housing, and overall cost of living. 

#9, Best Cities for Singles (WalletHub.com, 2015).  WalletHub ranked Cincinnati No. 9 on its list of best U.S. cities for singles, based on “dating economics” and “romance and fun”

#10, Most Well-Read Cities in the U.S. (Amazon, 2014)
Amazon (2014) ranked Cincinnati No. 10 among the most well-read cities in the U.S. based on book, magazine, and newspaper sales. 

There are lots of other high rankings for Cincinnati as well.  Here is a quick summary:

#1, Most Cost-Friendly Business Location (KPMG, 2016) 
#1, Lowest Business Failure Rates (Entrepreneur Magazine, 2006) 
#1, Best Cities for Business Tax Costs (KPMG, 2012) 
#2, Cities Where Startups Are Thriving (CNN Money, 2012)
#2, Best Cities for Telecommuters (Aol.com, 2010) 
#2, Best Midsize College Cities in the U.S. (WalletHub.com, 2016)
#3, Top Metros (Site Selection Magazine, 2015)
#3, Best Medium-Sized Cities for Young Entrepreneurs (Under30ceo.com, 2013)
#3, Best U.S. Cities in Company Growth and Relocation (Site Selection Magazine, 2015)
#3, Children’s Health Care (US News & World Report, 2016) 
#3, Fitness for Children (Men’s Health Magazine, 2016).  
#3, Fastest Bike-Commuting Growth.  (League of American Bicyclissts, 2015)
#3, Best U.S. Cities for Staycations (WalletHub.com, 2016) ( vacations at home) 
#3, Top Cities to Spend Labor Day (bbonline.com, 2012)
#3, Most Frugal Cities (Coupons.com, 2016) (based on coupon usage) 
#4, Best Cities to Celebrate the Fourth of July (WalletHub, 2014) 
#5, Best Cities for Tennis Players (mytennislessons.com, 2015)
#5, Best Cities to Relocate To (Lincoln Property Company, 2015)
#5, Best Baseball Cities (Bestplaces.net, 2012)
#5, Literacy of the Nation’s Largest Cities (U. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2004) (libraries, newspapers, local publications) 
#6, Cheapskate Cities (Kiplinger magazine, 2015) (low cost of living, free activities, Dollar General stores) 
#7, Best Cities for Seniors (Bestplaces.net, 2005) 
#7, Top U.S. Cities by Number of Industrial Jobs (Manufacturer’s News, 2010)
#8, Best Cities for Young Adults to Get Rich (MoneyUnder20.com, 2014) 
#8, Emerging Residential and Business Growth (Forbes, 2013)
#8, Best Cities for Veterans (Bertsperling.com, 2012)
#8, Great Art Deco Cities (Contravener.com, 2015) 
#8, Top High School Football Cities (MaxPreps.com, 2012) 
#8, Best Cities for Celebrating New Year’s Eve (WalletHub.com, 2016) 
#9, Caring for the Elderly (Bestplaces.net, 2006)
#9, U.S. Cities Where You’re Most Likely to Find Love (Richest.com, 2013) 
#10, Best Walking Cities in the U.S. (Prevention Magazine, 2008)
#10, America’s Healthiest Cities (BetterDoctor.com, 2013)
#10, Most Beautiful Skyline (Thrillist, 2014)  
#10, Best Cities for Beer Drinkers (thechive.com, 2015)
#11, Top Cities for Biotech Venture Funding (Fiercebiotech.com, 2014) 
#11, Most Social Networked (mashable.com, 2011) (Per capita Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
#12, Amazing U.S. Cities for Street Art (Mic.com, 2014)
#13, Top LGBT-Friendly Cities in the U.S. (NerdWallet, 2015) 
#13, Fittest U.S. Cities (American College of Sports Medicine magazine, 2013) 
#16, Top U.S. Cities for Working Women (NerdWallet, 2015) 
#16, Top Cities for Global Trade (globaltrademag, 2012) 

All in all, my research project was a pleasing surprise.  If I knew how to tweet, I might even use the hashtag #HottestCityInAmerica once in a while.  Of course, it would be an exaggeration, but it wouldn’t be entirely fraudulent .  I still don’t think that the city is as hot as Las Vegas or Miami Beach, but now it seems a lot #Hotter than it used to. 

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