Minnesota's 10 best cities: Movoto researcher explains why outstate towns get no love

Categories: Lists
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Monroe Family Blog
According to Movoto's list, the southwest metro is home to Minnesota's four best cities.
If you believe Movoto, none of the 10 best places in Minnesota are outside the Twin Cities metro area.

SEE ALSO: David Letterman shares his "top 10 least successful Minnesota businesses"

That, of course, strikes many Minnesotans as counterintuitive. Who wouldn't want to live in a beautiful lakeside home in Two Harbors, or settle down nestled up to the river bluffs near Winona, for instance?

But according to researcher Patrick Brown, as far as Movoto is concerned, scenic beauty and small-town charm can't compensate for jobs and educational opportunities.

"The variables that brought the metro cities up high mostly had to do with education and employment," Brown told us.

He cited the example of Chanhassen, which clocked in as the number one place in the entire Land of 10,000 Lakes.

"Chanhassen was one of the most expensive places to live, but it has a really low crime rate, the best schools in the state, and the best income," Brown said. "Rent was a little high but home values were great and there was a great employment rate."

"With Chanhassen, you find there is the negative where it's an expensive place to live, but there are great jobs where people can make a great income and be able to afford it," he continued.

In total, the variables included in Movoto's methodology were the unemployment rate, cost of living, crime rate, high school graduation rate, median household income, median home price, and median rent price in Minnesota's 100 most populous cities.

(Click to page two for the full top 10 list.)


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65 comments
ironiccatholic
ironiccatholic

OK, here's a better list:


10. St. Peter

9. Mankato

8. Duluth

7. Rochester (look, its great health care anyway)

6. Winona

5. Stillwater

4. Northfield

3. St. Paul

2. Minneapolis

1. Lanesboro


I don't claim it is perfect but man, I'd be willing to live in any of those places over most of the list above.  These places have character.

missmarymac
missmarymac

Maple Grove sure didn't make the list because of it's amazingly friendly people. Or maybe it's just my little 2 block radius that happens to be full of the rudest, drunkest, uncaring people piled on one street.   Maybe the next article should be "worst neighborhood" ..  (aside from my jerky neighbors, I love the city)

lund519
lund519

Born & raised 3 blocks from the bridge to International Falls, Minnesota (in Fort Frances, Ontario); it's sad to see what has happened to communities in the far north part of Minnesota.  While Minneapolis, Saint Paul and to a lesser extent Duluth has seen a turnaround in folks wanting to live downtown, those with little to no money for a car, or needing to be downtown and close to low paying jobs and social services have been pushed far out into suburban/rural areas that no longer have any worth.  Meanwhile, the richest and best educated are taking over what used to be affordable housing for single adults without kids who had little money, but were able to scrape by because the need for a car or a $120 a month Metro Pass wasn't necessary.  I've travelled quite a bit, and from what I'm seeing, places such as Minneapolis will be home to the very affluent, while cities that have been long abandoned (Iron Range & Northwestern Minnesota), since land value is very cheap and many on SSI or assistance currently aren't employed; these towns will be home to new Section 8 government housing projects (AKA the new ghettos).  


There has been a real push to get those we don't want to see (those without the money to afford city living) to places far away.  But land prices within 70 miles of Minneapolis are still too high to develop affordable housing that would make a difference.  If it's built in towns like East Grand Forks, for example, land costs nothing, there's educational services and job skills development centers nearby - as much as it sucks to be 7 hours away from the Twin Cities, if Minnesota can utilize land that is not in demand and dirt cheap, why not use it to help educate and build skills for the poorest who need it, since it appears unlikely that we will see affordable high rises being built in Minneapolis from now on?  I think Minneapolis/St. Paul/Duluth & Rochester are all great places with a diversity of jobs (Universities, medical, tourism, IT jobs).  Places like International Falls are a small version of Detroit: it put all it's eggs in one basket - the paper mill - and since Boise Cascade has downsized so many times, within a few decades there'll be nobody left.  Same goes for many other smaller MN communities.

Sandy Miller
Sandy Miller

Minnesota will ALWAYS be home" for me!!!

Jodi Michelle
Jodi Michelle

...I admit it's boring. I'd rather live in Minneapolis. However, I prefer to not have a commute.

Jodi Michelle
Jodi Michelle

Myself husband and I live AND work in Chanhassen. Employed at DRIASI and Target. Love this city.

Bill Powers
Bill Powers

Grand Marais and Two Harbors didn't make it because they don't have McMansions and Soccer Moms...

Susan Schlenker Ingvaldsen
Susan Schlenker Ingvaldsen

If you like chain restaurants and your kids play sports I guess it would be OKAY but our family prefers unique restaurants, and the arts. Nothing out of the 694/494 ring for us! Count us out for those cities!

Susan Schlenker Ingvaldsen
Susan Schlenker Ingvaldsen

I would not want to live in any of these cities. I like unique restaurants, the arts and I don't want to drive forever to get anywhere. I like an older house with character as well. These cities do not offer any of the things I am looking for..

NaomiOrre
NaomiOrre

@atrupar I'm originally from outstate MN - town of 1800 - but I had to move out for better opportunities. Overall, MN = great state!

Sasha Jovanović
Sasha Jovanović

good lord what a bad list - this is what happens when you don't groundtruth the formulas you come up with

Bob B Bopp
Bob B Bopp

i'll take Grand Marais any day over any of those bland lifeless suburbs.

WhiteMatt
WhiteMatt

Why wasn't Minneapolis listed? High property values, low unemployment, low crime rate, excellent public education system, terrific police force, progressive political culture, diversity and so much more.

Gary Welsh
Gary Welsh

Take all 10 digits on your hand and see where they touch around Minneapolis. There; I put as much thought into it as they did.

Erik J Mathison
Erik J Mathison

Wow, that is a brutal Top Ten list of some of the least inspiring places you could possibly live in the state of Minnesota.

Tom Schoper
Tom Schoper

I guess everything else is South Dakota, This State and the powers that be are so Metro centric that's its sad. Its too bad.

Bruce J McGuire
Bruce J McGuire

To me that is a list of 10 Hell Holes of Minnesota. I would never dream of living in any of them.

hoogie
hoogie

Obviously Luvern and it's growing Arts community didn't matter to the makers of this list. :(

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

No surprise, duh.  CAN YOU SAY LOW DEMOCRATS AND LOWER PROPERTY TAXES!

Mpls has been shrinking for decades despite the main stream lib medias mantra that Mpls is growing, it's not.  Can you say, Low Crime, Low rental regulatory, low property taxes?   The article says Chanhassen is expensive but not overall. Rent is not more it's less!    These places like EP Woodbury, Rogers have been exploding for years.   They contain much fewer Lunatic Lib Democrats.   Truth that. 

Amelia Anderson Calvert
Amelia Anderson Calvert

We all love the Metro and its Burbs. You picked all the safe, rich, white places to live. Do some math to level the playing field to consider out-state areas. The reason all those towns are successful is because they are ALL ALIKE. Did you consider traffic, commute times, accessibility? Natural resources? Number of privately held businesses?

Eric Bunde
Eric Bunde

I would think some arts, music and culture would have some value in determining the "best" places to live. Perhaps diversity? This list is depressing.

barbertj23
barbertj23

Lakeville?

Gross
It's all full of south of the river people

Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane

This list is pure bullshit. Maybe if these people doing the rankings went by something besides statistics and wealth it could be more accurate, or less biased. Besides, most of those places are snoozeville boring with no culture whatsoever. Unless you consider wealthy white people to be your type of culture.

WhiteMatt
WhiteMatt

I agree. I would much rather live in North Mpls.

VincentH1
VincentH1

@kurt124  The researcher cited "education and employment" as the main factors for this list. 

Let us count the BS, shall we?

1). Education - Immigrants learning a new language or living in a household where English is not the primary language will always test lower, regardless of their true level of education and intelligence. As a result, people like you always point to the urban areas and crow about "poor education". Control for the immigrant population, and the test scores are actually quite close to what you find in the suburbs.

And that population explosion you mention? True, people chase the myth of better schools and stampede for the suburbs. Only, once they get there, they discover that no one wants to see their property taxes raised to pay for the education of all these new students. The result? fewer after-school programs, larger class sizes, old facilities, old classroom materials. And for what? Bragging rights to "lower taxes" at the expense of a quality, well-rounded education for your kids. But don't take my word for it; in National rankings, Minneapolis Southwest High School comes out above the high schools located in every one of the so-called "Top 10 Places to Live in Minnesota".

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/minnesota/rankings?int=c0b4c1

2). Employment - The low unemployment rate supposedly making suburban living so superior? Where do you think most of those people work? The people living in those suburbs and exurbs get to enjoy their non-urban lifestyle only because of the jobs available in the city of Minneapolis. Without those to puff up the suburban employment rate, many of the smaller towns around the state would look a whole lot more attractive. Like, say, Bemidji, home of TrekNorth High School, the #4 ranked high school in the state.

___________


In the end, it starts to look as though the true criteria for best spots to live revolve around mythology ("high" crime you say?) and a drive toward homogeny or, at the very least, an escape from those who do not share the suburban view of those different from themselves. Personally, I prefer not to have to hop in a car and drive 30 minutes to get to a store, movie theatre, or anything else, for that matter. I enjoy the extra two hours per day I get to spend with my family rather than stuck in traffic on a long commute home to some suburban Siberia.

To each their own, I suppose, but this article is a steaming pile of unfounded bias. It is unfortunate that you've tied your own misconceptions about urban life to it and called it a superior argument. Unfortunate? Apologies; "sad" or "pitiable" would actually be a more accurate portrayal.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

If folks want "Diversity and Culture" they can commute to the Central Cities at their own risk when they want it, where crime and taxes are high.     But most don't want that, most want---Wait for it----------Clean, Safe, lower property taxes.  It's why most live in these places on the list.   They can commute to get a bit of your cherished supposedly virtuous "culture and Diversity," and then go home and sleep safe and tight.   

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

Patrick, it's statistics that matter which is why most people live in those places, not Mpls.  The Majority of them are not rich however, and who cares if most are white?   Remember:  Stop seeing color and check the Stereotype at the door dude.   

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@VincentH1Nice rant.  Your admitting the education is not as good otherwise as you say, "control the immigrant" population.    Sorry, cant "control" that.  That is for the Democrats to have a permanent Underclass to keep getting voted in by promising free stuff and bennies. .

Look, it's simple demographics, ad up the population outside of the High Tax, high regulation, crime Cities and it does not come close to the Burbs.  THE LARGE MAJORITY PEOPLE LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE CITY PROPER!  AND FOR MANY GOOD REASONS1

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

The first statement you make is not entirely true. Asian people score higher than white people in standardized education tests. The reason anytime you see an education statistic that has white people at the top of the list and Asian people entirely excluded from the list is to make the other minority races look better.

WhiteMatt
WhiteMatt

@kurt124 


What do you mean "Clean, Safe......."? Minneapolis is clean and safe. Haven't you ever driven down Chicago Ave?

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

You seem ignorant and hateful. That's why you only post two sentence insults with no mention of fact or how you shaped your opinion. People like you are gross

Gary
Gary

You seem really mad and scared. Are you?

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@Gary@kurt124I am right Gary and i see that bothers you. So that makes me brighter than you.    Its a matter of simple demographics,  moron.

Gary
Gary

@kurt124 You're not very bright, are you? I mean, even for a troll, you seem a little...special.

WhiteMatt
WhiteMatt

@kurt124


You are absolutely correct. And you will see more and more suburban sprawl now that Minneapolis and St. Paul are looking more and more like Detroit everyday. They don't call it "White Flight" for nothing.

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