Mpls, St. Paul two of best four cities for quality of life, study says

TwinCities.jpg
You're looking at two of America's top four quality of life cities, at least according to NerdWallet.
NerdWallet ranks Minneapolis and St. Paul as the third and fourth best cities in America, respectively, in terms of quality of life.

The cities ahead of us? Madison and Lincoln. Talk about a Midwestern bias!

See also:
Do Dayton, DFL deserve credit for MN's high rank in CNBC's Top States For Business?

NerdWallet's methodology is focused on income, affordability, health benefits, the strength of the local economy, and work-life balance. Here's how they quantified those areas for each of the country's 100 largest cities:
1. Mean weekly hours worked from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

2. Mean travel time to work from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

3. Median annual rent as percentage of median income from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

4. Percentage of population with health insurance coverage from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

5. Percentage of people with income below the poverty level from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

6. Unemployment rate of the metropolitan area from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And here's an interactive graph showing how Minneapolis and stacked up relative to the other top 10 cities overall:



We touched based with study author Sreekar Jasthi to get his perspective on why coastal cities were nowhere to be seen in NerdWallet's top 10 (in fairness, there were a handful in the 10-20 range).

"One of the factors that resulted in that particular trend is the cost of living," Sreekar told us, adding that this is the first time he's put together this particular study. "I think that factor really hurt some of the [coastal cities]."

"Another reason is the unemployment rate tends to be a little bit higher [on the coasts] compared to cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc.," Sreekar continued. "Another factor is some of the much bigger cities -- New York City or San Francisco -- I think the commute time, the hours worked, those numbers tend to be higher in those cities as well."

We asked Sreekar if any of the data for Minneapolis or St. Paul jumped off the page at him.

"One thing in particular is the relatively low cost of living compared to some of the other cities on the list," he replied. "The annual rent as a percentage of income in Minneapolis was 21.6 percent, in St. Paul it was 22.9 percent, and that's lower than when we were looking at all these 100 biggest cities as a composite. The average was about 27 percent, so that's about 5 or 6 percent lower in St. Paul and Minneapolis, respectively."

"In addition to income and affordability, I think rates of health insurance coverage are much higher in Minneapolis and St. Paul than in the rest of the country on average, and also, the weekly hours worked is lower than the nationwide average in the Twin Cities," Sreekar continued. "I think all those factors really combined with the low unemployment rate."

To read what NerdWallet wrote about Minneapolis and St. Paul, click to page two.


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72 comments
Hugh Byard
Hugh Byard

Hey Allison did you live all up in the northside!\U0001f3e5

Lindsey Clarke
Lindsey Clarke

Yeah. I'm from Florida and half of Georgia and there's no way you can go from that to much of anything.

Erika Robinson
Erika Robinson

I agree Lindsey. I miss the mountains, ocean, and the fast pace of the East Coast and Atlanta.

Ginger Riffel
Ginger Riffel

And a conservative twin cities would turn into every crappy one in the U.S.

Reid LeRud
Reid LeRud

it's nice except for all of the liberals

Brigieta Lei Balsimo
Brigieta Lei Balsimo

Obviously you don't want to live in a real city with fun things to do 24/7. Why don't you leave? And City pages Minneapolis is focused on MN, of course. How enlightened of you!

Alison Alicat Lammi
Alison Alicat Lammi

The only haters that don't agree, are the miserable ignorant people. Go Vikes!

Alison Alicat Lammi
Alison Alicat Lammi

Lived all over the world, and gotta say the Twin Cities is an amazing place to live. Culture, arts, great food, great jobs, beautiful scenery, and it is growing and building up into an even better place to live. I love Minnesota. Plus my fiancé is from NY and loves it.;)

Stefanie Megan Brown
Stefanie Megan Brown

I'm from chi-town area....Mpls is cool st paul is cool......I've been here for almost 11 years I dig it

Lindsey Clarke
Lindsey Clarke

You're so good at sarcasm that almost went over my obviously depressed angry head! It's almost passive aggressive - you DO belong here!

Mary King
Mary King

I feel differently! You sound sad about living in an amazing city! Perhaps Detroit would suit your spirit?

Evan Druce
Evan Druce

That rent-to-income ratio thing is HUGE. I was attending school in Minneapolis and moved away for work, first to Nashville and then to NYC. Lots of people are moving to Nashville these days; it's being hailed as the "next" Austin. There's a lot of great new stuff opening up, the city runs smoothly, and the music scene, even beyond country, is top-tier. But salaries in my line of work (I'm an attorney) in Nashville are about 75% of what they are in Minneapolis, while apartment rent averages around 110% of Minneapolis' and rising. Plus, the city sprawls like a boomtown on steroids, so I put about 25% more miles on my car year over year. As for NYC, rents run from 1.5x to double what they are in Minneapolis, yet salaries aren't much higher--only 10-15% more. There's a lot to do, but crowds, expense, and the sheer size of the place make doing it difficult. It smells like hot garbage in the summer and looks like a trash dump when the snow melts in the winter. On top of that, everything is more expensive, from supermarket food to tacos (still better in Mpls) to baseball tickets to beer to utility bills. Minneapolis St. Paul is pretty singular in the US when it comes to that sweet-spot combination as a place with a reasonable cost of living and salaries that allow you to actually enjoy living there. Only Denver, Seattle, and DC compare and each one has a weather tradeoff akin to Mpls with its winters (Denver's high climate variability and possibility of snow in May; Seattle's cloudiness; DC's heat and humidity). I've been away for 2 years and I'm still itching to get back.

Lindsey Clarke
Lindsey Clarke

Yeah only if you enjoy 3 months of summer full of shitty local bands, beer and movie snobs, shitty people and not actually making genuine friends. Oh and don't forget people talking about how great and wonderful this place is 24/7 because they're either abhorrent to change or haven't gone anywhere else in their lives. Everyone outside the cities is more racist than most of the USA and everything that's work with people. Not to mention the cities are only great if you make enough to afford these increasingly expensive apartments, because most of your money is taken away to build Vikings stadiums and more luxury apartments instead of fixing the city we already have. If anyone wants to live in a real city with fun things to do 24/7 brave up and go to Atlanta or New York or Seattle or any other place. I swear city pages is only here to stroke Minnesotans egos and post juggalo articles

Shayla Nicole
Shayla Nicole

Marc I spent 24 of the last 30 years here and I'll never get used to winter haha

Marc Churchill
Marc Churchill

@ Shayla: I did the same thing... It does take some getting used to.

Viviana Paiano
Viviana Paiano

I lived in Minneapolis only in summer time... I will answer next winter ;)

Anna Lesinska
Anna Lesinska

Eric, I learn so much about Minnesota from the "Arizonian". Thanks

Shayla Nicole
Shayla Nicole

Moving back to mpls from Los Angeles is one of the best choices I've ever made. Although my tune may change come November

Nicki Lemmon Schwamb
Nicki Lemmon Schwamb

Kari Lemmon Wolfe sorry but for some odd reason the TC keeps winning awards. :)

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