This year, Atlanta has beaten San Francisco and 38 other metro areas to be the Best City for Singles compiled by Forbes Magazine. The list which has been running for quite sometime now has seen the rise and fall of New York and other key cities in attracting the country’s unmarried young and the not-so-young generation. NYC used to be at the top but criterion such as “coolness” has left it with lower points and other cities have surpassed it like Dallas, Washington D.C. and Seattle. We are not surprised that Boston and Minneapolis are in the top 10, though we wonder why Los Angels, Charlotte and Houston could only manage to be in the middle of the list.
The criteria that they have set to determine what spot a particular city could rank depends on numerous factors. The magazine has culled criteria from firms in human resources, consulting, and polling companies. Their methodology included numbers from coolness, cost of living alone, culture, job growth, online dating, nightlife and number of singles.
Forbes has taken into account the U.S. Census definition of employed in targeting their list which gives us the percentage of singles that they used in the population of singles category. The list scores well when it has also considered factors such as entry level salaries, entertainment and leisure facilities, cost living, and job growth. For everything else, it has included some questionable components.
In determining the cost of living, they have only included the cost of apartment rent, a movie ticket, and a six-pack Heineken. By careful analysis, inflation figures are determined by including the cost of significant goods in one market basket. The ranking’s cost of living category is a shallow determination of select basket of goods. This lowdown limits the true gauge of their index. The magazine could have expanded the list of items to magazines, fast food orders, life and health insurance, health care expenses and local taxes.
The culture category counts per capita values of the total number of museums, concert venues, sports teams and theaters. How about taking in shopping centers, sports and gaming facilities, parks, recreational centers, and other venues? Also, dubious data from the nightlife category includes all restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the metropolitan area. While the population of singles is determined solely by age and civil status, they have not discriminated the type of venue to include that suit to singles alone. In other words, a high-end restaurant that only very few of the singles (those below thirty and employed in entry-level positions) can afford has the same weight as a local diner that caters to the mass market. They could have corrected such statistical discrepancy.
Lastly, the market research company Harris Interactive provided the results of the coolness category. They asked singles which of the forty cities they think is the coolest. With the subjective influences in the overall ranking, it isn’t really surprising that Atlanta or New York has more appeal than Kansas City. The poll could have asked specific questions like where they can have more freedom to decide on financial and emotional issues, have lower debt status, and experience more tolerance on social issues like gender, race and religion
Whether we all agree or not, the Best Cities for Singles List can partly influence young people into choosing which metro area they can settle in. If its purpose is more than just a marketing campaign for the publication company, then it must include stronger factors in determining the results to avoid discombobulating the persnickety readers.