Best large cities: San Diego fifth

Public school system rated first

San Diego is tied for first in number of coffee shops per capita. (Above: Better Buzz in Hillcrest).
  • San Diego is tied for first in number of coffee shops per capita. (Above: Better Buzz in Hillcrest).

San Diego is the fifth best large American city to live in, according to WalletHub, the statistical aggregator that applied 52 metrics to the largest 62 cities.

The top four, in order, are Seattle, Virginia Beach, Austin, and San Francisco. Immediately behind San Diego are Honolulu, Portland (Oregon), San Jose, Colorado Springs, and New York City. The five worst are St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, Memphis and Detroit.

San Diego comes in first in quality of the public school system — a ranking that might surprise some locals. San Diego is 51st among the 62 cities in affordability — no surprise there. It’s fourth in both quality of life and education and health. Where San Diego ranks in other metrics: income growth 28th, job opportunities 34th, accessibility to public transportation 32nd, walkability 25th, and parkland as a percent of city area 4th. San Diego has the 4th lowest crime rate and is tied for first in number of coffee shops per capita.

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Couldn't find the link to that, but yes we also came in 4th in "Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle" on WalletHub. Some day we will be first in something, maybe "First Target for North Korean Missiles".

Not to worry as the President and Kim Jong Un are new best friends.

AlexClarke: I detect a hint of sarcasm. Best, Don Bauder

swell: Well, San Diego is tied for first with several other cities in number of coffee houses per. capita. Doesn't that satisfy you? And San Diego is first in quality of the public education among the 62 cities, although locals might challenge that. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: According to Wikipedia, San Diego is the "Craft Beer Capital of America" and as of 2016 had 125 licensed craft brewers, most of any U.S. area. Best, Don Bauder

San Francisco is better than San Diego, huh!?????? Well, I may be biased about San Diego as a 3rd generation native. But naïveté about San Francisco and its myriad of problems is a colossal understatement in this study.

Then again, never mind. People should move to San Francisco....San Diego is too crowded already.

SF's housing costs are exorbitant, 2nd only to Manhattan now. And the weather is not that good. It does have excellent public transportation, though, so you don't need a car.

dwbat: Goodness yes. San Francisco housing costs are horrid, and I am not sure I would want to live in those row houses on slanted streets. (In short, the housing quality may be poor, too.)

As to weather, our two sons are in Silicon Valley and we sometimes go to San Francisco. In summer, the cold can be agonizingly penetrating. Mark Twain apparently never said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," but many agree he should have said it. Best, Don Bauder

Ah yes, reminds me of the old bumper sticker:

"Welcome to California; now go home"

JustWondering: I agree that San Francisco's woes are worsening and undercovered by the media. Best, Don Bauder

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

These ratings, even when the methodology is explained, often yield some absurd results. I've seen some of the rankings put out by US News for schools, and couldn't fathom them at all. But let me state emphatically that if these ratings refer to the San Diego City Schools, aka San Diego Unified School District, they are wrong. That district has been a mess for decades, and while it has a few standout schools, just doesn't get it right. (If it did, there would never have been the turnover in top management, it never would have had Bersin as its "supe", etc., etc.

There are some schools and school districts within the county that might be considered standouts, but even averaging them in with the others would not justify that conclusion.

As to San Francisco, depending upon the part of the city, it can be very nice if you like certain things. It starts expensive, and goes up from there. Space is at a premium, and housing is rarely spacious, even in million-dollar condos. Most of the affluent white and Asian people eschew the public schools there, and shell out big bucks for private or parochial schools. So, in that way it is even less desirable than San Diego.

Visduh: I agree that these ratings can get off the track. However, I rely on WalletHub quite a bit. I study how it reaches its rankings, and I have few quibbles. I am even preparing another WalletHub report that came out today. (I am seeking more information.) I realize that economic and demographic ratings of cities and metro areas can be questioned, but are often the beset we have in decision-making for individuals, businesses, and institutions. Best, Don Bauder

I can bet that WalletHub will not look at SD schools in such a favorable light. Three years ago, it didn't rate them at all well, and I doubt much has changed.

Visduh: This WalletHub study looks at higher education. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy: That's what "coming back to earth" is all about. Best, Don Bauder

these poll takers always seem to have their heads in the clouds ( or the ones being polled)

Murphyjunk: Poll-taking is an inexact endeavor. Best, Don Bauder

One of the problem in such surveys is that each factor is given equal weight. For us in CA, weather is a huge factor. But so is the sky-high COL compared to other states. Of course, each person and family puts different weights on these factors, so quantifying their value is difficult, to put it mildly.

Here's a recent update of a factor I track: The CA COL is 41.0% higher than the national average in the 1st quarter of 2018, up from 36.3% higher a year earlier. CA COL is 54.4% higher than TX. https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/

Richard Rider: Great to hear from you again. Actually, in the WalletHub survey, the factors are given different weights.

No one would argue that the California cost of living is sky high, particularly compared with Texas, but also compared with Mississippi and Alabama. Best, Don Bauder

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