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Archive for May 28th, 2008

I’ve always been a lover of lists, stuff like The 100 Sexiest Jobs in Elko NV, Top Five Hunks in the History of Human Civilization, and The 100 Best Places to Raise a Family.

The latter is a real list put together by the Today Show’s Best Life editors from a plethora of sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, and the National Center for Educational Statistics among others.

Using these data and more, the editors ranked and rated the desirability of cities based on the congeniality of a city toward the safety, health, and education of its youth.

The thing that strikes me positively about this particular list is the large number of California cities on it.

Based on my unofficial and hopefully accurate summary, Cal had 22, or 22% of the nationwide total. No other state came close to that proportion.

Moreover, 11 of the 22 are located in the Bay Area, a number still higher than the number for any other single state. If that isn’t commendable, I don’t know what is.

However, I have serious reservations about the inclusion of some of them.

Richmond, for example, came in at Number 73, high but still on the list. I’m familiar with the city and the surrounding area, which causes me to wonder about the family friendliness of a city that has become a gang and murder center fully worth the extra gas it takes to circle the town when heading to Tahoe.

Oakland at Number 84 is another city I would think seriously about if I were raising children. The murder rate in Oakland is astronomical and the schools leave much to be desired. There may be pockets of tranquility within the city limits, but even that is problematic as a gauge of family togetherness.

One other city, San Francisco at Number 67, made my seriously doubt list. SF is a great place for fun and games, but is it a commendable spot to raise kids in? There are many good neighborhoods, but the question in my mind relates to proximity. Can a parent in one of SF’s garden spots rest comfortably knowing that their adolescent darlings can jump on a bus and ride to the center of the action the minute they’re out of parental sight.

The remainder of the Bay Area cities on the cut include some that seem quite nice. Santa Rosa at Number 10 would be my personal choice. And I always considered Number 64 Concord a real nice spot.

The balance includes the South Bay Area 22, Fremont 38, Berkeley 40, Fairfield 50, Antioch 51, and Hayward 93.

Worth mentioning, not a single California city made the list of the 10 Worst Places to Raise a Family (find this list below the Top 100).

I’m surprised that Davis didn’t make the California state-wide cut. It was Number 3 on the 5 Friendliest Cities in America.

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