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Measuring Up


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See how San Diego compares to other U.S. cities in a variety of categories—some straightforward (population, fitness, gas prices) and some rather offbeat (most migraines, sweatiest, tops for dogs)

EVERYONE WANTS TO COMPARE. Brothers and sisters, coworkers and classmates all want to see how they measure up. And with pride at stake, some folks want to see how their city stacks up. To that end, we’ve collected the following top-10 lists.

We attempted to mix civic comparisons with other categories more personal in nature. We left out individual/institution-related accolades—even though we might have mentioned that SeaWorld made the top 10 in Parents Magazine’s list of best aquariums, and San Diego State University was named Best Small Research University in the Nation by FSP Index. Likewise, we left out AOL.com’s list of the lousiest baseball teams of all time, on which the 1969 Padres placed 19th worst.

The following lists compare San Diego as a whole to other cities. We immediately noticed a distressing descent in population numbers. Just when we were getting used to Phoenix having nudged us out of sixth place, San Antonio comes along and drops us to eighth. And here comes Dallas at number nine.

Find out where we stand in terms of being physically and fiscally fit. Try to figure out why separate lists place us in the top 10 for being safest and riskiest. Singles, take hope——we rank high as a dating destination. And San Diego dog lovers? Well, you’re number one.
——RON DONOHO

BEST DOG TOWNS

A dog’s life? That’s not a negative around these parts. “You gonna finish that bone?”
1. San Diego
2. Austin
3. Fort Collins, CO
4. Madison, WI
5. Sanford, FL
6. Long Beach
7. Seattle
8. Colorado Springs
9. Carmel
Source: Dog Fancy

MOST ENERGETIC

San Diegans work out, keep fit and sometimes seem to defy gravity with our outdoorsy zeal.
1. San Francisco Bay Area
2. San Diego
3. Boston
4. Sacramento
5. Denver
6. Honolulu
7. Seattle
8. Portland, OR
9. Los Angeles
10. Washington, D.C.
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

BEST FOR SLEEP

Overall happiness and low unemployment lead to a good night’s sleep. Zzzzzzzzz . . .
1. Minneapolis
2. Anaheim
3. San Diego
4. Raleigh–Durham, NC
5. Washington, D.C.
6. Northern New Jersey
7. Chicago
8. Boston
9. Austin
10. Kansas City
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

FAVORITE FOR STUDENT TRAVEL

How’s it feel to live in a sunny slice of paradise, dawg?
1. New York
2. Las Vegas
3. Orlando
4. Los Angeles
5. San Diego
Source: About.com

BEST FOR DATING

Stop complaining, and take advantage of our high diversity index and off-the- charts amount of outdoor recreational opportunities.
1. Austin
2. Colorado Springs
3. San Diego
4. Raleigh–Durham, NC
5. Seattle
6. Charleston, SC
7. Norfolk, VA
8. Ann Arbor, MI
9. Springfield, MA
10. Honolulu
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

WORST FOR IDENTITY THEFT

We get i-jacked way above the norm. Hide those credit card numbers.
1. San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA
2. Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA
3. Denver–Aurora, CO
4. San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, CA
5. San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos
6. Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA
7. Salt Lake City, UT
8. Las Vegas–Paradise, NV
9. Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA
10. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

MEDIAN VALUE OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

Notice how seven of the top 10 are in California? Enjoy the weather, enjoy the weather . . .
1. San Francisco
2. San Jose
3. Honolulu
4. Oakland
5. Seattle
6. San Diego
7. Anaheim
8. Long Beach
9. Los Angeles
10. Boston
Source: U.S. Census 2001

BEST FOR WALKING

A large percentage of us walk, take advantage of great views and buy a lot of walking shoes.
1. Madison, WI
2. Austin
3. San Francisco
4. Charlotte, N.C.
5. Seattle
6. Henderson, NV
7. San Diego
8. San Jose
9. Chandler, AZ
10. Virginia Beach, VA
Source: Prevention.com

BEST FOR GAY PEOPLE

We rank high with pro-gay laws, openly gay public officials and median household income, among other factors.
1. Columbus, OH
2. Dallas
3. Ferndale, MI
4. Ithaca, NY
5. Lexington, KY
6. Missoula, MT
7. Portland, OR
8. San Diego
9. Santa Fe, NM
10. Tucson
Source: The Advocate

MOST POPULOUS

San Antonio beats us by about a thousand residents. Can we do the next ce nsus in the summer——when half of Phoenix is in San Diego?
1. New York (8,143,197)
2. Los Angeles (3,844,829)
3. Chicago (2,842,518)
4. Houston (2,016,582)
5. Philadelphia (1,463,281)
6. Phoenix (1,461,575)
7. San Antonio (1,256,509)
8. San Diego (1,255,540)
9. Dallas (1,213,825)
10. San Jose (912,332)
Source: U.S. Census 2005 estimate

TOP LABOR DAY DESTINATIONS

Hello, tourists. Goodbye, summer.
1. Chicago
2. New York City
3. Atlanta
4. St. Louis
5. Boston
6. San Francisco
7. New Orleans
8. Las Vegas
9. San Diego
10. Norfolk–Virginia Beach
Source: Hotwire.com

SAFEST BIG CITIES

Among cities populated by more than 500,000 folks, we can let our guard down a little.
1. San Jose
2. Honolulu
3. El Paso
4. New York
5. Austin
6. San Diego
7. San Antonio
8. Louisville
9. Fort Worth, TX
10. Jacksonville, FL
Source: Morganquitno.com

TOP FOR GAMING

Some people enjoy staying inside to play with Xboxes and Play Station 2s. Nerds.
1. Seattle
2. Minneapolis–St. Paul
3. Atlanta
4. Detroit
5. Phoenix–Mesa
6. Washington, D.C.
7. St. Louis
8. Boston
9. San Diego
10. Philadelphia
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

WORST GAS PRICES

We average $4,739 annually on gas. Hummer owners may skew higher.
1. Atlanta
2. Birmingham, AL
3. Orlando
4. Jacksonville, FL
5. Pensacola, FL
6. Raleigh–Durham, NC
7. Nashville
8. Los Angeles
9. Cape Coral, FL
10. San Diego
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

FITTEST

Let’s all work (out) on this one. We can do better than ninth.
1. Seattle
2. Honolulu
3. Colorado Springs
4. San Francisco
5. Denver
6. Portland, OR
7. Sacramento
8. Tucson
9. San Diego
10. Albuquerque
Source: Men’s Fitness

MOST EDUCATED

More than 40 percent of us have a college degree or higher.
1. Seattle
2. San Francisco
3. Raleigh, NC
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Austin
6. Minneapolis
7. Atlanta
8. Boston
9. San Diego
10. Lexington–Fayette, KY
Source: MSN


 

Here’s a look at a few categories in which San Diego didn’t make the top 10 (in some cases thankfully; unfortunately in others)

GREENEST

1. Burlington–South Burlington, VT
2. Ithaca, NY
3. Corvalis, OR
4. Springfield, MA
5. Wenatchee, WA
6. Charlottesville, VA
7. Boulder, CO
8. Madison, WI
9. Binghamton, NY
10. Champaign–Urbana, IL
12. San Diego
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

TOP FOR DOING BUSINESS

1. Atlanta
2. Riverside
3. Las Vegas
4. San Antonio
5. West Palm Beach
6. Southern New Jersey
7. Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood–Pompano Beach
8. Jacksonville
9. Newark
10. Suburban Maryland
15. San Diego
Source: Inc.com

FATTEST FOLKS

1. Las Vegas
2. San Antonio
3. Miami
5. Los Angeles
6. Houston
7. Dallas, Texas
9. Detroit, Michigan
10. San Jose, California
21. San Diego
Source: Men’s Fitness

BEST SPORTS CITIES

1. Chicago
2. Miami
3. Dallas–Fort Worth
4. Detroit
5. New York
6. Denver
7. Boston
8. Los Angeles
9. Philadelphia
10. Phoenix
22. San Diego
Source: Sporting News

MOST FISCALLY FIT

1. Salt Lake City–Ogden
2. Portland–Vancouver
3. Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater
4. Pittsburgh
5. Orlando
6. Minneapolis–St. Paul
7. Fort Lauderdale
8. Seattle–Bellevue–Everett
9. Indianapolis
10. Phoenix-Mesa
37. San Diego
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

SWEATIEST U.S. CITY

1. Phoenix, AZ
2. Las Vegas, NV
3. Tucson, AZ
4. Dallas, TX
5. Corpus Christi, TX
6. San Antonio, TX
7. Austin, TX
8. Shreveport, LA
9. Houston, TX
10. Waco, TX
94. San Diego
Source: Old Spice

WORST CITIES FOR MIGRAINES

1. Cincinnati, OH
2. Madison, WI
3. Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR
4. Knoxville, TN
5. St. Louis, MO
6. Nashville, TN
7. Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN
8. Chattanooga, TN
9. Greensville–Spartanburg–Anderson, SC
10. Canton–Massilson, OH
99. San Diego
Source: Sperling’s BestPlaces

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