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Measuring Up


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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