Reporting Jason DeRusha
Let’s start with this: I love Chanhassen. Great town. But one of top ten places to live in the entire United States?
That’s what the editors of Money Magazine want you to believe. Or at least that’s what they want the local news in Minneapolis to report. And kudos to Money, because we’re reporting it.
Chanhassen has “good jobs right within its borders (manufacturing and technology company Emerson is based here), evening diversion (the Chanhassen Dinner Theater is the nation’s oldest and largest), and nature galore (34 parks, 11 lakes, and the enormous Minnesota Landscape Arboretum).”
We’re suckers for lists. We’re number 1 for working moms! We’re the best for bikes! We’re tops for hipsters! And to be gay! We’re the best!
It drives me nuts. It’s a cheap way for magazines to get publicity. Nye’s in Minneapolis is a charming place, but let’s get real, it’s not the best bar in Minneapolis, let alone the best in America. But, well done, GQ. You got us to report on it!
So how does Money arrive at Chanhassen as a top 10 small town for families? It took a lot for me to find this FAQ:
Start with all U.S. towns that have a population of 8,500 to 50,000.
Screen out places with median family income more than 200% or less than 85% of the state median; those more than 95% white; and those with poor education and crime scores.
Exclude retirement communities and towns with major job losses. Rank the rest based on job growth, home affordability, safety, school quality, health care, arts and leisure, diversity, and several ease-of-living criteria.
Factor in more data on the economy (including fiscal strength of state and local governments), jobs, housing, and schools. Weight economic data most heavily.
Visit towns and interview residents, assess traffic, parks, and gathering places, and consider intangibles like community spirit.
Select the winner based on the data and reporting.
So if your city has more than 50,000 people, you’re out. So Chanhassen isn’t one of the top 10 places to live, it’s one of the top 10 places with populations between 8,500 and 50,000. According to arbitrary data points selected by a magazine. Awesome.
And I can maybe understand Chanhassen on this list. But Arden Hills is #14? Money writes: ” On the negative side, there’s a Superfund site in the area–but the EPA estimates that the cleanup process is almost complete.”
What great news for the Vikings! The Arden Hills ammunition plant cleanup is almost complete!
Wait a minute. I’ve just been named the #2 hottest male newscaster in the Twin Cities?
I guess lists aren’t so bad after all.