Apartment List recently polled 30,000 renters nationwide to measure the satisfaction with life in their cities. Ironically, cities with the highest rents did best, perhaps because these cities draw large influxes of people, which in turn drives rent. That theory, however, is not proven. Among large cities, Boston, Denver, Charlotte and San Francisco were the winners.
Poor run-down cities were at the other end: Baltimore, Memphis and Detroit
The survey included opinions about crime, weather, recreation, schools, affordability, commutes, state and local taxes, public transit and pet friendliness. (The affordability makes no sense, based on cost of living in the most expensive cities.)
In general, small and midsized cities received better ratings: 52% of them received an A− or higher, compared to only 24% of large cities. California had six cities that received A+ overall scores: Burbank, Chula Vista, Glendale, Irvine, Pasadena and Santa Monica. Arizona, Colorado and Virginia each had two cities with A+ ratings.
The strongest predictor of overall satisfaction was local job and career opportunities: Cities that scored an A− or above on that metric were nearly 3.6 times as likely to score an A− or above for city satisfaction as those that scored a C or below.
The second most important factor for city satisfaction was satisfaction with safety; however, nationwide, only 52% of renters were either satisfied or very satisfied with their local safety and crime rates.
Affordability continues to be a concern for renters, with 44% of them saying that they are “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied” with affordability in their city.
California? Go west young man.