Where Should You Live?

The New York Times Opinion editors have created a website that will help you find places in the United States that best suit what you are looking for in terms of potentially multiple criteria.

Here is the link: Where Should You Live?

The choices are grouped into four categories:

  • Lifestyle (17 choices)
  • Climate (6 choices)
  • Politics (3 choices)
  • Demographics (9 choices)

You select any of the items that are important to you, and if it is really important, you can click it twice to give it more weight.

I chose the following:

  • schools (double click)
  • health care (double click)
  • warm winters (double click)
  • racial diversity

In a strange coincidence, the top two cities based on my choices are North Sarasota and Sarasota in Florida. That is where my wife and I have talked about retiring to for a couple of years now.

I thought a few key attributes were missing, including walkability, waterfront, community library (I chose schools as a proxy for this), cultural opportunities (museums, plays), and public transit. As far as I can tell, with the exception of public transit, I think Sarasota would still rank quite high if those factors were included and I selected them.

I think the results offer a good reason to take a trip to Sarasota, preferably while it is still chilly here in the Philly suburbs.

Among the top 10 cities listed for me, 7 are in Florida, 2 are in Hawaii, and 1 is in California. I guess by double-clicking on warm winters, it quickly narrowed the possibilities.

The New York Times website does provide an explanation as to how the survey works and includes statewide scores for all of the criteria. While that may be of some help, I think it would be nicer if they provided city scores.

Overall, the survey confirmed what cities match the criteria that are important to us.

But I’m going to play around with it a bit more to see what choices I would have to make so that Philadelphia works out to be the number one destination for where I should live.

I know I won’t be selecting mountains, warm winters, or low crime…

79 thoughts on “Where Should You Live?

  1. Oh that’s easy. Pick the option that has “over expensive colleges”, “limited public transport outside of the city”, “think their city is a grid, but it’s not even close”, and finally “the city that is the slightly less awesome neighbor to New Jersey” or “has 95 bridges to NJ and still likes to talk trash” (usually these kind of things will only let you pick one of the two). BAM! Philly will be right up there. But if you want to pretty much guarantee Philly makes your list, select “SPRINGSTEEN!! (But not actually where he’s from)” and “Bon Jovi was from near there too”., “Pat’s Steaks”, “Rocky”, “Tom Hanks tear-jerker movie named after it”, “Philly Pretzels” and “walking distance to a Wawa”. That’s guaranteed. It’ll appear in the top five for sure. If you want it higher, see if there’s an option for “at least 20% of the population can spell Schuylkill at least 80% correctly despite autocorrect”. I think that will narrow it down to at least the top three 😂
    There’s probably a ton more that I could put in, but you get the idea and I also don’t remember – it’s been over a decade since I crossed over to the dark side willingly.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol I know. I was just kidding. Those surveys have nothing useful like that so that you can make sure you’re living in the best city by selecting every single option that lets that be the result. They ask strange questions like your preferred climate, altitude, mail service and population. Who knows? Mostly, you end up choosing the opposite of where you are which is why you took the quiz to start with. You were stuck in traffic for over an hour so you now want a population of two, your freezing so you want to move to the tropics, you like getting mail but would literally pay the post office to lose all of your bills which is all you ever get anymore, and altitude doesn’t matter so much as long as you don’t get nosebleeds or drown. Basically, you can’t narrow it down to say that where you are is best, but it’s pretty easy to punch in answers that make where you are the least favorable place you could imagine. It’s the nature of the beast

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would think there are a few people who are quite happy with where they are living. If Philly were about 20 degrees warmer in the winter, I’d be very happy here…


      3. Oh I’m happy with where I am too. Mostly. When traffic is bad, not so much. When it’s too hot, not so much. But overall, I am born and bred and happy here too. But my state never comes up as one of the ones I should live in. Then again, the shrek may be rigged against us lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s because that wasn’t the word I typed, that was the word the phone decided to put in, and it makes absolutely no sense. To the point I’m not even sure what I was trying to say. But maybe system or test? I don’t know. Sorry! I have been having a huge problem with my phone – it has now started changing words not as I’m typing but after I stop. When I send the text message or the comment, half the words get changed as it sends. I don’t know why. I’m getting ready to delete all of the autocorrect options that it has “learned” in the last zillion years.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Because we selected Gettysburg specifically for proximity to park land and a small town vibe, I’m guessing it would come up on my list if they included small towns. One day, I’ll need to create a NYT account so I can access stuff like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I say “pffft” to this stupid tool. What about proximity to family? That can be a plus or minus. Or how about the sentimental value of living in your hometown or home state? Or you might have some outstanding warrants in some states. There may be many things to consider than what a tool like this has to offer.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Understand and I am sure that plays a role with a lot of families. I am glad to not be real close to my in-laws. We get along well but….after a week FIL starts driving me crazy. Brad agrees that their relationship is better by being apart.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Have you ever been to Alaska? We sent my parents there for their 50th anniversary and they loved it! Said it was one of the most beautiful states they had visited and they been to almost all of them.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Great tool! I know we’re staying put for now. My wife has a health condition that doesn’t allow her to live in any place hot. It’s mild here year-round (generally between 30 and 80 degrees F), and we have the ocean and redwoods. There are a few drawbacks, but the plusses far outweigh the minuses. As an accountant, that should go over big with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. sounds like you and your wife have found the ideal place to live. My wife and I are just getting tired of the cold winters. Whether we move somewhere permanently of just for part of the year is still to be decided…

      and yes, I like when the benefits outweigh the costs…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. i’d like to be somewhere with seasons that are not too dramatic, but still exist. i love all the seasons, but don’t like being freezing cold or boiling hot. i love living near woods and water and in a town that is open and has options for things to be a part of. most of all, i love living near my family, even on their most challenging days.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for helping me solidify my retirement plans, looks like I’ll be living in Florida & have a vacation home in Barbados. Since you were so helpful with this task, may I suggest your next blog topic: “How To Win The Lottery”

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great timing on this post, at least for me when reading it today. I am probably closer to a decision point on this subject than you are but, since I also couldn’t access the NYT site, I went to another one. It gave me a range of results which I will review later as well as some of the other similar sites to perhaps see if the results of more than one might provide a consensus of results.

    While searching for sites I noted there was more than one that advised Sarasota so there may be some bias towards that location.

    I also noticed while going through the comments that several mentioned proximity to family. My closest living family members are my kids who by happenstance both currently reside in Kalamazoo, MI. They think it would be a good idea for me to retire there. After my recent visit I might agree with them except for the fact that I am a So Cal weather wimp and absolutely could not or at least would not want to if given the choice live there in the winter. So I now hope to be able to become a snowbird!

    Liked by 1 person

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