Forbes Magazine recently named it's picks for the top cities to live in the United States. Portland, Maine came out on top as the best city over 500,000 to live in. Portland is a great little city. If I had to live in a city again, Portland would be my first pick. Folks are generally friendly and it is easy to drive around or walk. It has good food, good drink, and it is on the water.
But Portland is not a city of over 500,000. As a matter of fact, the population of the city is only 64,000. Lee Nelson, Channel 6 news guy, brought this fact up on his daily blog. So how did Forbes decide that Portland fit into the category of 500,000 when the whole state only has 1.2 million people? Well, they used what is called a MSA measurement. Apparently the MSA population area comprises an area of linked population density. So basically when Forbes said Portland was number one, they really meant all of southern Maine. If this is the case, I live in the number one spot in the country according to Forbes magazine. The official MSA for Portland includes four counties. Acton is in one of them. I am an hour away from the city center in the sticks and about as removed from any notion of city living as one can get.
While Forbes draws upon the population of areas only remotely linked to Portland, they then only use statistics specific to the city itself to embellish their claims. By today's standards, Portland has a low unemployment rate of 5.9% and a fairly high per capita income. Head down the road to say Sanford and the unemployment rate doubles and the per capita income plunges.
I felt some pleasure at reading of Portland's rise to the top. But I find the honor to be not honestly won based on the criteria used. It is not Portland's fault. It is Forbes magazine. Tweaking statistics to fit into some kind of template, is not being very objective. All in all, I would just as soon they had not bothered.
Keep it 'Tween the Ditches................
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