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Businessweek Ranks Albuquerque 15th Among America’s Best Cities

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Which Is America’s Best City?

Based on metrics like school performance, green space, and cultural amenities, Albuquerque, NM, ranks No. 15 in Bloomberg Businessweek.com’s first Best Cities ranking

Ask most people which city they would most want to live in and usually their answers would be shaped by such realities as proximity to their jobs and what they can afford. But suppose you could choose to live anywhere you wanted regardless of cost? What if you could live in a city that offered a wealth of culture, entertainment, good schools, low crime, and plenty of green space? Many people might opt for obvious choices such as New York or San Francisco, but great as they are, data reveal other cities are even better.

Businessweek.com spent months working with data that would help us to identify the best cities in the U.S. We looked at a range of positive metrics around quality of life, counted up restaurants, evaluated school scores, and considered the number of colleges and pro sports teams. All these factors and more add up to a city that would seem to offer it all. When we began the process we had no idea which cities would come out on top.

Better, Not Bigger

With help from Bloomberg Rankings, Businessweek.com evaluated 100 of the country’s largest cities based on 16 criteria including: the number of restaurants, bars, and museums per capita; the number of colleges, libraries, and professional sports teams; the income, poverty, unemployment, crime, and foreclosure rates; percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees or higher; public school performance; park acres per 1,000 residents; and air quality. Greater weighting was placed on recreational amenities such as parks, bars, restaurants, and museums per capita, educational attainment, school performance, poverty, and air quality. As living in great cities can be expensive, affordability was not taken into account.

The data for this ranking came from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sperling’s BestPlaces, GreatSchools, Onboard Informatics, RealtyTrac, Bloomberg, and the Trust for Public Land.

After Raleigh, the next highest-ranked cities were Arlington, Va.; Honolulu; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Irvine, Calif. Larger cities placed lower: New York was 14th, while Los Angeles ranked 53rd and Chicago 75th. The highest-ranked city with a population greater than 1 million was San Diego, at seventh. Washington, D.C., which has 588,433 people, came in sixth. Since some criteria were evaluated on a per population basis, places did not necessarily score higher for having a larger number of establishments or amenities.

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Albuquerque

America’s Best Places Rank: 15th

Population: 515,107

Mayor: Richard J. Berry

Why it’s ranked: With the Rio Grande running through and the Sandia Mountains to the east, New Mexico’s largest city is a picturesque and sunny place to live. The schools are great, unemployment is low, and Albuquerque has lots of park acres per person.

How it ranked:

Percent with bachelor’s degrees: 32.2

Percent under poverty level: 15.2

Median household income: $45,478

Violent crime rate: 769.3

Property crime rate: 5,491.5

School score: 73.33

Pro sports teams: 0

Foreclosure rate: .0079

Percent Unemployment: 7.3

Park acres per 1,000 residents: 61.5

Bars: 71

Restaurants: 1,115

Museums: 105

Colleges: 8

Libraries: 23

Air Quality Index: 90

Click http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20110920/america-s-50-best-cities/ to see which 50 cities placed highest in our ranking.


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