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Old 05-30-2017, 09:25 AM
Location: Virginia Beach
4,211 posts, read 2,827,100 times
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To break this down, every weight class is according to population by metro, and I've broken down to size as follows:

-10 million plus population
-5 to 10 million
-3 to 5 million
-2 to 3 million
-1 to 2 million
-500k to 1 million
-250k to 500k
-100k to 250k
-under 100k

So to help clarify the intent of this thread, I'll give some background. I've lived in and/or visited 51 of the 382 designated MSA's (13.35% of all metros). By population, the sum of the 51 MSA's I've visited come out to ~71.4 million, which equals roughly 21.95% of the nation's population. I've been to each of the four major regions, and the only one I've never held an address in is the Midwest...

This came as a surprise to me, but of the 51 metros I've been to or lived in, 15 were between 100-250,000 population. I've only actually lived in one MSA within this weight class (Gainesville, GA); and the sum of the 15 metros of this size I've been/lived in account for ~2.439 million, or basically the size of Orlando or San Antonio...

The most cities within one weight class that I've lived in was two apiece, in the 1-2m bracket, and the 2-3m bracket. I was born in one (Sacramento), and mostly raised in another (Richmond)....

The smallest metro I've ever been to is also the smallest city I've lived in--Elmira, NY. The largest metro I've been to is also the largest metro I've lived in--Los Angeles...

The underlying focus of this thread is part fun, but also to discern how people classify a city as "big" or "major". I think our experiences shape our perceptions of cities. I've had the fortune of living in both a really big city (SCxLA) and a really small one (Elmira), and many in between the two, so I like to think I have an even balance. People who consider Richmond, VA or Sacramento "small cities" doesn't resonate with me, because they both are in the Top 1/3rd of the 51 metros I've seen; ive been many places much smaller than both...

Likewise, neither of those cities qualify as "major cities" to me. I think it's fair to say they aren't small cities, but they aren't major cities to me--I tend to see cities as "major" once they cross the $300B GDP threshold, and the 3.5-4 million persons range. I'm interested to hear how others view this...

Lastly, my middle ground of cities is going to be around ~600,000, as in roughly half the cities I've been to are larger than that, half are smaller. I think the perfect comfortability range for me is a wide net between 1 and 3 million, but I'm not uncomfortable in larger cities. I'm also not uncomfortable in smaller cities, but I could never live in a city smaller than Syracuse again. Several cities below that I really enjoy, but don't know that is enjoy living in them; I could live in comparably sized cities to Syracuse if the circumstances were right, but my preferred range is 1-3 million...

Let's hear from the crowd!
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:24 AM
Location: "The Dirty Irv" Irving, TX
2,808 posts, read 1,300,740 times
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I was born in Colorado Springs, but mainly grew up in Boise ID, both of these cities fall in the 500K to Million mark.

I went to college in and currently live in Dallas, so I've spent about 7 years here.

I think it can be hard to really tally up the places I would count as having "visited." There are plenty of cities I frequently travel though but don't spend much time in, and are other cities where I've vacationed and spent over a week in.

I've spent considerable time in 9 of the top 20 metropolitan areas, but some of them I haven't been to in a decade or more.

Everyone has a different idea of what major means. I've met New Yorkers who think that NY is the only real city. I have a friend that does't think any metro under 500k can be considered a city.

I think that being a major city is pretty relative. Boise is a major city in it's region. the two closest large cities are 5 and 6 1/2 hours away. It is the "City" for a large area. I would consider it a regionally important medium sized city.

Arlington, TX on the other hand is not what I would consider a city, let alone a large one, even though it is over 400k people that live in it. It's mainly a massive suburb.

I think in terms of amenities, size is a game of diminishing returns. According to an article I recently read, Chicago is 25% cheaper than NYC. In Chicago you can get probably 90%+(and some unique things) of what NYC offers for 75% of the cost.

Another example, there aren't a ton of things that NYC offers that Dallas (less than one third of the metro NYC ) does not offer. Historical Urbanism (as an amenity), certain elite jobs (wall street) and elite global city status are probably the main differences. The DFW metropolis has more than the less than 1/3 of stuff that NYC does.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:00 PM
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I've spent most of my life in New York, Chicago and Boston. The other years of my life has been spent in metros in the 1 to 2mil range, with 4 years spent in military towns. I guess I have a least experience with metros in the 3 to 5mil range
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:15 PM
Location: Downtown Phoenix, AZ
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Born and raised in Rochester, NY (1 mil to 2 mil), and lived in Phoenix since 2001 (3 mil to 5 mil)
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:28 PM
Location: BMORE!
7,735 posts, read 6,139,094 times
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2-3 million being from the Baltimore area.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:51 AM
Location: Richmond, VA, from Boston
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I've almost always lived in the largest category, Richmond VA is pretty much the smallest I've lived in. Barring a few years on Martha's Vineyard, which is rural, but a special case.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:45 AM
Location: Miami-Jax
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Interesting idea. I've actually kept a log of all my travels since I turned 16, which I kinda see as the benchmark for when I could really grasp different cultures and see new environments as an adult would see them. However, my travel log is almost exclusively tailored to big cities, whatever that tells you about my mindset and psyche. (That is, while I log every trip I take and make note of the locations no matter the size, I also keep an overall tally of the cities I've been to, how any times and for how many days. In this tally, 95% are big cities as I guess I don't feel as much need to make note of the smaller towns I visit)

Anyway, here is the breakdown of top 20 MSAs (or metro pop) I've spent the most time in. Remember also it's possible they've changed tiers over the two decades I've been living/visiting there:

10 million plus population - NYC, LA
5 to 10 million - Chicago, Houston, DC, Miami, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei
3 to 5 million - Boston, Tampa
2 to 3 million - Orlando
1 to 2 million - Raleigh, Jacksonville, Penang
500k to 1 million
250k to 500k - Tallahassee (FL), Gainesville (FL)
100k to 250k - Salzburg (AUT), Muncie (IN)
under 100k

And with that said, to get at the OPs secondary question...I feel like a "big city" is a million or more in pop. And a "major" starts probably somewhere in the 4-5 million range. I feel comfortable at any size but prefer larger city amenities and vibrancy, plus some small towns can be uncomfortable if they aren't particularly tolerant or welcoming.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:49 AM
Location: East Coast of the United States
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In the U.S., the 2 cities I am most familiar with are DC and NYC. So, that would be 5 to 10 million plus.

Outside the U.S., almost all 10 million plus.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:51 AM
Location: Miami-Jax
6,312 posts, read 6,967,264 times
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^Ha and just realized one mistake I made. I left out Sewanee, TN, as I was suggesting that I don't keep tabs of small places on my main list so it was overlooked. But I did spend nearly two months at University of the South so Sewanee should be on my list as the lone representative in the under 100k category. And fwiw Taipei would be knocked out of the top 20.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:43 PM
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I've lived in Seattle, a 3-5, most of my life, but it was 2-3 for a part of that.

For six formative years I lived in Boise, which was a 250-500 at the time.

My comfort zone is actually bigger than Seattle. New York and London feel right. Maybe 40% of my vacation time in the past 27 years has been in London or its orbit so that helps.

I feel like I was born for the biggest cities. I think I'm a better pedestrian than most New Yorkers, as in always being first across the street etc.

So I wish for Seattle to grow even faster.
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