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Old 02-27-2018, 10:42 AM
 
20,625 posts, read 16,666,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveLoaves View Post
I hope that snarky comment wasn't directed towards me.

I look at those lists for their comedic content. Minnesota, North Dakota and even South Dakota derive their names from the Indian word "Ota" meaning "the longest, coldest winter you've ever seen"

These "Best Lists" would be better if they were focused at the County Level, rather than the State-side level. But that would take too much work on the Author's part, and probably not worth the click-bait.
Per Wikipedia, there are over 3,000 counties in the U.S. To say it would be "too much work on the author's part" is an understatement. For that matter, it's too much work for the reader, the thing would be hundreds of pages.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,633 posts, read 17,606,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
I think you need to get out more to dispel some of these illusions. I briefly dated a girl in college from the Vermont Northeast Kingdom. Heated with wood. No indoor plumbing. Vermont has plenty of rural poor. Most fled to better job markets years ago and most of the people live either in Chittenden County/Burlington where the colleges/hospitals/large employers are or they're clustered around the mountain resort towns where the service sector jobs pay pretty well and the economy is propped up by affluent people from the NYC tri-state and southern New England. Massachusetts has failed cities with a crushing poverty problem. Springfield, New Bedford, Fall River, Lawrence, Brockton. They're mini versions of Flint/Detroit or Camden. And those failed cities aren't lily white.

Somebody already pointed out the flaw in any state ranking. You have to rank far more locally than that. In the United States, people self-segregate along socioeconomic lines. I can find a nice town with mostly college educated professionals in pretty much any state in the country. As a retiree, you have to then pick the ones you can afford. I'd love to live in La Jolla but I can't afford it. I used to live in Portsmouth, NH. A great place but I did the math at age 50 and concluded I couldn't possibly afford to retire there so I found somewhere else.
No one is saying poverty doesn't exist in the top 10 states. However, I think it's a fair argument to make that, in general, the lows in those top 10 states are rarely going to test the lows in the bottom 10, and if they do, you're likely to find far fewer communities at that level of abject poverty. Even places like Brockton and Fall River have median HHI around double that in War, WV (yes, this is a real place - drove through there several years ago). War is a dot on the map compared to the other two, but at least if you're in Brockton and have some motivation to get out, you're still much closer to areas with jobs than War is. That's not even counting that most of those top ten states, MA especially, are going to invest a lot more in social services and such than the bottom ten will.

If I was destitute, I'd rather be destitute in VT or MA vs. WV or AL.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:36 AM
 
7,948 posts, read 5,053,236 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Book Lover 21 View Post
Also, not everyone cares about education. If you don't have kids, or yours are grown, this is completely useless. In fact, the better education states probably have higher taxes as a result!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
...If I had kids, I'd much rather raise them in West Des Moines around the "right types of people" than in Hawkins or Cocke Counties in Tennessee, surrounded by drugs, crime, and a lack of opportunity. It's the peer group and being surrounded by similar, professionally minded, quality people that counts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
...White collar, upwardly mobile, college educated, upper middle class people (read: the type of people you may want to be surrounded by) are not going to locate in communities on the decline with failing schools. ... If the schools suck, these people and their tax dollars, along with jobs and other services catering to these people, will go elsewhere.
As a child-free person, I made the mistake of buying a house in a district with below-average (but far from atrocious, by local standards) schools. It's a large collection of townships, surrounding the anchoring town, which styles itself a city. Property values in the region are stymied by the overall Midwestern economic malaise, but the more prosperous pockets almost (almost!) keep up with inflation. The rest are flat, or declining. Locals can't afford the larger/nicer properties in the area, which means that those properties depreciate even more.

The issue of education is a thorny one. What have I in common with my neighbors? Can neighborly rapport transcend individual background, depending more on interpersonal-skills, than fancy diplomas or flashy cars with bumper-stickers demurely bragging about the finest boarding-schools? Hard to say. And hard to gauge, in terms of where ought one to retire.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,633 posts, read 17,606,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
Per Wikipedia, there are over 3,000 counties in the U.S. To say it would be "too much work on the author's part" is an understatement. For that matter, it's too much work for the reader, the thing would be hundreds of pages.
This map is about four years old now, but is one of the best interactive maps I've seen on this general topic. I keep this bookmarked because I pull it out often on C-D.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/u...in-the-us.html

This map contains several datapoints, and then ranks each county in the country. The top county is Los Alamos, NM. Since that's a bit artificial, throw it out and most of the rest of the top counties are around DC. Williamson, TN is #10. Johnson, KS (KC suburb) is #11. Hamilton, IN is #12 (Carmel - where I lived). I also lived in Dallas, IA (West Des Moines), which is in the #70 range.

I've lived in two of the top 100 counties. I don't know anything about the West Coast, so I'll leave that out. Otherwise, the map is basically showing that the "nice" basically starts in central Virginia and works its way up the East Coast. There are some areas of rural poverty in the Mid-Atlantic/New England, but nothing like the grinding poverty of Central Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, and Native American reservations. The vast majority of the South is "bad" with pockets of "nice" around the major metropolitan areas and university towns. You also see plenty of "bad" in the Rust Belt areas of the Midwest interspersed with a little more "nice" than the South, but not a lot more. The Plains and Intermountain West regions are mostly "nice."

I live in Washington County, TN, and work in Sullivan County, TN. Washington is in the 1100s. Sullivan is in the 1700s. There's a noticeable difference between the two. You could have flipped that two decades ago. Aside from Washington County, VA, which is somewhat buoyed by tourist dollars in Abingdon and tourism in Bristol, I'm surrounded by a sea of bottom 20% counties in virtually all directions for about a hundred miles. Going from any of the three counties I mentioned to these more rural counties is also a notable drop-off. There's also a very notable drop-off going from Hamilton County, IN to Washington County, TN. There wasn't much of a drop off from Dallas County, IA to Hamilton, IN. Both are affluent.

I'm not saying the map is 100% accurate (no idea how Roanoke, VA got in the top 10% - it's kind of dumpy, was there two weekends ago), but it's reflecting something important.
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Old 02-27-2018, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,633 posts, read 17,606,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
As a child-free person, I made the mistake of buying a house in a district with below-average (but far from atrocious, by local standards) schools. It's a large collection of townships, surrounding the anchoring town, which styles itself a city. Property values in the region are stymied by the overall Midwestern economic malaise, but the more prosperous pockets almost (almost!) keep up with inflation. The rest are flat, or declining. Locals can't afford the larger/nicer properties in the area, which means that those properties depreciate even more.

The issue of education is a thorny one. What have I in common with my neighbors? Can neighborly rapport transcend individual background, depending more on interpersonal-skills, than fancy diplomas or flashy cars with bumper-stickers demurely bragging about the finest boarding-schools? Hard to say. And hard to gauge, in terms of where ought one to retire.
This is basically the same thing we deal with locally.

If you take a broad view of the Tri-Cities CSA (or even "greater commuting area," which would include some southwest VA counties with no economic base that commute to here for work), you're probably look at very close to a half million residents. Most of those are in the Kingsport-Bristol TN/VA and Johnson City TN MSAs. Maybe 20%-30% are in outlying rural counties.

The outlying rural counties are basically in a death spiral. Most didn't have much of an economic base, and if they did (former mining counties), the economic collapse was so severe and rapid that property prices cratered and never recovered.

Take a look at this half-million dollar house in Castlewood, VA. It's a picturesque home on roughly fifty acres in a beautiful area and I used to work in the county seat of that county. It's been sitting for the better part of a year. Surely some out of area retiree might like it?

https://www.trulia.com/p/va/castlewo...24--1130111340

What's the problem? Castlewood is half an hour from its county seat, which is the closest city with a Walmart. Russell County, VA is a "dry" county. Going back "to town" in Abingdon (~8,000 residents) is a 40 minute ride. Bristol and Kingsport are close to an hour's ride. Going anywhere other than the Tri-Cities from Castlewood will be an all day ordeal. The cheapest broadband plan with the cable provider (Shentel) is 5 mbps at $49.99/month. There's no market for a house like that in the general area.

If you're reasonably affluent, rural areas like Russell County or small towns in the Midwest can offer a fairly easy climb to the top of the pecking order, but like you implied, is it worth living somewhere like that if you're so different from the natives?
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Old 02-27-2018, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
612 posts, read 275,437 times
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"This map is about four years old now, but is one of the best interactive maps I've seen on this general topic. I keep this bookmarked because I pull it out often on C-D.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/u...in-the-us.html"

Thank you for posting this map, SC. I had never seen it before, but it does speak volumes, doesn't it?

As if I needed another reason to retire to WY! :-)

I will be sure to share it with my ever-skeptical friends and family.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:34 PM
 
4,798 posts, read 11,982,122 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Book Lover 21 View Post
First of all, lumping an entire state together is ridiculous.


Bakersfield, CA has nothing in common with San Francisco, CA.


And East St. Louis, IL is completely different than Rockford, IL.


Also, not everyone cares about education. If you don't have kids, or yours are grown, this is completely useless. In fact, the better education states probably have higher taxes as a result!
Better education carries through to better workers, better companies starting and relocating to said state, higher paid workers, etc, etc. Ever notice how MN has always had a disproportionate number of fortune 500 companies? I can tell you they don't come/stay for the weather or the low taxes.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:51 PM
 
13,685 posts, read 13,615,774 times
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I can see why New Jersey would be on the list - decent public transportation, a lot of programs for seniors, a lot of walkable areas, tons of retirement communities, excellent hospitals, etc. I actually intend to return to NJ when I retire in about 30 years in order to grow old with my two best friends and among my extended family. Another thing that surprised me about Jersey was how cheap it was to eat healthy there. Produce is more expensive in Colorado by comparison (which is surprising given how much agriculture there is here.)
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:04 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
4,735 posts, read 2,554,931 times
Reputation: 9201
Quote:
Originally Posted by V8 Vega View Post
Total complete one party rule has ruined California. The middle class is leaving as fast as they can.
No, we aren't.

The two-party system seems to be better represented in the area where I live than it is in many other states, because, from what I have seen, we listen to each other more thoughtfully than in some states where politics are more polarized. At least that is true for the many community events I have attended. We somehow manage, in general, to disagree without being so disagreeable. Politicians who are just plain nasty and sling mud aren't popular here.

Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are Republican-leaning counties and cities and Democrat-leaning counties and cities. The big difference here is that in these more educated areas of the state we co-exist with each other better and maintain more politeness (you might call it political correctness) in our disagreements.

The most belligerent and jealous folks are those who want to live in California for the weather and career opportunities, yet expect long-time Californians to bow to their will and change politically, eg. to become more "right wing" or "redneck."

(This is my opinion, and I don't plan to come back and argue the matter, so comments intended to engage me in an argument will not receive a reply.)
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:06 PM
 
20,625 posts, read 16,666,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
I can see why New Jersey would be on the list - decent public transportation, a lot of programs for seniors, a lot of walkable areas, tons of retirement communities, excellent hospitals, etc. I actually intend to return to NJ when I retire in about 30 years in order to grow old with my two best friends and among my extended family. Another thing that surprised me about Jersey was how cheap it was to eat healthy there. Produce is more expensive in Colorado by comparison (which is surprising given how much agriculture there is here.)
I think it's a great state, too, with the one main exception being property taxes. There is also a world of difference between south and north, it might as well be two different states. Maybe the guy who hated it was in north Jersey, lol.
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