I'm obsessed with reading those "25 Best Places to Live If You're A...." articles on MSN/Yahoo/Google. A couple of those articles helped perpetuate my move to the city I'm currently living in- Austin, TX (one of US News and World Report/Kiplinger/Yahoo Fiance/Money Magazine's top places to live).
Having lived in a few of the frequent cities that appear on the lists (Austin, Los Angeles, Charlottesville, VA, Ithaca, NY) and spending significant time in others (Toronto, Chicago, and New York City) combined with my incessant reading of these articles, I'd like to think of myself as an aficionado on the subject.
If you're an ambitious, creative twenty-something like me (ambitious/creative=scared to death of settling down in a small city and living a conventional lifestyle that would probably be ten times more satisfying than being broke all the time, having meaningless relationships, and picking up and moving every couple of years to keep boredom at bay), then you probably often think of what major city you should move to. Here is what I have learned in my travels and trying to keep up on the local trends/economy of the major U.S. cities.
*Please note, the jobless rates are taken from the Bureau of Labor statistics for May 2009 unless otherwise noted.
New York City
Population- 8,274,527 (Bestplaces.net)
Jobless rate- 8.2% in May 2009, 9.5% in June 2009 (Bls.gov)
Avg. 2 bedroom apt.- $2,200 (Zilpy.com)
Transportation- excellent subway system, very biker/scooting friendly, can get by without car.
Pros- Gossip Girl
Cons- Splitting a studio apartment four ways
Personality type- For the film school geek who still envisions the city as Woody Allen's 1979 Manhattan.
Jobless rate- 10.7%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $1,749
Transportation- good bus system, poor subway system, scooter friendly, not known as a bike friendly city, need a car.
Pros- Driving down Sunset Boulevard at 4AM
Cons- Driving down Sunset Boulevard at 4PM
Personality type- For the wannabe looking to become famous through "Big Brother and/or by marrying a bipolar B-list celebrity.
Jobless rate- 10.5%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $1,440
Transportation- excellent train system, very bike/scooter friendly, can get by without a car.
Cons- THE DARK KNIGHT shoots shutting down The Loop
Personality type- For the person who thinks NYC is too much work.
Jobless rate- 10.9%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $2,200
Transportation- excellent subway system, good bus system, can get by without a car but limited to inside the city.
Cons- Comparing yourself to all the cool people who work in the Obama administration
Personality type- For the next political mover and shaker in or outside the sack.
Jobless rate- 9.7%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $2,695
Transportation- excellent bus and subway system, bike/scooter friendly, can get by without a car
Pros- Cultural diversity
Cons- Fire and brimstone causing earthquakes
Personality type- For people who think they are intellectually more advanced than everyone else.
Jobless rate- 7.5%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $1,850
Transportation- excellent subway system, good bus system, not known as a bike/scooter friendly community, can get by without a car.
Pros- Lots and lots of Dunkin Donuts
Personality type- For people who name their children after famous athletes.
Jobless rate- 8.2%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $1,095
Pros- Historical relevance
Cons- Murder rate of one per day
Personality type- For people who want to recapture NYC's Lower East Side circa 1975.
Jobless rate- 11.6%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $925
Transportation- excellent bus system and light rail, one of the best bike cities in American, can get by without a car in the city
Pros- Making fun of hipsters
Personality type- For those seeking utopia through, horn-rimmed glasses, bicycles and Elliot Smith.
Jobless rate- 6.1%
Avg. 2 bedroom apt. $925
Transportation- good bus system, light rail opening soon, very bike/scooter friendly, can get by without car in the city
Pros- No income tax
Cons- 107 degree summers
Personality type- For those seeking utopia through horn-rimmed glasses, bicycles, and Spoon.
In short, I have learned that NYC is where I want to live when I make $100K+/yr, Los Angeles is never boring but you can lose sight of yourself, Chicago is the perfect city but the winters are brutal, Washington D.C. is fun to visit for educational purposes, San Francisco is another perfect city but too gosh darn expensive, Boston I've never been to, but my girlfriend from college loves it, Philadelphia would most likely be my next stop on this journey, Portland is too pretentious even for the moderate hipster, and Austin is just heaven.
What are your thoughts?