I ran across this NY Times article (via Crooked Timber), about a guy who uses government data to tell you the best places to live.  He lives in Portland, which I think is nice, so he might no what he’s talking about.  You can input your own preferances on his website. Apparently, I’m a San Franciscan at heart, my new diggs (San Diego) was numero eleven. The old Hood, Bellingham, was top five in his list, but didn’t make my top twenty (it appears that I’m a natural city dweller).

While its nice that he’s taken a bunch of government data to make his lists, it seems to me that he should be compiling some stuff the government doesn’t.  He has a best places for singles list, but as far as I can tell he makes no attempt to measure the attractiveness of populations (and any single who tells you they don’t care about that is full o shit). Nor does religion come into play for best places for families, which I would think would be important to lots of child touting types.

I guess it would be hard to measure this stuff, and right now dude seems to be doing well just running through government statistics, so I guess he doesn’t have much incentive.  I guess theres an opportunity there, anyone out there want to give me a grant/advance to judge American cities less tangible qualities? Cheapest bar scene, most annoying drivers, best local news cast, easiest place to score drugs…