I’ve always been a lover of lists, stuff like The 100 Sexiest Jobs in Elko NV, Top Five Hunks in the History of Human Civilization, and The 100 Best Places to Raise a Family.
The latter is a real list put together by the Today Show’s Best Life editors from a plethora of sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, and the National Center for Educational Statistics among others.
Using these data and more, the editors ranked and rated the desirability of cities based on the congeniality of a city toward the safety, health, and education of its youth.
The thing that struck me about this particular list was the large number of California cities on it.
Based on my unofficial and hopefully accurate summary, Cal had 22, or 22% of the nationwide total. No other state came close to that proportion.
Moreover, 11 of the 22 are located in the Bay Area. That's a number still higher than the number for any other single state. If this isn’t remarkable, I don’t know what is.
However, I have serious reservations about the inclusion of some cities and towns on the list.
For example, Richmond, recent scene of a gang rape on a high school campus, came in at Number 73, high but still on Today's list. I’m familiar with the city and the surrounding area, which causes me to wonder about the family friendliness of a city that has become a gang and murder center fully worth the extra gas it takes to circle the town when heading to Tahoe.
Oakland at Number 84 is another city I would think seriously about if I were raising children. The murder rate in Oakland is astronomical and the schools leave much to be desired. There may be pockets of tranquility within the city limits, but even that is problematic as a gauge of family togetherness.
And San Francisco at Number 67 made my seriously doubt list. SF is a great place for fun and games, but is it a commendable spot to raise kids in? There are many good neighborhoods in the city, but the question is, can parents in one of those neighborhood garden spots rest comfortably knowing that their adolescent and preadolescent darlings can jump on a bus and ride or even in many instances walk to the center of the action the minute they’re out of parental sight. As much as I like San Francisco, I do realize that it's emphasis on a libertine lifestyle isn't a suitable venue for raising children in.
The remainder of the Bay Area cities on the list include some that seem quite nice. Santa Rosa at Number 10 would be my personal choice. And I always considered Number 64 Concord a real nice spot.
The balance includes the South Bay Area ranked number 22, Fremont at 38, Berkeley 40, Fairfield 50, Antioch 51, and Hayward 93. Today's inclusion of some of these may stretch the definition of "Bay Area." Fairfield, to name one, is located about 50-plus miles Northeast of San Francisco. On reflection, I suppose it's inclusion isn't too much of a stretch given that some people living virtually in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains drive into the Bay Area to work every week day.
Worth mentioning, not a single California city made the list of the 10 Worst Places to Raise a Family (find the Worst list below the Top 100 on Today's site).
I’m surprised that Davis didn’t make the California state-wide cut. It was Number 3 on the 5 Friendliest Cities in America.
Note: This article is a reprise or an essay previously published on another site. It should also be noted that the data in Today's report is more than a year old. I wonder if the data would hold true if the survey were updated.