Items tagged with 'listomania'

Absolutely true place rankings

George V of the United Kingdom

George V says they'll sound even more convincing if you read them with a British accent.

You might have seen that ranking of "The 10 Most Exciting Places In New York" that was circulating Monday. It ranked Ithaca ahead of New York City. And Albany ranked #4 -- just behind Port Chester. There was much twittering. (Skeptical? Yes, we were, too. We would have guessed Albany would have ranked higher. Obviously.)

The ranking was compiled by a real estate website that seems to specialize in this sort of shareable(!), social(!) content.

Inspired by this ranking -- and in the spirit of using ironclad methodology and data (DATA!) to tease out the fundamental truths of the place we live -- we've pulled together some other interesting rankings...

(there's more)

If you could move from New York, would you?

gallup poll 2014 release moving from states

Noted: 41 percent of New York State residents said they would like to move from the state when asked by a Gallup poll, the results of which were published this week. Specifically, the question asked of respondents was: "Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"

The Empire State's 41 percent ranked as a tie for 6th highest with New Jersey and Massachusetts. Top of the table: Illinois (50 percent), Connecticut (49 percent), Maryland (47 percent), Nevada (43 percent), Rhode Island (42 percent). The states with the lowest percentage, at 23 percent, were: Montana, Hawaii, and Maine. The national average was 33 percent.

(there's more)

Survey: Albany the most "post-Christian" city in a national ranking

barna post-christian cities map

The top 15, according to Barna. Here's the full Barna infographic.

We don't necessarily put a lot of faith in these sorts of city rankings, but for what it's worth: Albany tops the chart as the most "post-Christian" city in a national ranking, according to survey analysis by the Barna Group. The research company bills itself as "a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture."

According to the survey, the Albany area headed the national chart with 63 percent of people tagged as "post-Christian." It appears the rankings were released this past April.

So what do they mean by "post-Christian." From a Barna explainer about its use of the term:

To shed light on this, the Barna team created an aggregate metric of post-Christian culture based upon 15 different measures of identity, belief and behavior. To qualify as post-Christian, individuals met 60% or more of the factors (nine or more out of 15 criteria). Highly post-Christian individuals met 80% or more of the factors (12 or more of these 15 criteria).

The 15 different measures range from "do not believe in God" to "have not donated money to a church (in the last year)" to "do not participate in a house church (in the last year)." You can see the full list at the first and third links above.

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Disasters, relatively speaking

Trulia National Earthquake risk Map

Upstate New York is among the "lower-risk" areas of the country for natural disasters, according to calculations/maps created by Trulia. The real estate website has been rolling out natural hazard maps -- for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding -- for locations across the country. (Example: Here's the flooding risk map for Schoharie.)

Specifically, Syracuse and Buffalo were ranked among the top-10 lower-risk metros:

1. Syracuse, NY*
2. Cleveland, OH
3. Akron, OH
4. Buffalo, NY
5. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD
6. Dayton, OH
7. Allentown, PA-NJ
8. Chicago, IL
9. Denver, CO
10. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI

* Trulia note: The data on flood risk, which comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is incomplete for Syracuse and for several other metros not on the ten lower-risk list.

As Trulia points out, lower risk is not the same as no risk. And there are natural challenges beyond floods and earthquakes:

Notice that we're not calling these "safe" or "low-risk" metros. It's all relative, and every metro has some risk. Even the 10 lower-risk metros, above, all have some natural disasters in their distant or recent past. This ranking, and our hazard maps, are based on the best data available: recent government assessments of flood, earthquake, and wildfire risk, and years of historical data on hurricanes and tornadoes (all from the federal government, plus some earthquake data from the California Geological Survey). But disasters can be unpredictable. Even Buffalonians need to be prepared for the worst. ...
The 10 lower-risk metros for natural disasters have other crosses to bear. What upstate New York and northern Ohio lack in tornadoes and wildfires, they make up for in snow. While winter weather may be more predictable than earthquakes or hurricanes, harsh winters bring their own risks: blizzards, frostbite, and falling on the ice. Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Akron, and Denver are all among the snowiest large metros in the country.

As that clip above notes, the maps are based on data from the federal government. Of course, the map is only as good -- and as fine-grained -- as the data set from which it draws. And for some risks, like flooding, there are probably better, more-detailed maps.

The map at the top is Trulia's national picture of earthquake risk. Two more national maps -- for hurricanes and tornadoes -- are after the jump.

[via Atlantic Cities via Innovation Trail]

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The unfriendliest travel magazines

aoa_unfriendliest_travel_mags_mockup.jpgConde Nast Traveler ranked among the most unfriendly travel magazines in AOA's annual editors survey.

To be fair, CN Traveler is probably better known as a stepping stone in a publishing house that includes more prestigious publications such as Vogue, The New Yorker, and Wired than as a destination title. That may be why it scored low on our survey. Still, some AOA editors had strong opinions: The "anachronistic" travel title was described as "no doubt having bulletproof methodology for its surveys of 'unfriendly cities'" by one of editors, and another said it was best to avoid, because "I put absolutely zero stock in this."

Then, again, maybe that's what they were getting at.

[via everyone]

A slight case of congestion

inrix albany congestion patterns 2013 March

Congestion patterns by day in the Albany metro, according to INRIX.

We've said this before, and we'll say it again: The Capital Region doesn't have traffic.

OK, sure, it has traffic. It has cars that go on roads and sometimes they have to slow down. Sometimes -- gasp! -- they even stop. But compared to most other larger metropolitan areas -- what passes for traffic here is nothing.

The annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard continues to provide evidence on this account. The congestion monitoring company's latest annual report, for the year ending in March, is out this week.

The Albany metro's national rank: #74.

INRIX figures traffic and congestion in this area caused a typical commuter to "waste" 3.6 hours over the course of the year. That's roughly 29 seconds per commuting trip.

That's down a bit from the previous year, in which INRIX figured the average commuter was caught for 4.6 hours.

To put this in some perspective, here are the figures for the top 5 most congested metros in the INRIX rankings (metro - hours per year):

1. Los Angeles - 60.3 hours
2. Honolulu - 51.1 hours
3. San Francisco - 49.7 hours
4. Austin - 38.7 hours
5. New York - 51.5 hours

Stick that in your breakfast taco, Austin.

Obviously, those metros are larger, so it's natural they'd be more congested. And Albany would probably be willing to trade some increases in congestion for some of the stuff those places have. But, hey, we'll think about that while we're relaxing at home after a short commute home.

Here's an explainer on the methodology.

Bonus commuting fact: The average commute time in the Albany metro area was 22.2 minutes in 2010, according to Census Bureau estimates. That was less than the national average (25.4). And it ranked 276th in the nation.

graph: INRIX

Albany metro among "least religious"

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception spires Albany from State Museum mezzanineThe Albany metro is among the "least religious" metros in the nation, according to a recent Gallup poll. Twenty-six percent of people were categorized as "very religious" based on their answers to a phone survey -- the national average was 40 percent.

Gallup tagged people as "very religious" if they said "religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week."

The most religious metro in the nation in the poll was Provo-Orem, Utah -- at 77 percent. Burlington, Vermont was least religious, at 17 percent. From Gallup's write up of the poll:

Relatively few metro areas match the national religiousness average, instead reflecting substantial diversity, with a 60-percentage-point range between the most and least religious cities. This generally mirrors the variation in the average religiousness among the states of the union. Mississippi is the most religious state (58% very religious), while Utah is tied with Alabama in second place. Vermont (19% very religious) is the least religious state.

The Record's Danielle Sanzone talked with a few local religious officials about the results of poll -- it sounds like they weren't surprised.

Earlier on AOA: Report: New York the "least free" state

Report: New York "the least free" state. Again.

freedom in the 50 states 2013 map

New York once again ranked as the least "free" state in the nation, in the Mercatus Center's new "Freedom in the 50 States" report (Mercatus is a "market-oriented" think tank at George Mason University). The Empire State was last in 2011. And 2007. And 2001.

New York is "by far the least free state in the Union," according to the report. The state gets dinged for, well, pretty much everything: taxes, spending, regulation. Among the rare positives identified by the report: "better than average" marijuana laws, low alcohol taxes, and eventually same-sex marriage (the report only covers policy to the end of 2010).

Oh, and NYS ranks #32 in the "bachelor party" category, which "combines a variety of laws including those on alcohol, marijuana, prostitution, and fireworks" (sadly, there's no indication the category covers laws regarding coke-snorting donkeys).

Freedom is, to some degree, in the eye of beholder. And here is how the Mercatus Center beholds it. Slate's Matthew Yglesias offers a rather different view, arguing that the concept of freedom needs to be salvaged "from the wreckage of Mercatus."

The top five states for freedom, according to Mercatus, are (from the top): North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. The least free (descending): Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, California, New York.

map: Mercatus Center

The Albany area more than a little Irish

national map irish ancestry trulia

Post-St. Patrick's Day fact of the day: the Albany metro area ranks #4 among the nation's 100 largest metros for percent of population that's Irish, according to an analysis by the real estate info site Trulia. It found that 15.6 percent of the people in this metro area reported being of "primary" Irish ancestry.

Trulia also has an interactive version of the national map above. The top metro was, not surprisingly, Boston -- followed by two areas nearby in Massachusetts. Syracuse ranked #5.

The analysis used data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

map: Trulia

(Thanks, Aaron)

Well, Albany metro area

gallup-healthways state rankings map 2012

New York's didn't fare too well in these rankings. But it's not West Virginia.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area ranked #58 nationally in the annual Gallup-Healthways "Well-Being Index" for 2012 (out of 189 metros). That's a big jump from 2011, when it ranked 101. And it was the top score in the state (take that, Rochester).

The report surveys people across the country, asking them questions in six categories: life evaluation (current and the in the future), emotional health (happiness, sadness, worry), physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access to things like healthcare and healthy food.

The Albany metro's rise in the rankings appears to be attributable to big jumps in two categories: life evaluation (67 from 117) and work environment (74 from 128).

This metro's lowest ranked category was emotional health (#138), as it was in 2011 (#151). The emotional health category is based on questions about topics that include: smiling or laughter, being treated with respect, enjoyment, happiness, worry, sadness, anger, stress, learning or doing something interesting, depression.

The index also ranks states -- New York was #30. And two of its metros were near the very bottom of the rankings: Binghamton (176) and Utica-Rome (179).

The top ranked state in 2012 was Hawaii -- for the fourth straight year. West Virginia was last.

The top ranked metros, by size category: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (large), Lincoln, NE (mid-size), Burlington-South Burlington, VT (small).

The report for New York State is post jump.

(there's more)

Musical metro

kamikaze hearts restoration festival 2012The Albany metro area ranks #9 in the nation for musical acts per 10,000 people, according to an analysis by an academic institute at the University of Toronto that includes Richard "Creative Class" Florida and published today at Atlantic Cities.

This analysis follows up on previous work by Florida and his colleagues looking at clusters of musicians around the nation. In that earlier work, based on federal jobs and industry data, Albany ranked 14th among "centers for musicians and the music industry."

As with that previous analysis, this new work has some important caveats. The foremost: it's based on data pulled from MySpace in 2007. That's not totally a bad thing. Using that data helps get around the problem of only including people who are identified as professional musicians in the federal data. But, still... it's MySpace and it's from 2007. And, of course, such an analysis doesn't necessarily account for quality.

That said, it's not surprising that this area would rank relatively high. We have a bunch of musical acts here -- and a lot of them are good.

[via @SeanPCollins]

Earlier on AOA: Find other people who do what you do, and then push each other to get better

Find other people who do what you do, and then push each other to get better

we_are_jeneric.jpgThe Albany metro ranks 14th nationally* as a center for musicians and the music industry, according to an analysis from an institute at the University of Toronto that includes Richard "Creative Class" Florida.

Albany's ranking is "better than expected." So, um, good for us.

We're not sure how much stock we'd put into the analysis, though. It was based on federal statistics on the concentration of musicians and music/recording industry businesses. We suspect it's a better indicator of the traditional music industry rather than the constantly evolving indie segment that makes up more and more of the music world. (Example: because of digital technology, a lot of musicians now record not in "professional" music studios, but you know, wherever they can.) Also: the study didn't measure "the vibrancy or impact or quality of artists to emerge from a regional scene." (We also don't draw confidence that further study will be based on data from... MySpace.)

But this part, from Richard Florida's write up of the study in Atlantic Cities, did ring mostly true:

But size is not everything, as Nashville's dominance and the performance of other smaller metros show. Smaller places can develop significant clusters of musicians and the music industry. The key here, as it is in so many other fields, is the clustering of talent, as talented musicians are drawn to and cluster around other talented musicians. Doing so, they generate a human capital externality of a musical kind -- competing against each other for new sounds and audiences, combining and recombining with each other into new bands -- a Darwinian process out of which successful acts rise to the top and achieve broad success.

We'd argue it doesn't necessarily have to be some sort of Darwinian competition, though. An example from here: the B3nson collective has supported and promoted each other while sharing talent among its many connected acts. And an event like Rest Fest -- which helps focus attention on what's going on here -- then grows out of all that interconnection.

That's probably true of other industries/scenes, too -- whether it's food or tech or whatever. The trick is to get those clusters started and growing.

*That ranking is from the "when small metros are included" list. The Albany metro doesn't rank in the table included there because it only includes metros with populations of 1 million or larger.

[via @chris_churchill]

Something to be happy about: traffic

stopped behind van brake lightsWorth pointing out (again): the Albany metro area has a relatively low level of traffic congestion. In fact, compared to a lot of large metros, it essentially doesn't have traffic.

The Albany metro area ranked 78th for traffic congestion during the 12 months that ended in April 2012, according to the traffic data firm INRIX. Trips here on average took 2.1 percent more time because of congestion (down from 3.6 percent during the same period the year before). It estimates that the average driver here wasted 4.1 hours during that period because of congestion.

For some context: the most congested metro area last year was Honolulu, where INRIX figures drivers wasted 58 hours during the year. The Honolulu metro is roughly the same size as Albany-Schenectady-Troy in terms of population (Honolulu is #53, Albany is #59).

The time of the week with the most congestion? Thursday and Friday afternoon rush hour.

INRIX didn't identify any corridor bottlenecks here. The most congested corridor in the nation was a portion of the 405 in LA.

Austin: Q: Why did the semiconductor consortium cross the road to Albany? A: Maybe because it couldn't cross the road in Austin -- the Texas city had the 6th worst traffic congestion in the nation.

We're joking about that. Mostly. But there's research that traffic and commuting make people unhappy -- and that we often underestimate the degree to which it's a downer. [Wired]

Here's the INRIX explainer on methodology. Last year were able to find out which roadways it was tracking in this area -- we can't find that this year. (Last year it was I-87, I-90, I-787, I-890, and Route 7.)

Not really worse, just not much better

albany metro jobs recovery recessions brookings

The yellow line is for the most recent recession. Yeah, not so great.

The Albany metro area is in the the second-weakest quintile for economic performance in the latest MetroMonitor report from Brookings Institution (tracking through December 2011).

That's not actually as bad as it sounds. In part, the report measure how well each metro has rebounded during the recession, and this area didn't fall that far compared to many other metro areas. For example: Detroit is among the top 20 metros in the report -- and we'd probably rather not trade with Detroit. (Also in the top 20: Austin. Foiled again!)

As it happens, the Albany metro area is doing pretty well in terms of housing prices (15th for change in housing prices from peak (2007Q1)) and "gross metropolitan product" (9th for change in GMP from peak (2007Q4)). It's not so hot for jobs -- the number of employed people here is only up .4 percent compared to the low point (2011Q1).

The graph above gives you some sense of how hard the recession has hit the local job market, compared to past recessions. We didn't get knocked down, but we're still just sort of staggering forward because whatever gains there have been (example: GlobalFoundries) have been blunted by losses (example: local school districts, governments).

The profile for the Albany metro -- with a bigger version of the graph -- is embedded after the jump.

Speaking of jobs: The state Department of Labor reported today that the Albany metro area had about 5,500 more job last month compared to February 2011.

graph: Brookings Institution

Earlier on AOA: This is a good place to find a job, Forbes says

(there's more)

How walkable, relatively, is Albany?

albany walk score heat map

A heat map of walk scores for Albany. Here's the interactive map.

A post over at Atlantic Cities about the "most walkable cities" in the United States has been circulating locally on Twitter because it mentions that Albany is among the top 10 most walkable cities in the country, according to data from Walk Score.

It turns out that's not actually true.

But that doesn't mean Albany -- and a few other local cities -- don't fare well in the rankings.

(there's more)

The Capital Region could probably smile more

frown faceThe Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area ranked #101 nationally in the annual Gallup-Healthways "Well-Being Index." That's down a few slots from last year(#93), though the region's score didn't change.

The report surveys people across the country, asking them questions in six categories: life evaluation (current and the in the future), emotional health (happiness, sadness, worry), physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access to things like healthcare and healthy food.

The Albany metro's lowest rank was in the emotional health category -- #151. Its highest rank came in the basic access category -- #31. (So, maybe we're upset that even with access to the things we need, we still feel unfulfilled. It's complicated.)

A little more than 53 percent of respondents in this area think it's becoming a better to place to live.

Other places in New York

Here are the ranks for the state's other metropolitan areas: Rochester (#29) Buffalo (#106), Poughkeepsie (#108), NYC (#124), Syracuse (#129), Binghamton (#180), Utica-Rome (#183).

And people in many of those metros don't think things are getting better soon. Buffalo, Utica, Syracuse, and Binghamton all ranked near the bottom of the "optimism" rankings. In fact, Binghamton was the least optimistic metro in the entire survey -- only about 28 percent of people there said they thought their area is getting better as a place to live.

The report for New York State is embedded after the jump.

(there's more)

This is a good place to find a job, Forbes says

global foundries malta fab 8External validation: Forbes says the Albany-Schenectady metro area is #4 on the mag's "Best Cities for Jobs" list. Forbes cites the GE battery plant and the GlobalFoundries fab as reasons for the metro's ranking.

Those are good reasons. And it's reasonable to be generally optimistic about the Capital Region economy -- the unemployment rate has been relatively mild compared to the rest of the country, and the housing market didn't implode like it did in other metros. There's the aforementioned factories, and all the nanotech stuff.

But it's also worth noting some context: there are currently fewer employed people here than five years ago -- about 14,000 fewer, if you compare December 2007 to December 2011, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (xls). And in December 2011, there were about 30,000 unemployed people in the region, according to the NYS Department of Labor.

Forbes says it developed its list by ranking "the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas by a variety of statistics including unemployment rate, household income and projected job growth," while screening out "cities that were merely rebounding from the recession." (Sorry, Las Vegas.)

Here are the top five from Forbes' list:
1. Washington, DC
2. Des Moines, Iowa
3. Poughkeepsie/Newburgh, New York
4. Albany-Schenectady, New York
5. Madison, Wisconsin

photo: GlobalFoundries

Colonie still among lowest-crime large municipalities in nation -- but not the lowest

colonie town hallColonie is ranked #7 on this year's list of lowest crime cities in the US as compiled by CQ Press.* The town was #1 in the rankings for 2010 and 2009.

This year's rankings are based on stats from 2010. Colonie's police chief says the number of major crimes dropped slightly this year. [TU]

The city of Albany was ranked 295th on this year's list -- that's up (or, in reference to crime, down) from #317 in the 2010 rankings. And the crime score compiled by CQ for the city dropped from 86.77 to 68.06.

CQ Press also ranks metropolitan areas. The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro is #77 on this year's rankings -- it was #73 on last year's list. It's still well below the national average.

The Glens Falls metro ranked #8 this year, after topping the rankings last year.

If you're curious about the methodology behind these rankings -- and the strong criticism of them -- here's a little more...

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Albany metro an "economically vibrant college town"

UAlbany walkthrough fountainThe Albany metro area ranks 15th in a list of the "most economically vibrant college towns" from The Atlantic and Richard Florida.

They applied the term "college town" somewhat loosely:

Our measure is not limited to smaller, more traditional college towns, but also includes larger metros like Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York, which are home to major college campuses and large numbers of students and faculty. We measure economic vibrancy in terms of six key variables: per capita income, high-tech industry concentration, the rate of innovation (measured as patents per capita), human capital (the percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher), percent of the workforce in the creative class, and the affordability of housing.

Boulder was #1 on the list. (Tangent: Should we start nurturing Boulder envy? Is Boulder the new Portland? The new Austin?)

(Thanks, Jess!)

The Albany metro bounces. Theoretically.

metro resilience map U Buffalo 2011

The Northeast and Midwest: resilient.

The Albany metropolitan area ranks among the most "resilient" metros in the nation, according to rankings out this week from researchers at the University at Buffalo. The Albany metro ranked 48th out of 361 metros nationwide -- that's among the top 20 percent.

OK, so if you throw the Capital Region against a wall, it springs back? Sort of. Maybe.

(there's more)

The Albany metro area is "brainy"

nipper nerd glasses

And as we all know, smart is sexy.

The Albany metro area is #13 on a list of the "20 Brainiest Cities in America" compiled by Richard "Creative Class" Florida (and another researcher) for the Daily Beast.

From the accompanying article:

Brainy metros tend to have higher incomes, wages, and economic output, higher levels of innovation (measured as patents), more high-tech industry, and higher housing prices, according to an analysis by my research team at the Martin Prosperity Institute. They have also been among the most resilient during the current economic downturn.

And the methodology:

The Brainiest Metros Index is based on three variables: (1) the share of adults 25 years of age and older with a Ph.D., master's or professional degree (from the U.S. Census American Community Survey), (2) computer scientists and mathematicians as a share of all employment, and (3) scientists (physical, biological, social) as a share of total metro employment (both from Bureau of Labor Statistics). The index weights all three variables equally and covers 362 U.S. metro regions.

Boulder, Colorado was #1.

(Thanks, Carl!)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Albany: not dead, yet
+ Listomania

New York has the highest closing costs

highest closing costs 2010

The ten most expensive states (counting LA and SF separately). Arkansas had the lowest average costs at a little more than $3,000.

The closing costs for a $200,000 loan in New York State average $5,623, according to a survey by Bankrate. That's highest in the nation. (Yes, shock. This is New York.)

New York's average is way ahead of #2 Texas (yeah, not everything is bigger in Texas). The Lone Star State's average was $4,708 -- 16 percent less than the Empire State. In fact, New York's total was 50 percent higher than the national average. (Arkansas had the lowest at $3,007.)

Here's how Bankrate figures the costs break down in New York.

Of course, closing costs make it more expensive to buy a house -- but they also add to the price of refinancing your mortgage. And right now mortgage interest rates are at record lows. (Here are some tips for saving on refinance closing costs.)

[via Business Buzz]

graph based on figures from Bankrate

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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