Courtesy of The Creativity Exchange:
Worst Metros for Children
Bakersfield, CA; El Paso, TX; Fresno, CA; Jersey City, NJ; Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA; Miami, FL; Mobile, AL; Modesto, CA; New York, NY; Riverside-San Bernardino, CA; Stockton-Lodi, CA.
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY; Chicago, IL; Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH; Fresno, CA; Jersey City, NJ; Louisville, KY; Miami, FL; Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI; Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Rochester, NY.
Bakersfield, CA; Fresno, CA; Jersey City, NJ; Jersey City, NJ; Los Angeles- Long Beach, CA; Miami, FL; Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI; Modesto, CA; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA-NJ; Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA; Sacramento, CA; Stockton-Lodi, CA; Tacoma, WA.
Bakersfield, CA; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY; El Paso, TX; Fresno, CA; Hartford, CT; Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA; Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI; New York, NY; Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA; Rochester, NY; Springfield, MA; Syracuse, NY.
I was raised in Long Beach, and Mr. Trillwing would like to move back there (I'm ambivalent). I just saw a really neat job posted in Stockton. Good thing Lucas isn't Asian, since we live just outside one of those cities designated as sucky for Asians.
So, you ask, where should we be living? More from the same site:
Best Metros for Children
Ann Arbor, MI; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ; Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MI-WI; Nassau-Suffolk, NY; Newark, NJ; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV.
Colorado Spring, CO; Denver, CO; Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ; Nassau-Suffolk, NY; Portland-Vancouver, OR-WA; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC; San Antonio, TX; San Jose, CA; Tucson, AZ; Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa, CA;
Austin-San Marcos, TX; Baltimore, MD; Monmouth-Ocean, NJ; Nassau-Suffolk, NY; Newark, NJ; Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV
Ann Arbor, MI; Cincinnati, OH; Colorado Springs, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Monmouth-Ocean, NJ; Nassau-Suffolk, NY; Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA; Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV.
I'm trying to imagine what it would like to be Black (hard enough for me to imagine just that) and living in Colorado Springs or Napa. Since Lucas is white (as am I--surprise!), I guess we should be focusing on those cities, but only SF and DC appeal to me. And guess who can't afford to live in SF, and whose family lives about 3,000 miles from DC?
On the other hand, my current fair city did recently make a best-places-to-visit list, and I'm guessing it's a damn good place to raise a white or Asian child. Not so sure about Hispanic or Black childrearing here--I sense a good deal of discomfort on the part of my Black and Latino friends. Which of course makes me uncomfortable. What's a mom to do, though? What a choice to have to make: Do we live in a place that's truly diverse (e.g., Long Beach or Sacramento, both of which have been designated at different times the most racially/ethnically diverse places on the planet) or that's good for my child's health, education, and well-being?
Certainly being raised in a diverse city contributed significantly to who I am today. But we all know educational resources are distributed inequitably by race and class, and I benefited from this privilege, landing in the best programs in my school district (which required me to attend five different schools instead of the usual three). Would Luke be so fortunate? Only if we were upper middle class and he were gifted. And he'd acquire the same damn reduced lung capacity of all the kids in Southern California (yours truly included--thank you, coke plants, Port of Long Beach, 405/605/710 freeways, LA Basin, inversion layer, and Reaganomics).
Of course, I'm setting up a bit of a false dichotomy between metros-suck-because-they're-unhealthy-and-distribute-resources-inequitably-but-
good-god-are-they-diverse-and-maybe-progressive and smaller-towns-are-great-but-good-god-are-they-ever-white-white-white. There are not-terribly-provincial places to live outside of metropolitan areas; I live in one. But our eventual decision about where to settle won't be based just on race and class--there's also family to consider. I want to be near my parents and extended family in Long Beach--a situation from which Lucas would benefit. But then Lucas would also suffer from the pollution, crowding, poor schools, etc.
Also: If California is supposed to be such a great state, why are there so many sucky places to live in it?