Phoenix, AZ: Top Ten City, Bottom Ten City

The Answer is....It's Both!

There are a myriad of websites, blogs and publications that rank states, counties and cities. It's a big business! On this page you'll see some of the best and worst rankings that I have come across about Phoenix, the metro area and the State of Arizona.

Sometimes the rankings are insightful and sometimes they are just plain silly. They make interesting cocktail party conversation, but if you intend to base any life decisions on them, I have a few warnings:

  1. Many of the rankings are published by entities that are trying to sell a book or document with more details. For the great majority of people, there is no reason to purchase those publications. Others create online slide shows to make you click through to see results so they can show you more ads.
  2. When I see rankings, whether good or bad, the disclosure of the methodology is important. What is a methodology? It is a description of how data was obtained and how it was used to come up with a rank. If a methodology is not...MORE provided, chances are there was nothing scientific about the ranking. Some methodologies result in questionable results. Here is an example. If you look at a ranking of city crime, and a city is ranked as having more crime than another city, it might be important to you to check the methodology to see how different crimes were evaluated. Would a high number of stolen bicycles concern you as much as violent crimes, like rape or murder? Just sayin'.
  3. Some rankings don't matter. What do I mean by that? Well, the rank may be true, but the difference between a rank of 25 or a rank of 50 might actually be a very small number.
  4. This warning is a big one: beware of surveys that don't compare apples to oranges, or have misleading titles! I often see rankings about Phoenix, AZ that are not really about Phoenix at all, but they are about the Phoenix metro area, which is actually defined as all of Maricopa and Pinal Counties. That's more than 30 cities, not just Phoenix.I have also seen rankings that rank cities where the methodology shows that they didn't follow their own parameters. A survey about Scottsdale may include information about ASU (in Tempe) or a ranking that mentions the number of bars in Phoenix may include bars in Glendale.
  5. Some rankings are only for certain size cities or counties. For example, cities with populations over 100,000 or the top 50 metro areas. So the rank takes on some meaning, there are 381 MSAs, 41 counties with a population over 1 million, 293 cities with population over 100,000, and nine cities over 1 million according to the U.S. Census estimate, 2013.
  6. With respect to rankings that include Greater Phoenix, beware of those that include weather, since results that include our extreme summer weather often skew the results of the ranking, either positively or negatively. Does having 300 days of sunshine mean that we go outdoors more often, get more exercise and are thinner than other people? Maybe yes, maybe no.

I'm done with the warnings. Just, please, don't assume ranking lists are all valuable, or even true. Read more than the headlines. Or, at least, limit their use to cocktail party small talk unless you do more research.

Here they are! The lists! The lists!

  • 01 of 62
    Young Professionals
    ••• Hero Images / Getty

    Who published it: Forbes.com (2017)

    Rank: #5 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale

    What they are ranking: The title says cities, but they are really comparing metro areas.

    What put us at that rank: 

    • Methodology also included area's unemployment rate, rental affordability, projected job growth, median salary earned by college grads with less than five years of experience. Recent graduates median salary for metro Phoenix: $50,400. 

    You might also be interested in:

  • 02 of 62
    USA, Arizona, Man riding his motorcycle
    ••• No helmet legally required in Arizona. Christian Heeb / Getty Images

     

    Who published it: Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, 2017

    Rank: 1 of 17 states that received the worst rating

    What they are ranking: states. Each state was evaluated based on whether or not they had primary enforcement for each of 15 laws. 

    What put us at that rank: Arizona had only 4 of the 15. No primary enforcement of seat belt law, no motorcycle helmet law, no specific cell phone and texting restriction, all contributing to the poor ranking.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 03 of 62
    Father and daughter looking at cacti whilst out hiking, Sedona, Arizona, USA
    ••• Dan Bannister / Getty Images

    Who published it: Gallup-Healthways, 2017

    Rank: 7

    What they are ranking: states, data from 2016. Includes which states lead and lag across the five elements of well-being: (1) liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals; (2) having supportive relationships and love in your life;  (3) managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security; (4) liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community (5) having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.

    What put us at that rank: Arizona received very high marks in (1) and (2), and good marks in number (5). Number (3) is where we need the most improvement. 

    You might also be interested in:

  • 04 of 62
    Movers carrying sofa from moving van to house
    ••• Chris Ryan / Getty Images

    Who published it: United Van Lines, 2017

    Rank: 10

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: In 2016 Arizona cracked the top 10 list for destinations where people are moving. The state-to-state migration pattern indicated that most people move to Arizona for a new job, company transfer, and retirement

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 5 of 62 below.
  • 05 of 62
    Nobody can help
    ••• PeopleImages.com / Getty Images

    Who published it: Mental Health America, 2016

    Rank: 50 out of 51 (includes DC)

    What they are ranking: states, mostly 2014 data

    What put us at that rank: methodology included 15 measures of mental illness and access to care. Arizona ranked poorly — almost the worst in the nation — with a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care for both adults and youth. For access to care, Arizona ranked 40th out of 51, out of the bottom ten, but not by much.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 06 of 62
    Mixed race woman saving money in jars
    ••• JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

    Who published it: Bankrate.com, 2016

    Rank: Phoenix, #9

    What they are ranking: unclear whether it is cities or metro areas

    What put us at that rank: methodology included average after-tax income, employment and educational opportunities, access to retirement plans, home prices, home ownership rate, non-mortgage debt.

  • 07 of 62
    Close up Black rat (Rattus rattus) on white background
    ••• Alan Baker / Getty Images

    Who published it: Orkin, 2016

    Rank: 45 out of 50

    What they are ranking: cities.

    What put us at that rank: cities are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.keep in mind that being 45 on a list of rattiest cities is good! Here is one case where we want to be in the bottom ten.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 08 of 62
    Young people with down syndrome learning to peel f
    ••• Dean Mitchell / Getty Images

    Who published it: United Cerebral Palsy, 2016

    Rank: #1

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: They analyzed data from 50 states and DC relative to how well State Medicaid programs serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Data is from 2014. Arizona has been ranked #1 overall for several years for the five key areas: promoting independence; health, safety, quality of life; keeping families together; promoting productivity; reaching those in need. Even with a #1 overall rank, Arizona still needs to improve the amount of money spent through home and community-based services, where we ranked #49.

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 9 of 62 below.
  • 09 of 62
    housedump.jpg
    ••• In Phoenix, probably not the house of your dreams. Judy Hedding

    Who published it: GoBankingRates.com, 2016

    Rank: #10 worst

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: They analyzed data from 50 states and DC relative to wealth poverty, and the number of people in upper, middle and lower income groups. "After New Mexico, Arizona has the greatest income inequality between the top and bottom earners....Although the state has more than 100,000 millionaire households, one-third of its population is in the lower class."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 10 of 62
    getty-taxedenough_1500_98480152.jpg
    ••• Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Kiplinger, 2016

    Rank: #7

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: low state income tax, state sales tax is low (although counties and cities add on), state gas tax is low, the real estate tax on the state’s median home value is the 16th lowest rate in the U.S.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 11 of 62
    2008 Lexus LS 460
    ••• Driving in the Desert. Car Culture / Getty Images

    Who published it: WalletHub, 2016

    Rank: #1 (Scottsdale), #2 (Tucson), #4 (Gilbert), #5 (Mesa), #6 (Chandler)

    What they are ranking: cities

    What put us at that rank: WalletHub compared the 100 most populated cities across 21 key metrics. Data sets included average gas prices, average annual hours of traffic delays and number of auto-repair shops per capita. 

    My comment: Which metrics probably played most in favorable results for our cities and towns? Dry weather, no snow, good roads. The cities that ranked high also happened to have a great deal of free parking.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 12 of 62
    Young woman using a smartphone
    ••• Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street, 2016

    Rank: #8 (best)

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: changes in employment from April 2011 through April 2016 based on various official databases, including Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census. Arizona's unemployment rate is 5.4% (April 2016) and increased employment over the stated period by 10.9%.

    My comment: all employment data is based on people who are employed and actively looking for work. It does not take into account those that may have given up looking for a job, or who are underemployed.

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 13 of 62 below.
  • 13 of 62
    Injured pedestrian in a car accident
    ••• gremlin / Getty Images

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street, 2016

    Rank: #7 (worst)

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: based on 2014 traffic accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Arizona had about 2 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 of population.

    My comment: I'm not sure why traffic fatalities were considered in a ranking of pedestrian fatalities. Why not just call the ranking "Traffic Fatalities"?

    You might also be interested in:

  • 14 of 62

    Who published it: Forbes.com (2016)

    Rank: #4 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale

    What they are ranking: The title says cities, but they are really comparing metro areas.

    What put us at that rank: 

    • Population gain, July 2014-July 2015: 87,988
    • Total population, July 2015: 4.57 million

    You might also be interested in:

  • 15 of 62
    Teenage Boy Sits Looking Down in Embarrassment as he is Given a Failed Exam Paper
    ••• Digital Vision. / Getty Images

    Who published it: National Center for Education Statistics (2016)

    Rank: Arizona, #44 out of 51 (includes D.C)

    What they are ranking: Arizona

    What put us at that rank: The national average rate of graduation from high school is 82.3%. In Arizona, only 75.7% of high schoolers graduate. The worst was D.C., with a graduation rate of 61.4%. The best state (Iowa) graduated 90.5%.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 16 of 62
    gilbert3506_1500.jpg
    ••• Welcome to Gilbert. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: GOBankingRates (2016)

    Rank: #1 Gilbert, #5 Chandler

    What they are ranking: cities with high wages and relatively low cost of living. "The study looked at factors that affect people’s finances the most: median income, median home listing price, median rent, unemployment rate, average gas price and average cost of a basket of 15 common grocery items."

    What put us at that rank: high median income for residents, coupled with median home prices that aren't astronomical, low gas prices and average grocery costs.

    You might also be interested in: 

     

    Continue to 17 of 62 below.
  • 17 of 62
    ScottsdaleArtsFest2014-08.jpg
    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Bankrate (2016)

    Rank: 9

    What they are ranking: states, based on cost of living, crime rate (violence and property crimes), health care quality, state and local tax burden, personal well-being and weather.

    What put us at that rank: hard to tell, other than lots of sunshine and low humidity. Remember, they were ranking Arizona, not Greater Phoenix. Improved from #16 the previous year. Where is Florida? #28.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 18 of 62
    salt-river-fields21_1500.jpg
    ••• The Colorado Rockies play Spring Training Baseball at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Sports on Earth at MLB.com (2016)

    Rank: #1, Salt River Fields, Scottsdale

    What they are ranking: Spring Training Stadiums in Arizona and Florida. While only 4 of the top ten stadiums are in Arizona, the number one slot goes to the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.

    What put us at that rank: lawn seating, legroom, sightlines and food trucks.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 19 of 62
    Job Openings
    ••• Job Openings. Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

    Who published it: Forbes.com (2015)

    Rank: Arizona #1

    What they are ranking: States. Because Arizona was one of the worst hit states during the recent financial crisis, it was bound to show greater improvement (as a percentage) as it climbed out of its economic malaise. According to Forbes.com, "...Arizona has emerged from the wreckage to be one of the brighter spots in a slumbering U.S. economy thanks in part to renewed migration. Arizona’s projected job growth is 3.1% annually though [sic] 2019, best in the U.S., according to forecasts from Moody’s Analytics."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 20 of 62
    roadside cross
    ••• A Fatal Accident Occurred on This Corner. Judy Hedding

    Who published it: CarInsuranceComparison.com (2015)

    Rank: Arizona #6

    What they are ranking: States. The methodology for this ranking included fatalities rate, percentage of fatal crashes that involved traffic signals, not wearing seat belts, and driving with an invalid driver’s license, percentage of fatal crashes that involved alcohol, percentage of driving fatalities that were speed-related, and careless driving (pedestrian & bicyclist fatalities). Arizona got the 6th worst ranking mostly for the number of fatalities associated with  Failure to Obey and Careless Driving. That includes red light running, not wearing a seat belt and other citation-worthy driving instances. There was some good news, though -- the organizations specifically mentioned that "Arizona is one of the best states to avoid drunk drivers...."

    Continue to 21 of 62 below.
  • 21 of 62
    Couple Planning Their Retirement
    ••• Couple Planning Their Retirement. Tara Moore / Getty

    Who published it: Kiplinger (2015)

    Rank: Arizona #7

    What they are ranking: States. Arizona was noted for its low personal income tax, and no tax on inheritances, no estate tax, and no tax on Social Security benefits. The gas tax is well below the national average, and the median property tax is the 16th-lowest in the U.S.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 22 of 62
    Arizona is #1 for Guns
    ••• Daniel Boud / Getty Images

    Who published it: Guns & Ammo Magazine (2015)

    Rank: Arizona #1

    What they are ranking: States. When the article started at #51 and worked it's way to #1, I knew to scroll all the way down to the bottom! The rankings were based on right-to-carry laws, restrictions on semiautomatic weapons, whether or not the state further restricts the National Firearms Act, laws relative to self-defense and property rights, shooting sports and training facilities. Arizona ranked at the top in every category.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 23 of 62
    A.S.U. Graduation
    ••• A.S.U. Graduation. Joshua Lott / Getty Images

    Who published it: U.S. Department of Education (2015)

    Rank: Arizona #1 (worst)

    What they are ranking: States, but not really graduation rates. They were ranking loan default rates, and assuming that those correspond to graduation rates based on historical trends. Arizona's default rate was 18% (2013) compared to a national average of 11%. According to azcentral.com, however, "State education officials cautioned Monday that the statistics could be skewed by large numbers of students in other states who are getting degrees online from for-profit schools based in Arizona." Without naming names, that would probably relate mostly to University of Phoenix, headquartered here. So, does this ranking mean much? Not really. The Dept. of Education claims that the state schools have a graduation rate of nearly 60%, higher than the national average.

  • 24 of 62
    Arizona Farmers Markets
    ••• Photo of Roadrunner Park Farmers' Market provided courtesy of Arizona Community Farmers Markets

    Who published it: DailyMeal.com (2015)

    Rank: Phoenix Public Market, Phoenix #10

    What they are ranking: Farmer's Markets. "There are plenty of qualities that we value in a good farmers market. Some important ones to consider are the quality and variety of products sold, how affordable products are, and what kind of public endorsement and recognition each particular farmers market receives. We also value the atmosphere we experience at the market, how friendly and helpful the vendors are, and what kind of information is made available to us about the market and its vendors."

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 25 of 62 below.
  • 25 of 62
    Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue Bridge
    ••• Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue Bridge. Richard Cummins / Getty

    Who published it: Forbes.com (2015)

    Rank: Tempe #25

    What they are ranking: Cities, although I'm not sure why Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan (not cities) and New York, New York are all listed in the top 25. "The final 100 cities were identified by considering factors of concern to Millennials such as ease of commuting, the percentage of residents age 25 to 34, the percentage of Millennials that moved to the city in the past year, crime, median rent, ethnic diversity, and unemployment. The ranking also values quality of life considerations, such as proximity to bars, coffee shops, and restaurants."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 26 of 62
    alliancepavilionmesa_1500.jpg
    ••• Mesa Arts Center. Photo Courtesy Mesa Arts Center

    Who published it: BankRate.com (2015)

    Rank:
    Mesa, #1
    Prescott, #3
    Tucson, #4

    What they are ranking: Cities, although they mention metro Phoenix in the description. Mentioned several times: took into consideration residents who are retirement age and how they felt about their sense of well-being and enthusiasm for the city. Also playing a part in the ranking "the cost of living is relatively low, and the Tax Foundation says Arizona has one of the lower overall tax burdens in the country."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 27 of 62
    Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Pool
    ••• Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

    Who published it: WalletHub (2015)

    Rank: Scottsdale, 4th Best

    What they are ranking: 100 most populated U.S. cities, considering facts like golf courses, shopping, parks, attractions, cost of entertainment, swimming pools and spas. Scottsdale came in 21st in the recreation and activities ranking,  but ranked high for food,  entertainment, and rest/relaxation.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 28 of 62
    cactusflowers-TEP31_1500.jpg
    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Huffington Post Travel (2015)

    Rank: one of the six. I'm not sure they were ranked, but Phoenix was mentioned sixth.

    What they are ranking: They rank Phoenix, but they probably didn't mean just the City of Phoenix, although the Desert Botanical Garden, specifically mentioned, is located there.

    You might also be interested in: 

    Continue to 29 of 62 below.
  • 29 of 62
    skyharbor-american_1500.jpg
    ••• Sky Harbor International Airport. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: U.S. Department of Transportation (2015)

    Rank: 9

    What they are ranking:  2014 Scheduled Domestic and International Enplanements on U.S. and Foreign Airlines. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport had 20.26 million passenger in 2014. The rank moved up one from the previous year. In general, U.S. airlines carried 2.6 percent more passengers on domestic flights and 2.4 percent more passengers on international flights in 2014 than in 2013 for a systemwide increase of 2.6 percent.

    You might also be interested in: 

  • 30 of 62
    getty-angrybank_1500_200388135-001.jpg
    ••• Erik Dreyer / Getty Images

    Who published it: GOBankingRates.com / 2014

    Rank: #1 Worst

    What they are ranking: U.S. states. Arizona was ranked as the worst state in the country for affordable banking. The ranking took into account interest rates and deposit account fee information.

    My comment: When I compared Arizona's results to the state with the most affordable banking, the items that stood out were low interest rates paid on accounts, high minimum balance requirements, and higher monthly maintenance fees.

  • 31 of 62
    getty-childschool_1500_EB4532-002.jpg
    ••• Zigy Kaluzny / Getty Images

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street / 2015

    Rank: #45 out of 50 states

    What they are ranking: states. Methodology included family income, parent education and employment, child schooling, and employment opportunities after college, graduation rates, cost-adjusted per-pupil spending, test scores. Some data was use collected from various years since 2012.

    What put us at that rank: second lowest average expenditure nationwide (2012), children from non-english speaking families find instruction difficult, low rate of reading proficiency, low high school graduation rate.

    My comment: while I question why this company would release a study based on old data, my guess is that Arizona's rank hasn't changed much in the two years since.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 32 of 62
    getty-moneyjar_1500__185005521.jpg
    ••• Michael Phillips / Getty Images

    Who published it: GOBankingRates.com / 2015

    Rank: 
    28 - Chandler
    29 - Mesa
    40 - Gilbert
    53 - Glendale
    54 - Phoenix
    61 - Scottsdale

    What they are ranking: 100 largest cities. The methodology weighted the following factors equally: population, sales tax, median house/condo value, median monthly rent, median income, unemployment rate and gas prices.

    My comment: Our cities ranked much better in 2015 than in 2014, because the company changed their methodology.A higher than average sales tax and higher than average unemployment rate probably had Arizona cities ranking in the bottom half, but with the addition of gas prices and rents the rankings improved.

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 33 of 62 below.
  • 33 of 62
    getty-librarycomputers_1500_sb10069478aw-001.jpg
    ••• Jetta Productions / Getty Images

    Who published it: U.S. News & World Report / 2015

    Rank: #4, W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University

    What they are ranking: the best online master's degree programs in business administration, 195 schools with distance learning MBA programs were ranked.

    What put us at that rank: exceptional student engagement and excellent faculty/staff.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 34 of 62
    getty-manworking_1500_128069450.jpg
    ••• Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job. RunPhoto / Getty Images

    Who published it: WalletHub / 2015

    Rank: #3 (Gilbert), #6 (Chandler), #9 (Scottsdale) out of 150

    What they are ranking: evaluated16 metrics of the 150 largest cities in the U.S. such as job opportunities, employment growth, monthly median starting salary, median annual income, time spent working and commuting, and housing affordability.

    What put us at that rank: high incomes levels, high educational attainment, affordable housing.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 35 of 62
    getty-moneyclamp_1500_99276821.jpg
    ••• Money is Tight in Arizona. Mike Kemp / Getty Images

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street / 2014

    Rank: #45 out of 50

    What they are ranking: states, based on financial reserves, credit rating, people below poverty level, unemployment, GDP growth, real estate foreclosures, and others. Not all factors had the same weight.

    What put us at that rank: Poor credit ratings, hard hit real estate during recession although now improving. Median home values are still down more than national average. Higher than average unemployment, high percentage of people below poverty level.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 36 of 62
    bus_1500.jpg
    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Access Across America, 2014

    Rank: 19

    What they are ranking:  top 46 metro areas

    What put us at that rank: This study ranked metro areas and how many jobs were accessible by public transportation. The highest ranking areas had millions of jobs accessible by transit within 30 minutes. Travel times include walking, waiting, riding, and transfers. I actually thought that a rank of 19 was pretty good considering we don't have subways, and because our metro area is so spread out; 20 years ago we probably would have been at the bottom of the list. Most of the MSAs that ranked better that metro Phoenix have heavy rail rapid transit systems (not just light rail and buses).

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 37 of 62 below.
  • 37 of 62
    getty-wheelchair_1500_87131472.jpg
    ••• Getty Images

    Who published it: WalletHub.com, 2014

    Rank: Peoria #2; Scottsdale #3; Chandler #5; Gilbert #7; Mesa #37; Phoenix #89; Tempe #104; Tucson #111; Glendale #118

    What they are ranking: Cities

    What put us at that rank: They "analyzed the 150 most populated cities across 23 key metrics, ranging from the number of physicians per capita to the rate of employed people with disabilities to park accessibility."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 38 of 62
    getty-concealedcarry_1500_185493305.jpg
    ••• Joe Raedle / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Guns & Ammo, 2014

    Rank: #1

    What they are ranking: 50 states and Washington D.C.

    What put us at that rank: Rankings were based on a points system that include the application process, cost of permits, training time and others. The Maximum number of points that could be achieved was 95. Arizona got 93 points in the ranking. "Arizona managed to score top marks in every category we used for this evaluation and also does well in the intangible categories such as locations where carry is prohibited."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 39 of 62
    gilbert3506_1500.jpg
    ••• Welcome to Gilbert. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street (2014)

    Rank: #20 Gilbert, AZ

    What they are ranking: Cities (or in this case, a town). They used U.S. Census Bureau data for 550 cities with a population of 65,000 or more. "Based on a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, educational attainment, and housing affordability..."

    What put us at that rank: Gilbert got high scores for low crime rates and good schools. As far as leisure activities, the writers took into account all of Maricopa County (strange), but specifically mentioned the Riparian Preserve.

    You might also be interested in:

  • 40 of 62
    hertz1_1500.jpg
    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Allstate Insurance (2014)

    Rank: Gilbert - 20; Mesa - 22; Chandler - 31; Tempe - 33; Tucson - 43; Scottdale - 45; Peoria - 47; Glendale - 65; Phoenix - 79. Where is Surprise, the only one of our ten largest cities not included? I don't know!

    What they are ranking: Cities, not metro areas. They listed the 200 largest cities from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places over 50,000.

    What put us at that rank: Mostly, years between accidents. Our seven  top cities in this ranking had less likelihood of a collision than the national average. Frankly, with the distance we drive around town, the lack of regional public transportation aside from buses, and the amount of time we spend in our cars, I think we ranked pretty well! Give at least some credit to well-maintained roads and highways.

    You might also be interested in:

    Continue to 41 of 62 below.
  • 41 of 62
    ua-tucson-bikerack_1500.jpg
    ••• Free Bike Use at University of Arizona, Tucson. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Bicycling.com (2014)

    Rank: Tempe - 15; Scottsdale - 20

    What they are ranking: It says Phoenix/Tempe but I am guessing that it is really City of Tempe.

    What put us at that rank: From the article: "Tempe boasts the highest percentage of bike riders in the state of Arizona." Not a surprise to me, since Tempe is where the main campus of Arizona State University is located. As for Scottsdale, "Each year the city invests $10 million in bike and pedestrian facilities." As an aside, Tucson was ranked 9th, with the comment, "All new street construction and reconstruction must include bike lanes."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 42 of 62
    getty-workingparents_1500_500048043.jpg
    ••• JGI/Jamie Grill / Blend Images / Getty Images

    Who published it: Business Insider / Nerd Wallet (2014)

    Rank: AZ cities ranked 1 (Gilbert), 3 (Chandler), 10 (Mesa) and 14 (Glendale)

    What they are ranking: Cities, the 100 largest in the U.S.

    What put us at that rank: The study was based on "affordability (median income and housing costs), childcare costs, school quality, and the community (percentage of households with children) in the 100 largest U.S. cities." Gilbert, Arizona got the top ranking. With "moderate costs and a high median household income, Gilbert offers affordability and also high-quality schools..."

    You might also be interested in:

  • 43 of 62
    getty-democratrepublican_1500_109437294.jpg
    ••• Vstock LLC / Getty Images

    Who published it: American Political Science Review (2014). 

    Rank: Mesa, #1 (most conservative); Phoenix, #19 (chart)

    What they are ranking: 67 U.S. cities with more than 275,000 people,  from most conservative to most liberal. Article entitled "Representation in Municipal Government"

    What put us at that rank: political ideology

    You might also be interested in:

  • 44 of 62
    getty-dropball_1500_148971912.jpg
    ••• Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport

    Who published it: Forbes.com (2014)

    Rank: Metro Phoenix/AZ is #2 (#1 rank is worst, or most miserable)

    What they are ranking: cities/states with professional sports teams that don't win. Note: sports analysts don't count the WNBA or Arena Football as "real sports." Only those cities with 75 total years in the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL were included.

    What put us at that rank: playoff eliminations, championship droughts, not winning a title within the past five years.

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    Continue to 45 of 62 below.
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    ••• College Grads. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Kiplinger (2014)

    Rank: 8 (Metro Phoenix)

    What they are ranking: metro areas

    What put us at that rank: based on average monthly living costs for renters, better than average entry level job market, places where recent graduates are likely to land good jobs and take home above-average paychecks.

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  • 46 of 62
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    ••• Downtown Phoenix Skyline. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Glassdoor, 2014

    Rank: Phoenix MSA ranked 46 out of 50

    What they are ranking: metro areas, not cities. A comparison of overall employee satisfaction, number of employers hiring, business outlook expectations.

    What put us at that rank: hard to tell. Looks like employees are not as optimistic about the next six months as in other metro areas.

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  • 47 of 62
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    ••• Easter Egg Hunt in Scottsdale. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: MyLife.com, 2014

    Rank: Scottsdale ranked #1 out of 100 largest cities.

    What they are ranking: cities, based on crime rate, public school ranking, public parks per capita, average family salary, cost of living.

    What put us at that rank: high average family income and good public schools.

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  • 48 of 62
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    ••• Roaring Fork in Scottsdale. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Livability.com, 2014

    Rank: Scottsdale, #2

    What they are ranking: small to mid-size cities. This survey took into account: frequency that residents eat at local restaurants, amount that residents spend on food, access to healthy food options, number of farmers markets, number of restaurants, James Beard Foundation Award winners.

    What put us at that rank: Farmers markets, focus by restaurants on using local and high-quality ingredients, acclaimed Chefs and the fact that Scottsdalians spend more on food than most.

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    Continue to 49 of 62 below.
  • 49 of 62
    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Facebook via Wall Street Journal, 2014

    Rank: 39 (Phoenix)

    What they are ranking: It says cities, but I don't really know. I imagine that it depends what city people indicate in their Facebook profile.

    What put us at that rank: best odds for turning a "Single" status to "In a relationship"using anonymous profile information gathered in the 50 U.S. cities with the most Facebook users over a one-month period.

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  • 50 of 62
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    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: National Park Service, 2014

    Rank: 7

    What they are ranking: states. Arizona ranked 7th in 2013 in the number of people that visited its national parks in the U.S. They used visitation data for 370 National Park units.

    What put us at that rank: more than 10 million people visited Arizona's national parks. Visits to the Grand Canyon made up almost half that number.

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  • 51 of 62
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    ••• © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: National Federation of Independent Business, 2014

    Rank: 5

    What they are ranking: City of Phoenix only

    What put us at that rank: rebounding economy, favorable climate, entrepreneurial culture, low tax rates, regulatory reform and diversifying of the economy.

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  • 52 of 62
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    ••• David McNew/ Getty Images News

    Who published it: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 2014

    Rank: 40 (Greater Phoenix)

    What they are ranking: 100 largest U.S. metro areas

    What put us at that rank: air quality and uninsured rate were highest risk factors

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    Continue to 53 of 62 below.
  • 53 of 62
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    ••• Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

    Who published it: U.S. Postal Service, 2014

    Rank: tied for 11th in a ranking of 30 cities. Actually, 62 cities made the top 30 rankings due to ties. The higher the rank, the more dog attacks there were, meaning being number 1 (Houston) is not a good thing.

    What they are ranking: not sure if it is really the City of Phoenix or the metro area.

    What put us at that rank: 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs nation-wide in 2013. Phoenix had 32 attacks.

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  • 54 of 62
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    ••• Getty Images News

    Who published it: Barna Group, 2014

    Rank: Greater Phoenix is 8th worst out of 100 (rank 93)

    What they are ranking: title says cities, but they analyzed metro areas

    What put us at that rank: 17% of Phoenix residents are familiar with the Bible. Individuals who report reading the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded. Generally speaking, the more densely populated areas tend to be less Bible oriented.

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  • 55 of 62
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    ••• William Thomas Cain / Getty Images News

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street (2014)

    Rank: 10th Weakest Unions

    What they are ranking: Arizona, the entire state

    What put us at that rank: As of 2013, 16.2% of public sector workers were union members, versus just 2.9% of private sector workers.

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  • 56 of 62
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    ••• Lisa Lake / Getty Images Entertainment

    Who published it: Forbes (2014)

    Rank: 10 (Greater Phoenix)

    What they are ranking: not cities, as stated in the title, but metro areas.

    What put us at that rank: percentage of kids under 14, economic growth, affordability and lower population densities. Ranking was done on the 51 metropolitan statistical areas with more than a million residents (2012).

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    Continue to 57 of 62 below.
  • 57 of 62
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    ••• Joshua Lott / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Forbes (2013)

    Rank: 1

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: recovery post-recession. Used "35 factors to determine the best and worst states, including projected employment. Arizona is expected to have the fastest job growth at 3% annually over the next five years....The job gains are projected to boost household incomes..."

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  • 58 of 62
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    ••• Morning commute in Phoenix, AZ. Jeff Topping / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Forbes (2013)

    Rank: 8 (Greater Phoenix)

    What they are ranking: metro areas, not cities as the title states

    What put us at that rank: Based on six metrics: the estimated rate of population growth, the rate of job growth, and the rate of economic growth, all based on 2012 numbers. They also factored in federal unemployment data and median salaries for local college-educated workers.

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  • 59 of 62
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    ••• Bill Pugliano / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Sperling’s Best Places, 2012

    Rank: 18 out of 50 for Metro Phoenix

    What they are ranking: metro areas, not cities as the title states

    What put us at that rank: The study analyzed a variety of factors associated with stress, including suicide, divorce, crime, joblessness and lengthy commuting.

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  • 60 of 62
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    ••• Joe Raedle / Getty Images News

    Who published it: Forbes (2012)

    Rank: 3

    What they are ranking: states

    What put us at that rank: almost 13% of our children are uninsured. Keep in mind, a high rank in this case is not a good thing.

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    Continue to 61 of 62 below.
  • 61 of 62
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    ••• Colorado River Basin. David McNew / Getty Images News

    Who published it: 24/7 Wall Street, 2010

    Rank: 3 (third most likely to run out) Maricopa County (?)

    What they are ranking: hard to tell. They mention both Maricopa County and the Phoenix metro area (not cities, as the title indicates)

    What put us at that rank: their view of "potential conflicts in regions which might have disputed rights over large supplies of water and the battles that could arise from these disputes." Los Angeles was ranked as at the highest risk.

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  • 62 of 62
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    ••• Blazing Phoenix Sun. © Judy Hedding

    Who published it: Sperling’s Best Places, 2011

    Rank: Phoenix MSA ranked 122 out of 379 metro areas. Out of the 122 metro areas defined as large, metro Phoenix ranked 26th.

    What they are ranking: Risks for twisters and hurricanes are based on historical data; earthquake risks are based on United States Geological Survey assessments; additional hazards included flooding, drought, hail and other extreme weather.

    What put us at that rank: hot weather, temperatures above 90°F

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