Sometimes statistics can be misleading. Sometimes, they tell a very interesting story.
WalletHub recently released its list of the 150 best-run cities in America. Surveys of this type usually do a better job of creating some publicity for the company sponsoring the survey than they do settling any arguments about what truly is the best or worst of anything.
And while there’s plenty of room for argument as to the statistical methodology WalletHub used to create its survey, there is one finding from this survey that, upon closer inspection, can’t be argued.
Of the 150 cities ranked by WalletHub, 15 of the bottom 16 have something in common: They are run by Democratic mayors.
WalletHub didn’t list the political affiliations of each city’s mayor. In fact, there’s no reference to any specific individuals or political parties in the survey.
But a quick check of the cities and their respective mayors’ political affiliations paints a pretty harsh reality.
— WalletHub (@wallethub) July 9, 2018
Of the cities ranked by WalletHub, Washington D.C., ranks dead last, slightly ahead of New York City and Detroit.
Also falling near the bottom of the survey are cities that have been longtime Democrat strongholds such as St. Louis (ranked 136th out of 150), Atlanta (137th), Los Angeles (138th), Chicago (140th), Cleveland (142nd), Oakland (145th), and San Francisco (147th).
The only city out of the lowest 16 in the rankings with a Republican mayor is Gulfport, Mississippi, which came in at 146th on the list.
According to WalletHub, the survey was compiled using data from six categories — financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure and pollution — then used the numbers from those categories to create a “Quality of City Services” score for each city. That score was then divided by the dollar amount for each city’s total budget per capita to create a “Score per Dollar Spent” index that was used to determine the final rankings.
The final numbers measure the operating efficiency of each city, thereby taking into account “how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget,” according to WalletHub.
The top five cities on the WalletHub list are Nampa, Idaho; Provo, Utah; Boise, Idaho; Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky; and Missoula, Montana.
The only so-called “big city” to earn a top-10 ranking in the survey is Oklahoma City, which ranked No. 10. It has a population of roughly 640,000.
It also has a Republican mayor.
Cities that score high on these types of surveys always promote them through their chambers of commerce and the like. Cities that don’t score high on these surveys generally ignore them or fault their methodology.
It remains to be seen how Democrats and Republicans will spin these numbers.
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