Rochester #6 in United States in livability

This is good, I guess…  But the lesson here is that you should always take these rankings with a grain of salt.  Here is why:

This is what they say about healthcare (they actually mention us):

To some extent, all you need to know about how quality health care can impact a city is this: Rochester, Minn., (pop. 107,000) has an airport that can land a 747. People from the world over travel to the famed Mayo Clinic for treatments. It’s a huge boon for the town – employing more than 30,000 and drawing millions of visitors each year. It’s hard to imagine the city thriving to such a degree without it.

And yet when you get into the rankings Rochester ranks in the bottom half on healthcare with a pitiful score 56 of 100.  We score worse than Fargo, Helena, Ames, Lincoln, and Des Moises.  Had we scored 84 like St. Paul we would have been #1 by a long shot.

Botton line we are a great city, but these ratings tend to be flawed.  I will never forget the year that we did not make the Money list because they did not consider cities over 50k and under 300k.  The we had someone criticize us for our falling quality of life.  Sigh…

Congratulations! Rochester has been named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by, a national website that ranks quality of life amenities of America’s small and mid-sized cities.

To produce its inaugural list of Top 100 Best Places to Live, partnered with Richard Florida’s Martin Prosperity Institute, the world’s leading think tank on the role of location, place, and city-regions in global economic prosperity. Together we conducted a months-long study of more than 1,700 U.S. cities and the factors that make them the best places to live, work and play.

The data collected for the ranking were weighted based on an exclusive survey conducted for Livability by Ipsos Public Affairs, a leading global market research firm. Respondents were asked about factors that make their communities better places to live, as well as the factors they would consider in selecting another city. Those factors were narrowed down to eight categories – economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and healthcare – that were used to determine each city’s LivScore.

Rochester ranked high for education and amenities.

Here are 4 ways to spread the good news:

1. Forward this e-mail to your members.

2. Tweet your ranking to your followers or share the news on your Facebook page.

3. Add a news item or mention on your website and in your e-newsletter.

4. You are welcome to post the attached badge to your website, blog or social media profiles, we ask only that you link back To download press releases or logos, visit the Livability Dropbox .

Again, congratulations on making the List of Top 100 Best Places to LiveSee the entire list

For more information about the index:

Matt Carmichael



  1. Perhaps I am far more cynical than I should be but I wonder if these ranking games are more about selling the magazines/web sites involved than any actual facts.

  2. Hi-
    I’m the editor of and I appreciate having the chance to respond. First, to Ray, I would invite you to read our methodology, as well as read about our partners, advisors, data sources, etc. — Could we do things differently? Of course. But I’ll stand behind our methodology, and we’ll certainly tweak it next year as new data become available, etc. I think you’re probably right that for some sites its all about the traffic, but remember we’re a site called *livability* — this is what we do, and we work very hard to do it right.

    As to the healthcare ranking, it was based upon the number of hospitals and the amount residents spend on health care each year. Finding a trusted apples-to-apples health care *quality* rating for every hospital in the U.S. is challenging, so we sided with access and options over quality for this measure.

    But I called out the Mayo Clinic in the write-up, because its presence clearly helps Rochester’s ranking in other parts of our LivScore. Without it, I’d venture to guess that Rochester would not have scored nearly as well in amenities, demographics, social and civic capital, education and economics.

    Because really, the Mayo Clinic and the other fine area hospitals mean much more to residents than just quality health care. I think our data and our ranking show that quite clearly, and Rochester should be very proud of its rank in the top 10.

    If you have further questions, I’m happy to discuss.

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