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Cities – “Best” Places and Highest 2017 Poverty

As readers of this blog know, I am an avid reader. I found it very interesting that two reports on cites/places to live came out this week, but they cover complete opposite ends of the spectrum. One was Money Magazine highly rated annual survey of “Best places to live” and the other was cities with the 2017 highest poverty rates. Talk about two different data points!

I love reading…real news (and books of course!). The NY Times every single day with a cup (or more!) of coffee, very often the Wall Street Journal, stock reports, Reuters newswire and other legitimate sources. This is where articles such as the top 50 cities with highest poverty rates came from, as the recent 2017 poverty data was reported on for the entire nation and picked up and reported on by those publications, in an unbiased way.

As readers know, and the family and others who know me that read this blog know, I strongly dislike the “sensationalist” papers (borderline tabloid) like the NY Post, the quasi blog news sites or similar publications. Some a saw headline for put a racial / immigration “spin” on these poverty stats, which it is not and that is flat out wrong. And of course, I dislike social network news feeds and smart phone addictions…Social Networks and phones are also proven to be a negative for mental health as we wrote about, and even lead to loss of income, productivity, self-esteem, and I personally think brain cells! You rarely find unbiased, real news like poverty stats on those sources as the racial spin shows. Even though as I wrote about someone did call me racist from a previous blog post I wrote on income.

When it comes to reviewing or discussing the news (or any topic), intelligent and thoughtful people are the best to be around…whether they are poor living in poverty or rich living in a best places city, black, brown or white, male or female, ugly (or “mediocre” at best like me!) or good looking. People who can have a thoughtful discussion over the latest news stories, such as these city data points on poverty or quality of life, without screaming or putting down others and those who can “listen” to others…not just hear them. I strongly believe those type of reflective, moderate, calm and thoughtful people, whether a politician or some other leader, are the ones who may help get rid of some of the extreme views in this country, whether around racism, poverty in cities, and other challenges. just maybe those types of discussions can bring some visibility and maybe new ideas to the “battle” on poverty.

These two articles, of top cities to live in and highest poverty rates, help shed light on some of the extremes in this country. Extreme when it comes to quality of life, income, education, wealth, etc. There are many extremes in the US, whether around politics, sports, religion or anything. A summary of the reports are here. the poverty one in particular brings up a lot of thoughtful discussion points.

Lets look at a couple examples of the extremes. As we wrote about, poverty rates are still all too high. But the best cities to live in have little, if any poverty. Overland Park has under 6%, Mt Pleasant SC right about 5%, Newton MA under 4%, Frisco TX right under 4%….and it goes on and on. The best places all have poverty rates 1/3 or 1/4 of national average, and the rates are even more telling when compared against cities with highest poverty rates.

The best places and 2017 poverty list show other extremes as well. Around quality of schools (which are very high in best places), parks and recreation, crime rates, libraries, etc. The best places to live cities are generally rated much higher in many factors (including those) than the cities with highest poverty rates.

Unfortunately, the lists are extremes! But maybe, if this has not been attempted yet, some politicians, business management consultants or other experts should take a look at the top cities and see what they have done over the years to try to get to the point where they are now. How they invested in their schools and parks. What they did with libraries, how they recruited employers and more. And maybe put a few of those policies, or something similar, for the cities that are awash in poverty.


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

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