Beverley Mitchell

Which U.S. Cities Have the Best Quality of Life?

by , 06/11/14

Nonprofit initiative Data Driven Detroit (D3) recently released its latest One D Scorecard. The addictively interactive online scorecard charts and compares various indicators of quality of life in 54 major U.S. cities. How does your city compare against others on indicators such as education, childhood poverty, home ownership rates and job mobility?


While D3′s motivation for producing the scorecard is naturally to see how Detroit compares to the 53 other most populous cities in the U.S., it’s easy enough to chart and compare data sets for any of the cities included. Individual results are provided for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, so you can track progress (or otherwise) in the city of your choice. The One D Scorecard was initiated several years ago as a regional and urban planning tool and is now maintained by D3. The nonprofit and its project partners do not provide any interpretation of the data, but all stats are downloadable in spreadsheet form for further use.

Related: Amazing Interactive Map Shows Carbon Footprint of all 31,000 U.S. ZIP Codes

Statistics are divided into five priority areas: Economic Prosperity, Educational Preparedness, Quality of Life, Social Equity, and Regional Transit. Each priority area is then divided into data subsets. Quality of Life is measured by factors such as the air quality index, population change, percentage of population with health insurance, violent crime statistics, volunteer rates and obesity levels. Sources are provided for all data sets.

At each level, data is rated on a scale of zero to five, with zero being the lowest score, and five the highest. For each city all data sets are graded in this range, then each priority area is graded by averaging the scores of its data sets. The five priority areas are then averaged to give the overall score for the city. It would be spoiling the fun to tell you outright which city received the highest score, but as a clue, it starts with an S. Surprisingly, only three of the 54 cities achieved an overall score of three or higher. You can find out how your city rates here.

+ Data Driven Detroit

Via Fast Company and Data Driven Detroit

Images by Data Driven Detroit

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