Providence is among the best places to live says US News. But wait 'til you hear our rank – The Providence Journal

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Various media here trumpeted some news about Providence being included in the latest U.S. News list of “Best Places to Live.”
Meaning best cities.
Out of 150, Providence ranked #105.
This seemed to be cause for pride in some parts here.
One local website was impressed that we moved up one place from last year, when we were #106.
Others celebrated that we made such a sought-after list at all.
I have a different reaction.
Is U.S News serious?
105th?
That low?
It’s an insult and outrage.
And wait until you hear who ranked higher.
I recently wrote a story about a half-dozen couples who decided to shake up their lives and find an ideal new home city.
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One lived in Minneapolis, another San Francisco, a third St. Louis, a few around New York City, and others in far-flung places.
I chose the couples because they weren’t moving for a job – they started with a blank slate to search for urban paradise.
They weighed a ton of cities as prospects – Boston, Philly, Baltimore, Charleston, Hartford, New Haven, Washington and many more.
But all found Providence the most attractive and livable, so here they are.
Yes, it’s just an anecdotal sampling, but they reflect what many here already know. Providence has all the features of a big city at human scale. You can live in a house with a lawn minutes from downtown. It’s rich in food, arts and culture. It’s bikeable, near the ocean, and, and, and.
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Despite all that, U.S. News tossed us in the basement of rankings.
Of course, they don’t put it that way – they sing Providence’s praises. And their implication is that all 150 cities on the list are lovely.
I’m not having it. A 105 ranking is not respect.
Their number-one pick is Huntsville, Alabama.
Huh?
I’m sure it’s an OK place, but it’s not a good sign that I felt I had to add “Alabama” above because a lot of folks would be, like, “Huntsville? Where’s Huntsville?”
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Rounding out the top six are Colorado Springs, Green Bay, Boulder, San Jose and Raleigh-Durham, which is kind of cheating. Pick one or the other, okay? 
Number 7 is Fayetteville, which again I feel I need to add is in Arkansas. Then Portland …the one in Maine. Then Sarasota, followed by San Francisco at #10.
One of the U.S. News criteria is “the value index.” Translation: affordability. Providence has challenges in that area, but sure – try to buy a house in San Francisco or San Jose. Both are at the very top of cities where you almost have to be Jeff Bezos to afford a house.
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I’m not denying that many cities high on the list are good places, like #12 Naples and #13 Austin.
But come on, U.S. News, are you honestly going to rank Boise at #15 – a full 90 ahead of Providence?
And as for #16, I don’t want to sound critical, but Grand Rapids? To adapt a quote from W.C. Fields, “I spent a month in Grand Rapids one weekend.” I really did.
Boston ranked #18. I mean, Boston’s OK. But just about all seven of those couples who moved to Providence considered Boston yet nixed it as too pricey, congested, and my goodness, the traffic.
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Number 21 is Albany. I know some great folks in Albany, who love it because they have roots there, so I hope they don’t see this column. But U.S. News has to be smoking something to rank Albany 84 spots above Providence as a place to live.
Then there’s Omaha, at #29, and certainly Warren Buffett likes it there. But at the start of my career, I applied for a job at the Omaha newspaper and since then, I’ve often been tempted to send them a thank you note for rejecting me.
Just as I’m glad the Harrisburg paper in Pennsylvania told me to get lost – and yet Harrisburg is #35.
Syracuse beat us too, as did Kalamazoo, and though I enjoyed a visit to Asheville, North Carolina, a few years ago, it doesn’t deserve to be #46 while Providence is #105.
And you’re telling me Hartford’s #47? Fort Wayne #48? Peoria #50? I’ve been to Moline, Illinois, and I’m not sure what universe U.S. News is in to rank it at #53, a full 52 spots ahead of us.
And get this: Worcester ranked dozens of slots ahead of us at #69. Yes, they got the PawSox, but only because our pols were incompetents who literally pushed the team away. I’ve been to Worcester. Spent time in Worcester. Traveled around Worcester. And Worcester, you’re no Providence.
Oh, Youngstown, at #85, beat us, too.
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U.S. News did write a nice few paragraphs about Providence that were actually on point:
“Providence is a culturally diverse metro area, home to young professionals and artists, characterized by a quaint New England vibe.” It went on about the city’s renaissance, culinary scene, colleges and scenic coast.
A sincere thank you for that, U.S. News.
But as for the lowly #105 rank?
Thanks, but no thanks.
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