Earlier this week, career resource site Zippia released rankings of the best and worst cities in the United States in which to quarantine. Unlike most other livability rankings of cities, which tend to be based on factors like the job market, real estate prices and how vibrant a dining or arts scene a metropolitan area has, this one factored in a few other lockdown-specific elements.
Zippia ranked cities from one to 99 based on the following criteria:
-Average apartment size
-Amount of parkland per person
-Percent of residents with broadband internet
-Number of takeout options
As you can see, these are pretty unique data points that correlate specifically to quality-of-life issues at this particular moment. Certainly broadband internet access is a major concern with implications for working from home as well as entertainment. This metric was calculated based on U.S. Census data, so it is likely out of date by now.
Average apartment size is another relevant issue given most people are restricted to their domiciles for the foreseeable future and having some extra square footage might mean the difference between weathering the storm or filing for divorce. The source for this data was internet apartment listing service RENTCafé.
The takeout options column assumes a certain level of affluence given that most folks and those with restricted or suddenly lowered income are likely more dependent on groceries at the moment. This data was based on the number of restuarants listed for each city on DoorDash.
Finally, the amount of parkland is an interesting metric and should perhaps be weighted less than the others given that many states have closed public parks and beaches for the time being. Zippia based its findings in this category on information gleaned from the Trust For Public Land.
With those caveats in mind, the findings were a mix of mid-sized, mostly coastal and upwardly mobile metro areas on the best end of the spectrum. Cities in the worst range include mostly industrial areas with dense populations.
Here are the 10 best cities for quarantining, according to Zippia:
- Scottsdale, AZ – this won out thanks to a mix of parkland and apartment size.
- Irvine, CA – apartment size, internet access and takeout options landed it this spot.
- Las Vegas, NV – perhaps interestingly for a city more known as a leisure destination.
- San Diego, CA – It landed here thanks to the number of takeout options and broadband access.
- Virginia Beach, VA – spacious apartments and plenty of room to roam outside.
- Chandler, AZ
- San Jose, CA
- Raleigh, NC
- Orlando, FL
- Austin, TX
Unfortunately, some other cities ranked rather poorly. This seemed to be due mostly to a lack of living space paired with sparse park areas and limited broadband access and takeout options.
- Newark, NJ
- Hialeah, FL
- Paterson, NJ
- Buffalo, NY
- Laredo, TX
- Tucson, AZ
- Cleveland, OH
- Arlington, TX
- McAllen, TX
- Tie: Wichita, KS and Boston, MA
For a quick-hit list, these rankings are certainly interesting, and Zippia did choose some relevant factors on which to base them. In terms of the broader overall coronavirus experience and its aftermath, perhaps future studies will analyze even more pertinent metrics like access to medical care, the change in employment rates and local tax collection, per-capita grocery stores and other food outlets, and how well the local education district was able to shift from traditional at-school learning to at-home curriculum.