During its spring conference hosted here in Cincinnati last week, CEOs for Cities
, a national network of urban, civic leaders, released its second ever “City Vitals” report, a kind of scorecard that measures and ranks key development and quality-of-life indicators for cities around the country.
Using the acronym of CITY (Connections, Innovation, Talent and Your Distinctiveness), report authors analyzed mostly Census data to explore what makes cities vibrant, appealing and successful.
Here’s a roundup of where Cincinnati rates among CEOs’ 51 identified cities and regions.
First, some good news. Cincinnati ranked in the top 20 in the following catgories:
Nearly 65 percent of Cincinnati’s population voted in the 2008 Presidential election, putting us in 13th place. (Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked first with more than 76 percent of the population casting ballots.)
• Community involvement.
We squeaked in the top 20 at number 19, with close to 29 percent of the metro population reporting a volunteer effort in the past year. (In Salt Lake City, more than 42 percent of the population reported volunteering.)
• Economic integration.
Cincinnati ranked 11th in the percentage of the population living in middle-income neighborhoods, with 76.1 percent. (Minneapolis-St. Paul topped the economic integration list with more than 84 percent of the population in middle-income homes.)
Cincinnati ranked 19th in number of patents issued per 10,000 employees with 5.9. (San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara dominated this category with 83.5 patents per 10,000 employees. The next closest city, Austin-Round Rock, issued 31.9 per 10,000 employees)
• Creative professionals,
or folks employed as mathematicians, scientists, artists, engineers, architects and designers. Four percent of Cincinnati’s workers come from this creative group, making the city 18th on the list. (The number one slot went to San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, where 7.6 percent of the population fits into this category.)
Now, some challenges, or, as we like to call them, room-to-grow areas:
• Greenhouse gas emissions.
Cincinnati earned its highest ranking, second, in this not-so-positive category of per capita carbon emissions. While we emitted 3.28 tons per person, per year, Los Angeles emitted just 1.41 tons per person per year. Yes. Los Angeles.
• Entrepreneurship and small businesses
. In these increasingly essential categories for cities, Cincinnati ranked 46th and 43rd, respectively. (See Cincinnati growing Cincinnati for some examples of how to increase those numbers significantly.)
• Weirdness index.
Cincinnati nearly bottomed out this category with a ranking of 48th out of 51. What this means, basically, is that we tend to buy what everyone else in America buys. Weirdest cities on record: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara and San Francisco, not surprisingly, rank first and second. But number three? Salt Lake City, Utah. That’s just weird.
The CEOs for Cities report can be accessed in its entirety online
. Overall, it provides a fresh lens for city dwellers, city lovers and city officials through which to view the present and plan for the future.
By Elissa Yancey
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