If you have only yourself to consider, choosing where to live can be a walk in the park, or down the shore, or under an arch, or through some tar pits — whatever suits your fancy. If you shackle yourself, lovingly of course, to another human being, and the two of you with clear eyes and full hearts bring forth new life into the world, well, choosing where to live becomes more fraught. Values shift. Priorities adjust. Apartments that seemed cozy start to feel like “the hole” in The Shawshank Redemption.
Forbes has taken these and other factors, fed them into a robot that doesn’t like ethnic food, and spat out a list of The Best Cities For Raising a Family. You may notice that all people pictured look whiter than new fallen snow, except for — ha! — the Provo, Utah slide, which, in a group of kids, includes one ambiguously Asian boy in the corner. Nor is Provo the only Utah city in the top ten; it’s joined by Ogden. Other winners include Boise, Idaho, Omaha, Nebraska, and Des Moines (“Some people say that Des Moines is the best city in Iowa!”).
Granted, Forbes might not be speaking directly to me and mine, but this shit makes me tired. My husband, baby empress, and I might be looking to relocate, and “having only pasty folks around” is not our #1 criteria. What if you value good schools and diversity? Feeling safe and feeling comfortable as an atheist, a lesbian, a gender-nonconformist, or someone who knows that their child could grow up to be any of those things? What if you just like your lattes? If you’re priced out of boho Brooklyn, where should you go?
NB: Forbes has made something of a cottage industry of these lists, if you’re curious. Others in the genre include America’s Coolest Cities (Houston — which is wrong on at least two levels), 10 Best Places for Newlyweds to Live and Work (also Houston), America’s Safest, Most Secure Places to Live (“smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest”), and plenty more.