Best Places to Live 2010: Methodology

 

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This year’s Best Places to Live measures 179 cities, up from 154 last year. To come up with the ranking, we gathered information on Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomeration areas that had a population of 10,000 or greater (and for which the required data was available). We then broke up the CMAs of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Hamilton, Oshawa and Kitchener into their component cities of 50,000 or more in population.

We then ranked each community by the following categories. The categories were scored out of a given number of points. The higher the potential points, the more weight that category had in our final ranking.

WALK/BIKE TO WORK – 7 Points – Data taken from 2006 Statistics Canada reports.

WEATHER -18 Points (6 for each of amount of precipitation, number of wet days, days below 0). Ideal volume of precipitation was considered to by 700 ml per year – Source: Environment Canada

AIR QUALITY – 2 Points – One point for parts per million of ozone and one point for levels of suspended fine particulate matter, both of which are major components of smog. Data was from monitoring stations in or nearest to each city and reported by the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network.

POPULATION GROWTH – 10 Points – 2006 figures from Stats Canada. Results are based on the average Canadian growth from 01-06 of 5.4% plus 2% as an ideal rate. Higher created problems, lower meant less opportunities. Cities with negative growth received 0 points.

UNEMPLOYMENT – 10 Points – 2009 data from Statistics Canada when provided and 2010 estimates derived from Canadian Demographics.

HOUSING – 15 Points (7.5 for average house prices & 7.5 for time to buy a house) House average prices from reports and listings by MLS, Toronto, Fraser Valley, Vancouver and Quebec Real Estate Boards. Time to buy was derived from average price divided by average 2010 estimated household income sourced from Canadian Demographics.

HOUSEHOLD INCOME – 4 Points – 2010 estimates as per Canadian Demographics

DISCRETIONARY INCOME – 4 Points – Discretionary household income as a percentage of total household income derived from 2010 estimates as per Canadian Demographics. Taking a percentage adjusts for higher cost of living and tax factors.

NEW CARS – 4 Points – 2007-2009 model year vehicles as a percent of total vehicles as per Canadian Demographics

INCOME TAXES – 2 Points – Cities ranked according to the rate of combined federal and provincial (or territorial) income tax paid on an income of $50,000 as per Ernst & Young.

SALES TAXES – 1 Point – Cities ranked according to the rate of provincial or territorial sales tax as per www.taxtips.ca

CRIME – 5 points – Violent crime rates  (2 points), total crime rates (2 points) per 100,000 people and crime severity rates (1 point) for 2008 from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

DOCTORS – 6 Points – General practice and specialist physicians per community provided by the Canadian Medical Association and converted to doctors per 1,000 people.

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS – 4 Points – Percentage of people in each city who are employed in health occupations according to the 2006 census.

TRANSIT – 5 points – Based on the percentage of the workforce utilizing public transit according the 2006 census

AMMENITIES – 3 points – One point each for a hospital, university and college. A city’s university or college had to have an enrollment of at least 1,000 students to be included. Cities in a CMA area received credit if a particular institution was located anywhere in the CMA.

CULTURE – Bonus points.  A city could receive up to 5 points based on the percentage of people employed in arts, culture, recreation and sports.

44 comments on “Best Places to Live 2010: Methodology

  1. Pingback: Best Places to Live 2010 | MoneySense

  2. Your data for Fredericton average home sales price is incorrect. The current CREA website lists this figure at 169190 for March 2010 and 161087 for March 2009. You have this figure listed at 125987 making a huge bias toward Fredericton as a top 10 city.

  3. How the heck does Windsor rank #25??? Highest unemployment…and just a horrible city in the midst of horrible times. Must be the weather…seeing it's worth two or three times as much as far more important factors.

    • The weather IS awesome. 90% of people are still employed. Housing is very affordable. You can be from one end of the city to the other in less than 30 minutes. Cross-border shopping. It's not what everybody thinks it is. Thanks for promoting the negative stereotype though.

  4. Your methodology and data are questionable. What relevance does the % of late model cars have with anything? Cars in much of Canada other than BC rust because of the rough winters. There are noticeably more older cars in BC. Does that make the cities in BC less desirable places to live? I wouldn't think so. Are there really 52 days when the temperature is below 0 Celsius in Victoria?

    As for data, saying there are 1.5 million people within an hours' drive of Moncton is so ludicrous. There's not even 0.75 million people in all of New Brunswick!

  5. Pingback: Canada’s 10 worst places to live | MoneySense

  6. The author of this article should get out of the corner they are in and actually visit the places that they write about. Bay Roberts is quoted as being a city, it's a town. Quoting NL as being part of the Maritimes it's part of the Atlantic provinces. Come on people where do you get your info.

  7. The weighting for the various factors is totally arbitrary and makes no sense. The number of new cars in a community is twice as important as air quality and pollution to determining the liveability of a community? It is easier to bicycle to work in Toronto than in Edmonton or Saskatoon? Far too much emphasis is put on income and wealth. Why are there obvious ommissions – Sherwood Park, Alta a city of 75,000 which would have finished at the top of the list wasn't even considered.

  8. I only reviewed Vancouver and Coquitlam, and the ratings make no sense. Coquitlam is ranked 128th while Vancouver is ranked 29th. However, Coquitlam beats Vancouver in all critical factors that would make a place livable: (1) prosperity: higher household income and lower unemployment rate; (2) affordability: lower average housing price; (3) safety: much much lower crime rate; and (4) health: about the same ratio of doctors per 1000 residents in Coquitlam as in Vancouver.

    • You have got to be kidding. Coquitlam is just a bedroom community and a virtual hole compared to the city of Vancouver. what are you smoking?

  9. The weighting for the various factors is totally arbitrary and makes no sense. The number of new cars in a community is twice as important as air quality and pollution to determining the liveability of a community? It is easier to bicycle to work in Toronto than in Edmonton or Saskatoon? Far too much emphasis is put on income and wealth. Why are there obvious ommissions – Sherwood Park, Alta a city of 75,000 which would have finished at the top of the list wasn't even considered.

  10. Please, "Repentigny"?? "Joliette" ?? These are terrible places to live with nothing to do, no culture, a homogeneous population, I can't think offhand of two places I would like to live less–this list is nonsense.

  11. The parameters of your rankings are heavily skewed towards certain parts of the nation and decidedly AWAY from others. Eighteen points for weather and only three for amenities. Hmmm. I guess we can see why so many BC towns end up at the bottom of the list. But how is that the world sees Vancouver and Victoria as two of the best places to live in the entire world, and the best BC can do is ninth on the MoneySense list?

    Didn't anyone stop to look at your top ten? Fredricton, Moncton, Brandon, Winnipeg. That should have been some sort of 'red flag' for the senior editors! Have you ever even been to these places?

    I grew up in Burlington and moved to BC BECAUSE of the weather. It's so hot and disgustingly humid in Southern Ontario people do not even go outside in the summers! And as a skier, when winter comes to Ontario, who cares anyways?

    Fifty two days below freezing in Victoria? Maybe in the last decade!

    MoneySense? Makes no sense!

  12. The parameters of your rankings are heavily skewed towards certain parts of the nation and decidedly AWAY from others. Eighteen points for weather and only three for amenities. Hmmm. I guess we can see why so many BC towns end up at the bottom of the list. But how is that the world sees Vancouver and Victoria as two of the best places to live in the entire world, and the best BC can do is ninth on the MoneySense list?

    Didn't anyone stop to look at your top ten? Fredricton, Moncton, Brandon, Winnipeg. That should have been some sort of 'red flag' for the senior editors! Have you ever even been to these places?

    I grew up in Burlington and moved to BC BECAUSE of the weather. It's so hot and disgustingly humid in Southern Ontario people do not even go outside in the summers! And as a skier, when winter comes to Ontario, who cares anyways?

    Fifty two days below freezing in Victoria? Maybe in the last decade!

    MoneySense? Makes no sense!

  13. I could compare Campbell River to another community but there's no need to offend good folks in fine communities so I will say the sun is shining, the ocean out front of our door is blue and whitecapped, bald eagles drift across the sky, the forests are dark green and the mountains surrounding us are gleaming with snowcaps set against an azure blue sky. We have dozens of lakes within two hours drive, sandy beaches, shopping, modern infrastructure, generous people, a new hospital coming and one of the vest views in the country. One of the 10 worst places to live in Canada? Yeah, right. Obviously you've got a weird idea of what makes a good life.

  14. This article and ranking system is a joke. I grew up in Bay Roberts, NL and lived there for 25 years before moving to Calgary and then Edmonton. In Edmonton and Calgary you have to put up with bums and gang crime and violent crime thats in the news on a weekly, and monthly basis.

    Bay Roberts is a great small town with friendly people and you can walk the streets in the night time without worrying about getting mugged. I find this article insulting to the people and families of this town and all the other towns that Money Sense has bashed with this horrible inaccurate article and I think an apology to all these towns is warranted.

    What happened to actually researching the facts before an article is made public. Who ever wrote this article should be ashamed for not completely reseaching the facts.

  15. Your methodology doesn't talk about how you determined culture.

  16. This type of journalism is extremely harmful to the good of all. The ranking system is questionable, to whom takes credit for deciding what value set the rest of us has. Best places to live is a personal choice, what is important to some aren't important to others. Some places ranked don't have public transit, where are the points for scenery, serenity and peacefulness. Not much emphasis on air quality ?? New cars , Huh! This is obviously a capatalist article written based on the once again all mighty buck.

  17. Lol love hearing all the BC people moan and complain, its ok you dont always have to be number 1, just come to ottawa, No gang violence violent crime and everyone can speak one of our "official" 2 languages

    • wouldnt want to live in ottawa with the horrible winters.How many times a year do you have to fill your oil tank or how much is your gas bill or your electric bill. At least here everyone speaks to everyone they do not ignore yoou if you do not speak one of the "official" languages

      • I agree. I used to live in Ottawa. the worst place I have ever lived bar none. cold and snowy in winter and hot and hhumid in summer. I now live in Vancouver the 4th best city in the world but the 27th best in Canada. i don't get it.

    • Right on Senator, and don't forget, you can either ride your bike or use the transit system to go to work, the culture and great tourism industry, I miss Ottawa. Stuck in BC and can't wait to get out…

  18. I teach at a University that apparently doessn't exist! I examined one community and found numerous errrors. For instance, Kelowna has both a University (UBCO) and a college (Okanagan); the population is 106,707, not 135,010; the unemployment rate is 4.8% for the city, not 7.1%. I could go on but I think oyu get the point. I noticed that many other people have complained as weel, which leaves 2 questions: how many errors did oyu make and did oyu get any city right?

  19. what would make this survey truly useful is if its online version could be customized.
    examples:
    – maybe my weather preferences are different than the author`s – let me change the points assigned for this.
    – maybe i don`t care about % of late model cars – let me assign 0 points for that.
    If this could be done, the results could become meaningful for people; MoneySense will have produced something a wide number of people could actually use. As it is, it`s simply one magazine`s opinion which, while it will get people riled up & arguing & bring media attention, is only useful as bird cage liner.

  20. Wow! Vancouver is the number 1 city to live in the world but 29th in Canada. Housing prices generally reflect the desire of people to live there. Housing is cheap in places like Brandon because its a dump, not the 7th best city to live in. I've lived and travelled all over Canada and I choose to live in BC because there is no comparison. You may have moneysense in making this list but no commonsense.

  21. Good one, pat. I love central BC and live in one of the towns at the bottom of MoneySense's ridiculous list. What do you expect from a magazine that totally missed the economic meltdown until it bit them on their fat a$$ets?

    Ottawa? You are joking, right? You're not? That's hilarious.

  22. Hey everyone,

    I love reading what everyone has to say about their places in Canada. If I wish to check out cities or towns in the USA I can go to Sperlings Best Places or City guide to get the scoop on stats and opinions of what it is really like to live there. I wish there was a website in Canada that was like either of these so I could find out about where I want to live next in Canada. I spent many soggy years in Vancouver and now am completely priced out of the housing market. I just don't have a cool million for an average house in the city.

    So if there are any websites that anyone knows about where I could find out what people really think about their cities along with vital statistics please let me know. And keep the comments on this website coming cuz I'm listening. Two of my target cities are Saskatoon and Kingston.

  23. Does anyone know from where they derived their data? 1.5 million people within an hour's drive of Moncton is laughable. Wiki (admittedly not the best source, but they used the latest Census data) publishes about 192,000 people within the economic region.

  24. As a resident of Fort McMurray (Wood Buffalo) apparently ranking #1 for income matters less than biking to work? Also, a sizable number of workers here utilizes company provided bussing to and from work (better than public transit)-was that taken into account? While people are biking to work at their $26,000 a year job in nowheresville Ontario or Quebec, I am quite satisfied with an income that affords me a large house and all the toys I want and at least one international vacation a year. While people are trying to enjoy some pathetic folkfest in Edmonton, I'm affluent enough to be listening to Mozart in Vienna or Coldplay in London.

  25. I hope no one really pays much heed to this magazine's ranking for their life decisions. These survey results are extremely questionable. The methodology, while seemingly detailed, has such a bizarre weighting system that it cannot be reflective of anyone's true preferences for a "great city to live in". Weather is more important than employment and crime combined? Why are their so many different categories for essentially the same concept? How do transit, walking, and ownership of new cars relate in terms of making a city great to live in? Is it better if there are more new cars? Hunh? Where is the common sense, let alone sense of responsibility to make this at least somewhat accurate?

    I'd love to see what folks at Mercer and the Economist Intelligence Unit who have been doing similar rankings on a global scale think of these rankings and the methodology. They rate Toronto 16th in the world, and 4th in the world respectively. It's hard to see how the same city ends up 85th in Canada alone.

    EIU: http://www.eiu.com/site_info.asp?info_name=The_Gl
    Mercer: http://www.mercer.com/qualityoflivingpr#City_Rank

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