January 30, 2009 / 3:28 PM / 10 years ago

Denver tops list of preferred American cities

DALLAS (Reuters Life!) - For many Americans, the West is the best.

The Denver skyline is seen in this file photo from August 9, 2002. REUTERS/Robb Williamson MMR

That is among the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center, which found that Denver was the top city when Americans were asked about where they would like to live.

Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati were at the bottom of the list of 30 large metropolitan areas which Americans were asked to rank as places to reside, underscoring the economic woes of the “rust belt” and manufacturing industries including the car-making sector.

Denver was favored by 43 percent of the respondents, followed by San Diego at 40 percent and Seattle at 38 percent.

“Geography matters ... Seven of the public’s 10 most popular big cities — Denver, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento — are in the West, and the other three — Orlando, Tampa and San Antonio — are in the South,” Pew said.

But it noted that the bottom of the urban barrel — Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Minneapolis - was comprised of cities that are all in the Midwest.

Politics and class also played a big role in Americans’ geographical preferences.

The survey found that Republicans were fond of Phoenix, while Democrats were partial to San Francisco, which is well known for its relaxed and liberal atmosphere especially on issues such as gay rights and same sex marriage.

It found that the affluent were twice as likely as their poorer peers to want to live in Boston while young adults were drawn to the bright lights of Los Angeles.

It further found that 46 percent of the Americans surveyed indicated that they would like to live elsewhere, a view that was more pronounced among city than rural residents.

Other highlights included:

- Big Macs trumped tall coffees with extra espresso shots: 43 percent preferred to live in a place with more McDonald’s than one with more Starbucks, which was favored by 35 percent of the respondents.

- About seven-in-ten whites rate their current community as “excellent” or “very good”; only about half of Hispanics and four-in-ten blacks say the same.

- Rural and suburban residents rate their communities better than do residents of cities and small towns.

The results were based on a survey of 2,260 adults, conducted October 3 to 19, 2008.

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