This study was conducted by Bert Sperling. The 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) were chosen to be included in the study, as defined by the United State Census Bureau. For the purpose of this study, MSAs are referred to as "cities" or "metro areas." The 2003 estimated population was used to determine the most populous 50 places. The study was based on the following criteria:
The Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) included in the study received points for each of the 50 criteria based on their relation to the other MSAs' scores in that data category. To compare categories, the most significant data element for any given category received a score of 100 points. The data element for each category which was associated with the most negative indicator of health received a score of 0 points. The remaining cities were assigned point values between 0 and 100 based on their data element's percentage of the range between the most desirable score in that category and the least desirable score in that category. In this way, the point values assigned to cities preserve the proportionality of the data points in relation to the data set while providing a common point scale. Category scores were weighted and aggregated to determine an overall Healthy City score for each metro area.
All the areas in the study refer to the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as defined by the Bureau of the Census. MSAs include one or more central city and its surrounding counties.
About Sperling's Best Places
For over 16 years, Bert Sperling has been analyzing data about people and places and rating them for major publications. Sperling's concepts and methodology have been the basis of numerous studies since 1985, when he developed a software program named "Places, U.S.A." that allowed people to enter their personal preferences to find their own best place. Today, his company, Fast Forward, Inc. (the producer of BestPlaces.net) is responsible for more "Best Places" studies and projects than any other organization. His Web site, BestPlaces.net, provides accurate and up-to-date information about demographics, preferences, and the selection of "Best Places" to live, work, or retire, in a useful and entertaining format.
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