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Manliest Cities

America’s Manliest Cities

Step aside men of Motown, Sin City and the Big Apple. Nashville now ranks as the manliest city in America. Mars Snackfood US announced today the release of the “Top 50 Manliest Cities” in the U.S. – a study commissioned by COMBOS® Brand in partnership with Bert Sperling, the research expert behind the popular “Best Places to Live” studies.

Via the “Top 50 Manliest Cities” study, COMBOS® – the hearty, pretzel and cracker snack made with real cheese – examines what makes a city manly and ranks 50 major metropolitan areas using criteria such as number of professional sports teams, popularity of power tools and frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities also lose ranking points for emasculating characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscription rates to beauty magazines.

The Combos® brand understands that men take great pride in their hometowns. This fact, along with Combos’ positioning as the experts on all things manly, spurred the idea for a formal study on the manliest cities in America – specifically, “America’s Manliest Cities.” The “America’s Manliest Cities” study is a fun way to let the men of America know exactly where they stand against their brethren coast-to-coast.

The study was commissioned with Sperling’s BestPlaces during the first quarter of 2009. Founded by Bert Sperling, Sperling’s BestPlaces was the ideal partner for the Combos “America’s Manliest Cities” study. For more than 20 years, Sperling’s BestPlaces has been analyzing data and providing insight about people and places, ranking and rating them for major publications and media outlets. Sperling’s BestPlaces is known for providing a high level of accurate, up-to-date information in a useful and entertaining format.

Manly Study Highlights

  • Nashville is the Mecca of manliness. With its high number of NASCAR enthusiasts, popularity of hunting and fishing and concentration of BBQ restaurants, the Music City stands alone atop the mountain of manliness.
  • Despite high ratings in the “bowling” category, New York City ranks 50th out of 50 in the study due to low scores in manly indicators such as “fishing,” “home improvement” and “drag racing.”
  • If you’re in the Midwest and looking to enjoy a game with a cold beverage, look no farther than St. Louis, which has the highest concentration of sports bars in the country.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich. has more monster truck rallies, per capita, than any other U.S. city.
  • Philadelphia and Chicago, with low scores in the “hunting” category fail to crack the top 25 (ranked 30th and 46th respectively).
  • The men of Oklahoma City know how to snack with gusto. Their city owns the highest purchase rate of salty snacks, such as COMBOS®.
  • Got chainsaws? What about hammers and power drills? The men of New Orleans do. The “Big Easy” boasts more hardware stores per capita than any other U.S. city.

Rankings for "America's Manliest Cities"

  1. Nashville, TN
  2. Charlotte, NC
  3. Oklahoma City, OK
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. Denver, CO
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Columbus, OH
  8. Kansas City, MO
  9. Indianapolis, IN
  10. Toledo, OH
  11. Memphis, TN
  12. Richmond, VA
  13. Columbia, SC
  14. Orlando, FL
  15. Dayton, OH
  16. Salt Lake City, UT
  17. Milwaukee, WI
  18. Minneapolis, MN
  19. Cleveland, OH
  20. Detroit, MI
  21. Jacksonville, FL
  22. Phoenix, AZ
  23. Birmingham, AL
  24. Grand Rapids, MI
  25. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  1. Harrisburg, PA
  2. New Orleans, LA
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Pittsburgh, PA
  5. Philadelphia, PA
  6. Louisville, KY
  7. Atlanta, GA
  8. Providence, RI
  9. Dallas, TX
  10. Buffalo, NY
  11. Rochester, NY
  12. Baltimore, MD
  13. Boston, MA
  14. Houston, TX
  15. Seattle, WA
  16. Sacramento, CA
  17. Miami, FL
  18. San Diego, CA
  19. Oakland, CA
  20. Washington, D.C.
  21. Chicago, IL
  22. Portland, OR
  23. San Francisco, CA
  24. Los Angeles, CA
  25. New York, NY

Methodology and Criteria for Determining "America's Manliest Cities"

The rankings were determined using 50 of the largest metropolitan areas as defined by the United States Census Bureau, which includes a central city and the surrounding county (or counties). All data was adjusted by the current population to arrive at ‘per capita’ figures, providing an accurate comparison between cities of varying sizes.

Each metro area in the study received points for each of the criteria based on its relation to the other cities’ scores in that data category. To maintain consistency throughout the study, the most significant data element for any given category (that which implies the conditions most conducive or indicative of “manliness”) received a score of 100 points. The data element for any given category that is associated with the least amount of “manliness” received a score of 0 points.

The remaining cities were assigned point values between 0 and 100 based on their data elements’ 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 “Manliest Cities” index for each metro area.

Manly Categories / Criteria*

Below are the broader categories on which each city’s manliness was measured along with a brief description of the criteria that went into each category.

Sports --- In addition to the number of professional major league sports teams in a city (football, baseball, basketball and hockey), the number of nearby NASCAR tracks and events, NHRA events, local drag racing strips, monster truck events and triathlons/marathons were analyzed.

Manly Lifestyle --- Various consumer behaviors in each city were analyzed, such as the number of US-made cars and full-size pickups registered in the city, membership in motorcycle owner groups, sports TV viewing, bowling, fishing, hunting, woodworking and home improvement work.

Concentration of Manly Retail Stores --- The number of manly stores and businesses were evaluated for each city, including BBQ and chicken wing restaurants, steak houses and sports bars, sportsman stores, general hardware and home improvement stores.

Manly Magazine Subscriptions --- The percentage of households subscribing to manly publications were analyzed. Examples of manly publications include Sports Illustrated, Car & Driver, Maxim, Playboy, Men’s Health, Popular Mechanics, Boating, etc.

Salty Snack Sales --- Total sales for the “Salty Snack/Cracker” retail category were measured for each city. Combos is a product in this business category.

Manly “Kryptonite” Category / Emasculating Criteria*

Cities also lost points for an overabundance of emasculating criteria – factors that reduced a city’s manliness rating. These criteria were derived out of some of the “manly” categories above, but were the opposite of manly.

  • Lifestyle --- The number of minivans and foreign cars that were registered in the city was measured. The more of these types of vehicles, the less manly a city was rated.



  • Concentration of Retail Stores --- The number of home furnishing and décor stores, cafés/coffee shops, sushi restaurants and “modern” male apparel stores was analyzed in each city and cities with higher concentrations of these stores lost rating points.



  • Magazine Subscriptions --- The percentage of households with subscriptions to unmanly publications was analyzed. Examples of these publications include Martha Stewart Living, O-Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Bon Appétit, Real Simple, Vogue, etc.



*For rankings broken out for each of the categories, please see below.


COMBOS® – the hearty, pretzel and cracker snack made with real cheese – is the “Official Cheese-Filled Snack of NASCAR.” Mars Snackfood US is the United States snack operations of Mars North America. With more than $7 billion in annual sales in the United States, Mars North America includes food, snack and pet care segments, which are a symbol of excellence for quality brands. Headquartered in Mount Olive, N.J., Mars North America employs more than 12,000 associates in the United States, with 54 facilities nationwide.

Additional Category Rankings for "America's Manliest Cities"


  1. Charlotte, NC
  2. Indianapolis, IN
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Richmond, VA
  7. Milwaukee, WI
  8. Oklahoma City, OK
  9. Orlando, FL
  10. Nashville, TN
  11. Columbus, OH
  12. Buffalo, NY
  13. Boston, MA
  14. Miami, FL
  15. Cincinnati, OH
  16. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  17. Cleveland, OH
  18. Salt Lake City, UT
  19. St. Louis, MO
  20. New Orleans, LA
  21. Phoenix, AZ
  22. Jacksonville, FL
  23. Dayton, OH
  24. Kansas City, MO
  25. Minneapolis, MN
  1. Columbia, SC
  2. Baltimore, MD
  3. Oakland, CA
  4. Dallas, TX
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Pittsburgh, PA
  7. Harrisburg, PA
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Rochester, NY
  11. Toledo, OH
  12. Atlanta, GA
  13. Birmingham, AL
  14. Las Vegas, NV
  15. Houston, TX
  16. Grand Rapids, MI
  17. Seattle, WA
  18. San Diego, CA
  19. Providence, RI
  20. Louisville, KY
  21. Chicago, IL
  22. Sacramento, CA
  23. Los Angeles, CA
  24. Portland, OR
  25. New York, NY


  1. Oklahoma City, OK
  2. Nashville, TN
  3. Toledo, OH
  4. Columbia, SC
  5. Memphis, TN
  6. Grand Rapids, MI
  7. Charlotte, NC
  8. Cincinnati, OH
  9. Salt Lake City, UT
  10. Louisville, KY
  11. Birmingham, AL
  12. Providence, RI
  13. Dayton, OH
  14. Pittsburgh, PA
  15. St. Louis, MO
  16. Cleveland, OH
  17. Indianapolis, IN
  18. Richmond, VA
  19. Columbus, OH
  20. Atlanta, GA
  21. Philadelphia, PA
  22. Kansas City, MO
  23. Jacksonville, FL
  24. Portland, OR
  25. Las Vegas, NV
  1. Milwaukee, WI
  2. New Orleans, LA
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. Harrisburg, PA
  5. Phoenix, AZ
  6. Minneapolis, MN
  7. Houston, TX
  8. Dallas, TX
  9. Sacramento, CA
  10. Detroit, MI
  11. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  12. Denver, CO
  13. Baltimore, MD
  14. Seattle, WA
  15. Miami, FL
  16. Rochester, NY
  17. Chicago, IL
  18. San Diego, CA
  19. Oakland, CA
  20. Washington, D.C.
  21. Buffalo, NY
  22. San Francisco, CA
  23. Los Angeles, CA
  24. Boston, MA
  25. New York, NY


  1. Nashville, TN
  2. Jacksonville, FL
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. Birmingham, AL
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. Denver, CO
  7. Toledo, OH
  8. Charlotte, NC
  9. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  10. Columbia, SC
  11. St. Louis, MO
  12. Kansas City, MO
  13. Atlanta, GA
  14. Dallas, TX
  15. Oklahoma City, OK
  16. Houston, TX
  17. Memphis, TN
  18. Richmond, VA
  19. Cincinnati, OH
  20. Phoenix, AZ
  21. Milwaukee, WI
  22. Minneapolis, MN
  23. Indianapolis, IN
  24. Louisville, KY
  25. Cleveland, OH
  1. Las Vegas, NV
  2. Buffalo, NY
  3. Columbus, OH
  4. Providence, RI
  5. Dayton, OH
  6. Harrisburg, PA
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Grand Rapids, MI
  9. Portland, OR
  10. Sacramento, CA
  11. Pittsburgh, PA
  12. Rochester, NY
  13. Philadelphia, PA
  14. Baltimore, MD
  15. Boston, MA
  16. Chicago, IL
  17. Miami, FL
  18. San Diego, CA
  19. Oakland, CA
  20. Salt Lake City, UT
  21. Washington, D.C.
  22. Detroit, MI
  23. San Francisco, CA
  24. Los Angeles, CA
  25. New York, NY


  1. Harrisburg, PA
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Columbus, OH
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Salt Lake City, UT
  9. Detroit, MI
  10. Seattle, WA
  11. Sacramento, CA
  12. Chicago, IL
  13. Rochester, NY
  14. Washington, D.C.
  15. Grand Rapids, MI
  16. Philadelphia, PA
  17. Baltimore, MD
  18. Boston, MA
  19. Phoenix, AZ
  20. Oakland, CA
  21. St. Louis, MO
  22. San Francisco, CA
  23. Cincinnati, OH
  24. Charlotte, NC
  25. Dayton, OH
  1. Indianapolis, IN
  2. Richmond, VA
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Toledo, OH
  5. Orlando, FL
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. Milwaukee, WI
  8. Providence, RI
  9. Pittsburgh, PA
  10. Buffalo, NY
  11. Atlanta, GA
  12. New York, NY
  13. Cleveland, OH
  14. Dallas, TX
  15. Portland, OR
  16. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  17. Miami, FL
  18. Oklahoma City, OK
  19. Louisville, KY
  20. Jacksonville, FL
  21. Columbia, SC
  22. Birmingham, AL
  23. Memphis, TN
  24. Houston, TX
  25. New Orleans, LA


  1. Oklahoma City, OK
  2. Birmingham, AL
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Phoenix, AZ
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. Charlotte, NC
  8. Columbia, SC
  9. Grand Rapids, MI
  10. Buffalo, NY
  11. Rochester, NY
  12. Detroit, MI
  13. Milwaukee, WI
  14. Las Vegas, NV
  15. Richmond, VA
  16. St. Louis, MO
  17. Kansas City, MO
  18. Houston, TX
  19. Louisville, KY
  20. Salt Lake City, UT
  21. Baltimore, MD
  22. Dallas, TX
  23. New Orleans, LA
  24. Washington, D.C.
  25. Cincinnati, OH
  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Toledo, OH
  3. Harrisburg, PA
  4. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  5. Dayton, OH
  6. Pittsburgh, PA
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Portland, OR
  9. Indianapolis, IN
  10. Columbus, OH
  11. Jacksonville, FL
  12. Providence, RI
  13. Orlando, FL
  14. Cleveland, OH
  15. Boston, MA
  16. San Diego, CA
  17. Los Angeles, CA
  18. Atlanta, GA
  19. Chicago, IL
  20. Seattle, WA
  21. Oakland, CA
  22. Sacramento, CA
  23. San Francisco, CA
  24. Miami, FL
  25. New York, NY


For this category, cities ranked highest were docked the most points for having fewer masculine characteristics in their metro areas. Thus, San Francisco was ranked first and got the highest penalty for having the most unmanly factors in its metro area.

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Oakland, CA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Minneapolis, MN
  11. Atlanta, GA
  12. Sacramento, CA
  13. Portland, OR
  14. New York, NY
  15. Orlando, FL
  16. Las Vegas, NV
  17. Baltimore, MD
  18. Salt Lake City, UT
  19. Harrisburg, PA
  20. Miami, FL
  21. Philadelphia, PA
  22. Dallas, TX
  23. Charlotte, NC
  24. Phoenix, AZ
  25. Richmond, VA
  1. Columbus, OH
  2. Kansas City, MO
  3. Milwaukee, WI
  4. Jacksonville, FL
  5. Providence, RI
  6. Buffalo, NY
  7. Grand Rapids, MI
  8. New Orleans, LA
  9. Indianapolis, IN
  10. Houston, TX
  11. St. Louis, MO
  12. Rochester, NY
  13. Nashville, TN
  14. Pittsburgh, PA
  15. Cleveland, OH
  16. Detroit, MI
  17. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  18. Birmingham, AL
  19. Cincinnati, OH
  20. Dayton, OH
  21. Memphis, TN
  22. Louisville, KY
  23. Toledo, OH
  24. Columbia, SC
  25. Oklahoma City, OK


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