The Best and Worst Run Cities in America

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In assessing the best- and worst-run cities, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from a number of sources for the 100 largest cities in the country, as measured by population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. We relied on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for income and poverty data, as well as graduation rates, health insurance coverage, and the change in home values between 2008 and 2012. Unemployment rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are 2012 averages. Moody’s Investors Services provided the general obligation debt ratings as of December 23, 2013. Violent crime rates were obtained from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2012. Gross metropolitan product data for 2012 were obtained from the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ report U.S. Metro Economies. Foreclosure rates for the fourth quarter of 2012 were provided by RealtyTrac. Once we reviewed the sources and compiled the final metrics, we ranked each city based on its performance in all the categories. A few cities did not have credit ratings, foreclosure rates, violent crime rates; they were neither rewarded nor penalized for the missing data. All ranks, unless otherwise specified, are for the 100 largest cities. All data, unless otherwise specified, are for the full year 2012. All data represents the city as designated by the census. The exceptions are the Gross Metropolitan Product, which reflects the GMP of the metropolitan statistical area in which the city is located, and foreclosure rates, which are areas designated by RealtyTrac.