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Issue Date: July 2011


At This Rate

ESPN's Power Rankings. Men's Health's Metrogrades. Forbes' Most Miserable Cities. As media, we love rankings — because as readers, we love rankings, a piece of solid footing in an otherwise shaky world.

Yes, there is something incredibly satisfying about knowing the Worldwide Leader in Sports believes the Indians are the third most powerful team in the major leagues (even though they were one slot better the week before, then proceeded to lose five of their next six).

Or that our town is among America's top fun cities (No. 23), according to Portfolio.com, thanks to our plethora of low-impact sports (golf, bowling and boating); food and dining options; and ski slopes, rec centers and fitness facilities. (Just imagine how well we'll finish once the casino opens, as we currently come up snake eyes for gambling.)

It is even oddly fulfilling to realize that Cleveland is among the worst places in the country to be a man (No. 89 of 100), according to Men's Health. Such white-gloved slaps in the face of our reputation make us heartier, more able to overcome in our everyday struggles — which include the endless online lists by Forbes.com.

If those troubles aren't enough, Men's Health points out that we have other, more pressing problems: dead last in median household income, next to last in number of bachelor's degrees, bottom five for housing appreciation and number of fitness centers (even though Portfolio.com said we did well in that area, but whatever). At least we rate in the top 15 in cost of living, availability of single women (but does that make it worse to be a woman in Cleveland?), air quality (although the American Lung Association may have something to say about that), and doctors (because it appears we need lots of them).

Portfolio.com would also like to remind us that this is a bad place to be young (ahead of only Detroit for best labor markets for young adults), or run a small business (No. 94 of 100, with Detroit last again), or use our brains (No. 99 of 200).

So, here's my advice as you read this month's "How We Rate" and ponder your place in the world: Sometimes how we rate depends on who you ask, so have some fun with it, whether you're a man, single woman, young person, magazine editor ... or resident of Detroit.


Steve Gleydura
gleydura@clevelandmagazine.com

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