Over the last few days I've noticed quite a bit of buzz about a recent blog post on a real estate website called "These Are The 10 Snobbiest Mid-Sized Cities in America." The reason people have been sharing the post is that Thousand Oaks is ranked #2 on the list.
Huh? Snobby? I feel compelled to respond.
How do they define snobby? According to Merriam Webster online, a snob "is someone who tends to criticize, reject, or ignore people who come from a lower social class, have less education, etc."
But how do you actually measure this in order to to determine which cities are the "snobbiest?" The blogger chooses eight "sorts of things snobs would like." She decides that a city is snobbier if residents have higher incomes, higher home prices, more education, private schools, art galleries, performing arts and country clubs and less fast food eateries per capita.
Talk about arbitrary.
She looks at these factors only "for 100 mid-sized cities." Why just 100 cities? What is mid-sized? 50,000 people? 100,000? She doesn't say. Given there are well over 9,000 cities in the U.S., limiting yourself to just 100 is also arbitrary. From what I could gather, the 100 cities are roughly in the range of 125,000 to 210,000 residents. That leaves out cities like Beverly Hills, Calabasas and Santa Barbara. And well over 9,000 other cities.
If I were measuring snobbyness, a survey of residents would be in order. This blogger did no such thing. Fast food restaurants? Somehow out of the 100 cities on the list, Thousand Oaks ranked 16th lowest in terms of fast food eateries per capita. But the underlying data from "the 2010 Census" is not provided. I can count at least 50 fast food places in the Conejo Valley. I'd love to see her underlying data. Heck, we've got 3 McDonald's,10 Subways, 2 Chick-fil-A's. How is that snobby?
And how could a city with both a Chuck E Cheese's and a Hooters be the 2nd snobbiest city?
Each of the eight factors are equally ranked. Thousand Oaks ranked 3rd out of 100 in median home price and household income. Yes, it costs a lot to live here in paradise, which means we need to earn more to pay for it. Does that make us snobbier? Fully 25% of the ranking is based on these two factors. Six of the "top 10" cities on this "snobbiest" list are in California...largely because, yes, it costs more to live here. Does that make us snobby?
One of the 8 factors is "country clubs per capita." Sheesh, most people I know have never been to the Sherwood Country Club or North Ranch Country Club. Yet we are called snobby because they are situated here.
And of course we are ranked 8th lowest in terms of percentage of residents with college degrees. Obviously more education equals snobby, right? Most college graduates I know show no signs of snobbyness. Heck, I don't think I became a snob, or snobbier, when I received my master's degree. Or maybe I did!? Hmm, I'll have to ponder that as I look for my Grey Poupon.
Movoto is a real estate website that generates traffic with nonsense posts like this one. The fact that I'm writing about it means they are doing a great job at attracting attention.