Every city offers a variety of services to its residents, but the availability and quality of these services varies widely as not all cities are equally well funded or managed. Demographic research firm WalletHub notes that the best, most livable cities typically spend their public resources relatively efficiently.
WalletHub decided to take a look at how efficiently America’s largest cities spend taxpayer dollars on various public expenditures such as education, law enforcement, and parks and recreation, which led to their recent series of reports on the “Best Run Cities in America.”
In the final installment of the series — 2015’s Best & Worst Run Cities in America — WalletHub ranked 65 large U.S. cities on the three key expenditure categories. The best-run city is one that produces the highest returns on its public-spending.
The state of Texas dominated the 2015 Best Run Cities list with seven of the top ten places.
Methodology for WalletHub’s Best Run Cities List
WalletHub analyzed data from the 65 cities to see how efficiently they spend public funds on education, police, and parks and recreation.
The average return on educational investment and return on police investment are based on the prior studies as part of their Best Run Cities series. The ROI on parks and recreation spending was calculated using this formula:
Parks & Recreation ROI = Total Parkland Acreage within City Limits/Total Parks & Recreation Expenditures
Best run U.S. cities
Lubbock, Texas came in first place on WalletHub’s 2015 Best Run Cities List. The “Hub City” of West Texas ranked 12th in both education adjusted ROI and police adjusted ROI, and came in 20th in parks & recreation ROI. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania came in second on this year’s Best Run Cities list, with a 9th place finish in education adjusted ROI, 23rd in police adjusted ROI, and 10th in parks & recreation ROI. El Paso, Texas was ranked third on the list, with a education adjusted ROI rank of 19th, a police adjusted ROI of 3rd, and 25th overall among the 65 cities in parks & recreation ROI.
Worst run U.S. cities
Riverside, California came in 63rd place (third worst) on WalletHub’s 2015 Best Run Cities List. Riverside was ranked 83rd in education adjusted ROI, 292nd in police adjusted ROI, and 34th in parks & recreation ROI. Long Beach, California was in 64th place (second worst) on the list, with an education adjusted ROI rank of 80th, 103rd in police adjusted ROI, and 54th in parks & recreation ROI. Fremont , California was the worst run city in 2015, with an education adjusted ROI rank of 76th, a police adjusted ROI rank of 107th, and a parks & recreation ROI of 62nd.