Nashville, Tennessee is the most American city, or at least it’s the city that most closely matches the rest of the country in terms of demographics, income, the housing market, and a slew of other stats compiled by Richie Bernardo at WalletHub. Without arguing too much about what it really means to ‘resemble the US,’ and the survey no doubt will include some stats that you wouldn’t, it’s striking how well mixed the top and bottom of the list actually is.
Most American City: Breaking down America’s metropolitan areas
To rate the different metropolitan areas, WalletHub first ranked them separately according to socio-demographics, housing, economics and education. The education category is the most straightforward, comparing the highest level of education (high school, bachelors, etc) among people 25 or older against the national averages. Housing checks tenure (the ratio of renters to owners), median housing price ($175,000 – sorry New York), median monthly owner costs, vacancy rates, and the average square footage.
The economic ranking includes income inequality twice, once with the wealth gap (the difference between the top 1% and everyone else), and again by comparing the percentage of people in each income bracket against the national average. It also includes the percent of the population below the poverty line (11.6% nationally), the percent of food stamps, the unemployment rate and the distribution of jobs among different sectors. No doubt you’ve heard by now that unemployment alone doesn’t tell the whole picture, so WalletHub included the rate of part-time jobs per 100 full-time positions, which is a surprising 60.8 per 100 nationally. The economic ranking also compares daily commutes and workday lengths against the national average, though these probably vary less than some of the other stats.
Kansas City comes first in socio-demographic similarity, apparently
When most people think about a city or community ‘resembling America’ the socio-demographic ranking is probably what first springs to mind. In addition to the most obvious characteristics: age, gender balance, and ethnic composition WalletHub decided to include the household makeup (ie how many people live in a home and how they’re related), the percent of foreign born residents, and the percent of people who have health insurance while leaving out a few other big factors like religion and sexual orientation. If that sounds like an odd list to you, WalletHub ranked Kansas City, Missouri as the city with the socio-demographic makeup most like the rest of the country, which probably wasn’t what anyone had in mind.