No way, San Jose: City falls to 17th best place to live

Last year, U.S. News & World Report touted San Jose as the third-best place to live in the country. So it was a healthy shock to see that this in this year’s rankings, the capital of Silicon Valley had plummeted to No. 17.

Seventeen? Really?

Given that all these types of rankings must be taken with a shaker of salt, it’s not really the placement that bugs me. Any list that ranks New Orleans as the 111th best place to live clearly has its priorities well out of whack. Let’s face it, San Jose would have been thrilled with being No. 17 about a decade ago. We would have put it on billboards and ordered new stationery. For reasons I’ll get to, being 17th might be generous.

No, it’s the precipitous drop from No. 3 to 17 that surprises me. That’s a 14-spot fall in 365 days. Were things that much worse than last year? San Francisco fell, too, but just by four spots from 16th to 20th, which is, you know, lower than 17th. San Jose remains the top ranked city in California by U.S. News. (Boston fared even worse, dropping from eighth to 25th, but that’s easily explained in three words: Tom Brady Fail.)

So I went fishing on Facebook for some answers. Where had San Jose gone astray?

Many people took the question more seriously than it was intended and replied with the issues we’ve all become familiar with: Housing prices exploding due to over-inflated “values”; traffic forcing people to spend a third of their waking hours on dilapidated roads stuffed with better looking cars; our increasing homeless population exacerbated by — wait for it — the crazy housing market.

These all are challenges that make San Jose an increasingly difficult place to live — as I said, 17th could be considered generous. But as bad as our housing and traffic problems are right now, they’ve been around for years. Housing prices weren’t that much better last year, and if traffic wasn’t a constant issue, my colleague Gary Richards wouldn’t have been answering your questions as Mr. Roadshow for the past quarter century.

But what happened in the past year that made San Jose so much less desirable? U.S. News’ methodology ranks cities based on job market, quality of life, desirability and value. San Jose’s big negative was — no surprise — “value” because

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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