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Movoto’s ‘Kind of a Big Deal’ Lists

Who is Movoto, you might ask? Movoto is an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, CA. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes and CBS News. So we kinda know what we’re talking about.

“Saturday Night Science” at its finest

Saturday Night Scientists

  • We use criteria you would use to argue at a bar
    • Our criteria are not 100 percent scientific (Can you really scientifically distill a hipster down into its base criteria?)
    • However, we strive to make them accurate. Because of this we calculate criterion on a per person, or per square mile, basis to keep all comparisons apples to apples across cities
  • The goal is to spark a discussion about a city
  • We do not look at metro areas
    • For example, you would punch the guy at the bar who said “San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA has the most yoga studios per capita”. But if you said, “Oakland has more theater companies per person than San Francisco”, you are now speaking American

Our Data is Only as Good as Our Sources

  • We try to use authoritative sources when available
  • For fine grained industries, the data from the government doesn’t exist, so we use Yelp and Yellow Pages
    • This biases us against cities without large Yelp or Yellow Pages presence
  • We use Twitter on occasion to look for tweets in a 30-day period
    • This data comes from Topsy.com pro analytics

The Algorithm: How We Determine a City’s Rank

  • After much debate, we line up our selected criteria in a big ole spreadsheet and go data hunting
  • Once all the data is collected, we rank every city in a particular criteria from 1 to N, where 1 is the “best” for that criteria
    • For example: Detroit is the most obese city of the top 50 most populous cities in the country. Therefore, Detroit could rank first for “most obese” or rank 50th for “most in shape”
  • We then determine the average rank for each city across all of the criteria. We call this the “Big Deal Score”. Put differently, “The Big Deal Score” is a weighted average of all of the individual criterion.
  • The city with the lowest “Big Deal Score” is ranked first for that particular list

We Only Look at the Top 30/40/50/100/Etc. Most Populous Cities

Populous Cities

  • Gathering our data becomes too time intensive and expensive to do more than the top 100 most populous cities at the moment
  • We clearly state what subset of cities we looked at in each article
    • We sometimes look at the top 50/100/etc. most populous cities within a state
  • The most populous cities are taken from Wikipedia’s list of most populous cities, which is based on U.S. Census estimates for 2011

Our Top 10 Biggest ‘Kind of A Big Deal’ Lists (Updated 8/1/2013)

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