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Back in 2008, a Website called Stuff White People Like broke the Internet. If you can’t remember that far back in Internet time (it was the technological equivalent of the Dark Ages, after all), let the bloggers at Movoto Real Estate explain: SWPL is a blog–now a book–that pokes fun at white people. Well, not all white people. More specifically, it mocks stereotypes; in this case, the stereotype would be liberal-arts-educated new-bohemian culture.
When it comes to mocking things, we’re big fans. That’s why we decided to get into the act and find out which cities white people like the most, using SWPL’s own posts as criteria. So, which city is it? It should come as no surprise that we crowned Portland, OR, the American city white people like the most. Still, it was no cakewalk for Portland. Here are the top 10 cities white people like:
How did Portland make it’s way to the top of the list? And seriously, is there really that much of a difference between St. Paul and Minneapolis? Grab a cup of your favorite $5 coffee or tea and strap on your bike helmet, because we’re going to take a tour of the cities white people like. First, though, here’s how we came up with our list.
How Did We Do It?
Our first stop in finding what cities white people like was taking the 138 posts on SWPL and figuring out which we could theoretically measure. Of these 138 posts, we excluded media (goodbye “My So Called Life”) and people. We then combed the list again and winnowed down our criteria to 27 things.
Here are the criteria we chose:
Armed with our criteria, we figured out how to measure each. We came up with this, most of which are on a per capita basis:
Once we knew how to measure each city, we took to the Internet, relying on Yelp, Census data, and pretty much anything we could find to start adding numbers to our spreadsheet. We then ranked each city from one to 100, with one being the best, across each criterion. After this, we took each city’s average score for all criteria. The city with the lowest average, Portland, was crowned the winner. If you want to see how your city ranked (if it’s one of the 100 most populous in the country), jump to the bottom of the post to find a detailed chart.
1. Portland, OR
When we saw that Portland topped our list, we knew we weren’t making stuff up. After all, Portland is skewered on a regular basis for just how bonkers the place is. You don’t need to look any further than “Portlandia” to see this. But why did the City of Roses rank as the city white people like the most–dare we say the city white people love the most? How about its collection of Whole Foods Markets, Patagonias, soccer teams, and delicious Asian fusion food? To be fair, the city also ranked well for its number of farmers’ markets.
2. San Francisco, CA
Again, we knew we weren’t fooling around when the City By the Bay took our No. 2 spot. SF has all the makings of a white person darling. Let us count the ways: International film festivals, a high percentage of working professionals, record shops (pretty much on every corner), and Whole Food Markets. Also, let us not forget that Apple is in this city’s backyard.
3. St. Paul, MN
The first of the Twin Cities on our top 10 list, St. Paul handily beat out its counterpart Minneapolis. Though to be honest, with both St. Paul and Minneapolis in our top 10, this Minnesota area might be the place white people like the most. Unfortunately, we didn’t do a deep dive into metropolitan areas, and instead stuck with cities. So, what gave St. Paul its Caucasian character? Of the multitude of criteria we ran through our spreadsheets St. Paul ranked well for tea shops, places to purchase outdoor wear, and theaters.
How could it have jumped up our list? St. Paul could be more marijuana friendly. According to an analysis of the Highest Cities In America, a blog post we ran last month, St. Paul took No. 62 spot. Additionally, the city could bring in more Apple stores to sate everyone’s tech hunger. Other than tech, the city could work on wooing the American National Rugby League to bring in some talent. And, yes, we are aware of the The Jazz Pigs, which we have the utmost respect for.
4. Jersey City, NJ
Just a stone’s through away from the Big Apple, Jersey City managed to sneak into our top five thanks to its bike shops, breakfast joints, sushi, plays, and record shops (surprisingly more than SF’s vinyl scene).
Where did Jersey City stumble, you know, other than being in New Jersey? There’s no Ivy League university here, which, honestly, isn’t such a bad thing, but it does have a surprising number of places to pick up some Ed Hardy gear–and that, friends, is not stuff white people like. The city also needs more rugby (where’s your rugby team JC? Tell us!) and Asian fusion joints.
5. Irvine, CA
To explain why Irvine made our list, we’ll just tell you what we imagine a lazy Saturday is like in Irvine. Our imagined Irvine resident wakes up and rides their bike (probably a fixed gear, but we aren’t judging) to a secret breakfast spot. After wolfing down a pile of organic scrambled eggs, our hero smokes a little (not cigarettes) and wanders off to snoop through the local record shops for something by an obscure Soul singer. Finally, after securing a record by Baby Washington (go ahead look her up, we’ll wait), our intrepid Irviner/Irvinite splits some sushi with a friend.
It might sound like we’re mocking Irving, but let us soothe your troubled soul: This imagined day in Irvine sounds amazing. If most of us didn’t already live in San Francisco, we’d definitely check this place out.
6. Seattle, WA
Oh, how white people like you, Seattle! Let us count the ways. You have soccer and roller derby and you love getting high. You have lots of record shops and Whole Foods Markets. But like a nagging lover, we do protest on some accounts: If you were truly ambitious, Seattle, if you really wanted to be the most liked city on this list, you’ll need to ditch the Ed Hardy, bring in a semi-pro rugby team, and start drinking more vino. Or you could somehow force the Ivy League to accept UDub as a member. That would definitely shoot you up the list.
7. Washington, D.C.
Why does the pale brigade like Washington, D.C.? Bring on soccer, farmers’ markets, and divorce. The land of politicos is home to D.C. United, meaning our nation’s capitol is open to the idea of soccer; it brought home a second place win (probably in a canvas tote) for farmers’ markets; and finally, 35 percent of the population have tied the knot with a loved one and then decided they hated each other.
So, how could Washington, D.C. fare better? First, all those poll hound Belters looking to keep in office should recognize the Movoto blog has a finger on America’s pulse. Seriously, we’re the Super Pac of Novelty Real Estate. Secondly, step up marijuana support, as it ranked a sad No. 72 on our list of the highest cities in America. Aside from this, D.C. could bring in more tattoo shops and roller derby teams.
8. Minneapolis, MN
Now we finally come to the second of the Twin Cities. At least you made the top 10, Minneapolis. While not as well liked as St. Paul–at least by white people–Minneapolis is still a happening place; that is if you like Asian fusion, farmers’ markets, and divorce. But if you’re from the area, you already know this. You want to know how you can move up the list. For one, you can get your own international film festival instead of sharing it. Twins don’t have to do everything together.
9. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, you are like the friend who always comes to the party. It just wouldn’t be the same without you. Movoto has been creating rankings for a year now, and Atlanta always pops up. We’re beginning to think you’re the most well guarded secret in America. Unfortunately, we just let the cat out of the bag.
How did Atlanta make its way to the No. 9 spot? There’s a large percentage of the population who are divorced, as well as a good chunk of residents with graduate degrees (probably in the humanities). Let’s not forget its international film festivals and its sprinkling of Whole Foods Markets. If Atlanta wanted to move up our list, we have some pointers: bring in a rugby team, build some tea shops, and legally support Mary Jane.
10. Glendale, CA
Ever heard of Glendale? It’s a city near Los Angeles, meaning its essentially a suburb–and we all know white people love suburbs. Still, we didn’t actually factor that into our ranking; it’s just an aside. What helped Glendale squeeze into the No. 10 spot? People in this city like to bike to their favorite Asian fusion locale pretty much every day (we’re exaggerating; every other day). Keep on peddling, Glendale!
Conclusions Are Also Something White People Like
In conclusion, as San Franciscans, we were outraged that we’re on this list. Then we took a look around and realized that the data is right. Well, at least we’re not from Portland. Seriously though, thanks for being the butt of our joke, Portlanders–and apparently everyone else’s too.
Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is a national online real estate brokerage. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes, CBS News, and The New York Times.