Last month Virginia Business magazine reported Virginia Beach, Alexandria, and Chesapeake had made the list of “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live” by 24/7 Wall St. They started with cities having more than 65,000 residents from the 2012 U.S. Census. The rankings were based on employment, crime, education, economy, climate, housing affordability, and infrastructure (leisure activities, airports, hospitals, and transportation). Cities whose unemployment was more than 33% above the 2013 national rate and violent crimes at least 25% higher than the 2012 national rate (from FBI data) were eliminated.
Chesapeake ranked 48 with the better of the three in economy – median income ($65,000), and lowest cost of living. Surprisingly, violent physical crime is double from the other two cities. Employers like Altec, Canon, and Dollar Tree are headquartered here helping to keep unemployment well below the national average.
Alexandria, ranked 43, boasts the higher rate of educational attainment (63.9% have at least a BA) and the lowest unemployment. Despite expensive living, with housing being more than double the median for the rest of Virginia, the infrastructure ranked slightly better, due to the high use of public transportation (22.7%).
Virginia Beach was ranked the highest of the three coming in at 37 with higher educational scores (Math, Language Arts, Science and overall) and more leisure activities. While overall crime is low, car theft is higher here than in the other two cities. Unemployment is also low with a large presence of military branches employing civilians.
And, in case you are curious, ranking number one is Newton, Massachusetts.