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Is Connecticut the Best State to Live In?
(04-02-2021, 01:22 PM)Anthony Wrote: Doesn't North Dakota have the lowest housing costs, and the lowest crime rate?

Those are valid criteria. Apparently education gets above-average results. There's hardly any surprise, as there are few distractions to learning. Playing hooky in the winter obviously offers little attraction. One might as well attend school for the lack of anything else to do. As I recall, the average credit score in North Dakota is high by US standards, an indication that such work as one can get offers an adequate income for meeting the necessities of life. You may think that most poor credit scores are the result of people going too deeply in debt on retail binges, but such more often indicates that one has trouble meeting costs of utilities, insurance, taxes, and rent. A bad credit score from living beyond one's means is one thing; a bad credit score from struggling for the means of survival because one is underpaid or has unsteady work is another.  The lowest average credit scores were in such economic nightmares as Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama... credit scores say much more about economic realities for people than do income or the cost of living. Even in one state the disparities between earnings and cost of living can be stark. New York City is infamously expensive, and Rochester is cheap. Rochester used to be a great place to live when it had a great number of high-paying big businesses -- but that is over. 

Now for some more subjective realities: North Dakota has a brutal climate. It has summer temperatures characteristic almost of Dallas (which has a hot desert feel most of the year but adequate rainfall from deluges that might come two weeks apart) and "Russian winters". Add to this, much of North Dakota has nothing to do that one can't do anywhere else. It might be adequate if one relies upon civic or fraternal organizations, or religious activity as wholly adequate in life, but if you want something other than that you are in tough luck. 

The objective criteria do not include such things as ethnic mix (if one is not white one could be very lonely in most of North Dakota), climate (from what I know. San Diego is perfect... OK, there are objective criteria that tell that some places are miserable or even dangerous places for climate, with such places as the summit Mount Washington in New Hampshire (strong winds with the potential for sub-freezing temperatures at any time of the year... and the valley bottom of Death Valley, which has achieved some of the highest summer temperatures and in which one can easily die of sunstroke and dehydration. Those extremes are dangerous. Arctic, high mountain (example: Yellowstone National Park) and desert locations are toward the bottom of Places Rated's rankings of places  as horrible places to live. For places not in high altitudes, Arctic locations, or extreme locations, I recall a scathing review of Waterloo, Iowa.  Just take a look at this climate chart:

[Image: climate-graph-400.png]

Ok, so if there isn't much to do in Waterloo, and the scenery is monotonous, then at least the seasonal weather gives four distinct seasons. Blizzards and severe thunderstorms are exhilarating if such is your taste. Yes, it is Tornado Alley, which is what one would expect where sharp cold fronts can separate air masses that originate in the Arctic regions from warm, very moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Spring floods are common as the ice melts. Despite being well inland, it is not a sunny place. 

Temperatures extremes are severe. Waterloo has a -4 F record and a 100F temperature record -- in April alone. OK, those are freakish circumstances, but you can on the average expect the temperatures to dip to an average of 19 F some time in April and reach 83 F at some time in April. You can get frostbite and heatstroke in the same month in Waterloo. 83F may not sound bad, but if it comes just after the end of a long stretch of winter weather and you are ill-prepared, it can be dangerous. Summers are hot, but it is definitely not a "dry heat". You will swelter, and air conditioning will be nice to have. OK, so what is so great about the environment? There are no bears, moose, Big Cats, or alligators, and there are no tropical diseases. The only dangerous animals are dogs and rattlers (if you do something stupid) and of course fellow humans. On the latter -- Waterloo isn't Baltimore.  

It is safe to assume that nobody moves to Waterloo, or for that matter, anywhere else in Iowa, for the climate. Dfa climates (at least one sub-freezing month, at least three months with average temperatures at or above  10C (50F) -- Waterloo has six such months -- and at least one month with an average temperature of at least 22C (about 72F) -- Waterloo has three such months -- with no real dry season. Waterloo fits that description very well. It's the sort of place people stay only if they have compelling reasons to stay, such as work or family ties.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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