West Hollywood sits almost in the bottom third of the 2019 “Best Small Cities in America” ranking compiled by WalletHub, the personal finance website. The primary reasons for the relatively low ranking are the high cost of living here and the level of crime.
West Hollywood’s position in the 34th percentile places it with 13 other cities including Decatur, Ill., Freemont, Neb., and California’s Upland, Lawndale and Santa Paula. The 19 highest-ranking cities (in the 99th percentile) include Princeton, N.J., Needham, Mass., and Leesburg, Va.
WalletHub’s ranking is from a compilation of data in five categories – affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life, and safety – and covers more than 1,200 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. Here are the categories and how West Hollywood ranked in each:
West Hollywood ranked 1,265 among the 1,268 cities studied in the Affordability category. Data used for that category included Median Household Income, Cost of Living, Homeownership Rate, Housing Costs (including Median Home Price / Median Annual Household Income and Median Annual Gross Rent / Median Annual Household Income, Share of Households with Severe Housing Costs. Beverly Hills, our next-door neighbor, ranked 1,261. Culver City ranked 1,182, and South Pasadena ranked 1,217. The most affordable small city in America was Wildwood, Mo.
West Hollywood had a high ranking of 142 among the 1,268 cities in the study, putting it almost in the top 10 percent. Metrics included Population Growth, Income Growth, Job Growth, Unemployment Rate, Share of Population Living in Poverty, Debt per Median Earnings, Foreclosure Rate, Share of People Who Had a Bankruptcy in the Past 12 Months, and Median Credit Score. Beverly Hills ranked 119, Culver City ranked 144, and South Pasadena ranked 193.
Education & Health
West Hollywood ranked 433 in this category, putting it almost in the top-third of the cities ranked by WalletHub. Metrics for this ranking included School-System Quality (based on WalletHub’s “States with the Best & Worst School Systems” ranking), High School Graduation Rate, Share of Adults Aged 25 Years & Older with a High School Diploma or Higher, Share of Insured Population, Premature-Death Rate, Share of Adults in Poor or Fair Health, Share of Live Births with Low Birthweight, Share of Obese Adults, Share of Physically Inactive Adults and Limited Access to Healthy Foods ( refers to the share of population that is low income and does not live close to a grocery store.) Beverly Hills ranked 409, Culver City was at 456, and South Pasadena was at 414.
Quality of Life
West Hollywood ranked No. 20 (in the top two percent) in this category, largely because of its large number of restaurants, bars, and gyms. The metrics included Average Commute Time, Share of Population Who Walk to Work, Average Weekly Work Hours, Number of Attractions, Restaurants per Capita, Bars per Capita, Clubs per Capita, Coffee Shops per Capita, Movie Theaters per Capita, Museums per Capita, Performing Arts Centers per Capita, Fitness Centers per Capita, Bike Rental Facilities per Capita, Parks per Capita, Department Stores per Capita. Beverly Hills ranked slightly higher at 17. Culver City ranked 47, and South Pasadena ranked far lower at 736.
West Hollywood ranked No. 1,184 among the 1,268 cities in the study when it came to public safety. The metrics for that category included the Violent Crime Rate, Property Crime Rate, and Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths per Capita. Beverly Hills ranked 1,019, Culver City at 1,025 and South Pasadena at 383. The safest small city in America, according to the survey, is Bergenfield, N.J. The safest in California is Danville, which ranked at 56.
The least safe of all the 1,268 small cities studied by WalletHub was Tupelo, Miss. In California, those deemed less safe than West Hollywood were Eureka and Wasco.
Data used to create the Wallet Hub ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Areavibes, TransUnion, TripAdvisor, RealtyTrac, county health rankings, Yelp, and WalletHub research.