Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

City ranked 100th best metro area

Lawrence scores low on stress, high on education

May 24, 2007


Lawrence earns honor for residents' lack of stress

Kick back and relax because travel guide publisher Frommers says we live in one of the most stress free places in the country. Enlarge video

Have a piña colada and kick back - might as well join the crowd.

In case you haven't heard, Lawrence residents are living stress-free lives.

At least that is what a new book by Frommer's, one of the more respected and older travel guide publishers in the country, reports. The company's latest edition of "Cities Ranked & Rated" found Lawrence has one of the best "stress scores" in the country. That finding, along with strong scores in education, caused the authors to peg Lawrence as the 100th best metropolitan area in the country to live. That's up from 194 in 2004, when the rankings were last done.

The city was ranked against 372 other metro areas of all sizes.

"I think that is great for Lawrence," said Judy Billings, Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau director. "People do read those things. We may be able to use that and quote it in our marketing."

So, how did they determine that Lawrence is almost stress-free?

The stress score is a composite of eight factors designed to calculate a person's stress level. They are divorce rates, commute time, unemployment rates, crime rates, suicide rates, alcohol use rates, days feeling depressed and number of cloudy days.

Lawrence's stress score - on a scale of 0 to 100 - was a 5. The national average is 50. Other scores from the area were Topeka, 60; Kansas City, 87; and Wichita, 42.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Billings didn't get too excited about the stress score. She offered just a care-free laugh.

Instead, Billings said the city's ranking in the education category was more impressive. Lawrence ranked 18th in the country. The authors - researchers Bert Sperling and Peter Sander - examined a variety of factors ranging from the percent of residents with high school diplomas and college degrees to the amount of public spending on education.

"Education is definitely a good area to be near the top in," Billings said. "Families pay a lot of attention to the quality of the schools."

The book also ranks communities in nine broad categories.

Lawrence ranked above average in three categories: education, 18; transportation, 159; arts and culture, 184. The city was below average in Income, 208; crime, 212; cost of living 231; climate, 254; health and health care, 259.

Lawrence ranked the lowest - 313th - in leisure. The category looked at factors such as number of Starbucks, amusement parks and ski areas. But the authors admitted in a narrative portion of the book that perhaps they short-changed Lawrence a bit.

"Recreational assets are probably better than the statistics indicate," they wrote.

Oh well. Nothing to stress about. Right?


brotherskeeper 11 years, 1 month ago

You are kidding right? Good. There really is no traffic here... Live in DC for a couple of years.. then move back to Lawrence. You will laugh at people that say this.

saraheckman 11 years, 1 month ago

I like that number of Starbucks is an indication of leisure.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 1 month ago

If they count only Starbucks, I wonder what they call what people do in the maybe half dozen other coffee shops downtown, most of which are more successful than the downtown Starbucks is.

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

If someone thinks of Lawrence as too stressful then they need to be placed in a facility adequate for the treatment of such persons, whether by quiet walks on the grounds or by pharmaceutical inducement.

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

What does it mean we ranked above average in transportation? details please.

What does it mean below average in crime?why do they group that with the bad things?

Healthcare-below average in quantity in people who have it, or the quality of care?Details please.

blackwalnut 11 years, 1 month ago

I'm curious about what constitutes "hippies." It seems to be what people in this forum like to call others when they disagree with them. It is usually used in a pejorative way. Heck, I was around in the seventies and the definition was fuzzy even back then. It seemed to be more about a style of dress and hair and tastes in music and cuisine, than about employment, because all the self-described hippies I knew then had jobs and paid rent, except a few who had trust funds. One person here says it's being sans home and sans job. That doesn't describe anyone I've ever known personally in Lawrence, although I'm glad our town has a homeless shelter for such persons. Does a professor who lets his hair grow long qualify as a hippie? If people are going to label others as "hippies" I wish someone would clarify - preferably the people who like to use the term.

Just saying.

coneflower 11 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence is a delightful town in almost every way, but the local politics are contentious, sometimes even ugly. It does put a tarnish on the glitter.

Kevin Sontag 11 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I hate hippies. Always saying they want to save the earth, but drive around in cars that get bad gas mileage and smell bad. Dirty hippies.

Confrontation 11 years, 1 month ago

I know many places that have low stress levels, yet the quality of life sucks. That's here, for sure.

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

Hey! I resemble that remark! other than the dirty part.We can't all be driving new F-350s around empty.

b3 your neck is the reddest around,talk about the pot and kettle!

3e8 11 years, 1 month ago

Whoever said they'd rather live in Fairbanks (or other northwest city) over Lawrence is out of their mind.

Extraordinarily dirty hippies that poop in buckets and occasionally shower at the laundromat or university. Fleets of pickup trucks with gun racks. Biblical swarms of yellow jackets and mosquitoes in the summer. Forrest fires that make LA air the gold standard of clear. City-wide fogs of frozen car exhaust and wood-stove smoke in the winter. Frostbite in minutes. Capped drug dealers that die from the cold before bleeding to death from their gunshot wounds. A downtown that looks like a transplanted Soviet gulag. $4 a gallon milk. Chronic sleep disorders. Mass seasonal bi-polar moodiness.

Makes life interesting for residents and visitors alike tho.

Crispian Paul 11 years, 1 month ago

I am going to paraphrase someone else on another there sure are a lot of people who are "forced" to live in Lawrence who hate this town. B3-what about Topeka? Burlingame? Hays? Hell, move 10 miles down the road to Vinland.....Just stop b***hing about hating this town so much and maybe look into other cities...Just a thought.

Crispian Paul 11 years, 1 month ago

Confrontation (Anonymous) says:

I know many places that have low stress levels, yet the quality of life sucks. That's here, for sure.

What do you mean quality of life here sucks? Examples please. I have never lived in a place in Kansas, especially of this size, with so many museums, community events, etc. Cost of living a little high, but at least wages are somewhat higher than other places in Kansas.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

Of 373 metro areas ranked in the Frommer's guide, Lawrence ranked below average in income, #208; cost of living, #231; health and health care, #259.


minko224 11 years, 1 month ago

historically speaking rednecks have caused more problems in the workd than hippies.

Confrontation 11 years, 1 month ago

Crispian "Cost of living a little high, but at least wages are somewhat higher than other places in Kansas."

That explains why you commute, right?

coneflower 11 years, 1 month ago

"Lawrence ranked the lowest - 313th - in leisure. The category looked at factors such as number of Starbucks, amusement parks and ski areas. But the authors admitted in a narrative portion of the book that perhaps they short-changed Lawrence a bit."

Good grief. We have dance, music, art museums and galleries, concerts, and lectures. There is plenty of entertainment here. Amusement parks and zoos are near enough, in Kansas City. We have a nice lake. We don't have a mountain or ocean - I'll give them that - but I think they did short-change us.

Centrist 11 years, 1 month ago

Weird ... Lawrence has little or no stress, eh?

Try driving around on these streets for a while ... obviously the crew at Frommers haven't spent any real time in Larryville ..

If it isn't the legions of inexplicable bumps, dips & folds, potholes that jump out at you (even in front of $500k houses), the over-sized roundabouts, the strangely located roadworks projects (instead of in places where actually needed), statues of poop that somehow win awards, inconsiderate students who feel it's their god-given right not only for right-of-way, but to actually step out in front of you as often as possible, the extreme difficulty of finding a parking spot downtown (and that's WITH a permit), a tax-happy city commision, over-priced knick-knack stores, KU-in-your-face-and-ears everywhere you go, hippie drug-f'd idiots running the place, an almost juvenile obsession with college basketball (waaay over-rated), then it is the all-pervasive, over-riding attitude that it is somehow it is just SUCH a wonderful place to be.

Ooh yeah, Lawrence is so GREAT.

Gimme a break.

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

Well,the misunderstanding is you thought I meant I resembled the dirty redneck,but I meant I resemble the hippy!

I'm glad your so astute at making sweeping generalizations.Let me guess,you also think all blacks steal,and Mexicans are lazy,right,Minko?

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

Centrist,Why are you here then?I chose to live here.don't you have a choice?this is still the US,right?

Centrist 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't live here - not anymore. But my job is in town, so I still come into Lawrence.

Centrist 11 years, 1 month ago

And I'm not allowed to complain? Just 'move on', right?

If more people complained, things would improve.

J Good Good 11 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence has a lot of hippies for Kansas, but far fewer than almost anywhere on either coast. I've lived in a lot of places, and Lawrence has pluses and minuses like all, but it is overall a great town; safe, friendly and always something to do.

I've never understood living in a town that you hate. Nobody keeping you here, that is for sure. But those folks would probably hate anywhere they live, cause all they see is the bad.

cowboy 11 years, 1 month ago

Being a former crazed hippie from the sixties who has now matured into a liberal redneck I resemble these remarks about hippies and rednecks perpetrated upon us by those bigoted birkenstock wearing , tree hugging , bmw drivin , mortgage holding , starbucks drinking , merc shopping , wetlands loving , bike riding , road hatin yuppies that have taken over the city.

Give a hippie redneck a hug today and improve life !

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

"Oh, and on the rasist note (which kvk obviously is!)~B3

right_thinker (Anonymous) says:

Yes, b3, KVK has been making very mean-spirited and bigoted remarks-you know, the kind that get conservatives post removed and promptly booted.

Would either of you care to elaborate?I'm not sure what a "rasist" is but if you mean racist,I am not one,please show me where I have expressed racist views.I have made some sarcastic remarks about my own race.(the history of white folks is not pretty).I do perhaps,attack the right some,since they are largely white men,maybe you feel,I'm attacking YOUR race,I'm not,I'm white too,just more awake.

I may have been a bit mean spirited,for this I apologized.I'm used to battling with the big boys on National forums.I sometimes forget,I'm talking to my good neighbors when I'm on this site.

I am pretty anti-Christian,anti organized religion.But I am not anti what Jesus taught.I'm mad that religion gets preverted,every time.In the name of greed.I see tremendous value in the community chuch can bring.I just wish it wasn't based on some stupid myth.

I guess some would say my views on population(abortion)are kind of extreme,and sometimes I like to stir up the "pro-life(until it gets here)"crowd.But I mean no harm.

but seriously show me where I am bigoted or racist,and I will re-examine my beliefs to see,if you are correct.

Are you willing to do the same?Our ability of self examination, and the ability to admit when we are wrong,are some of what makes us human.

also,I am me,KawValleyKid, Nick Yoho.I have never posted as anyone else,or been booted off. Glad to meet you.

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

I should rephrase that,I'm not anti Christian. I've just never one.(that wasn't a hyppocrite,not saying I might not be one too.)

And I meant to say I apologize. Now presently I do,not in the past tense.

I love hippies!

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

Hello? Heeelllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooo? My you guys have short attention spans for being so opinionated.surely you you knew I'd respond to your attacks?

why is it they call me out then go away?I think Ronnie missed my clarification about my family history the other day too.I'm sure he would of been interested too,as he called me out about Kansas history.

well at any rate,this "comment forum"isn't that easy to go back into the archives,or even yesterdays comments for that matter,so I'll give you a break on that one.

Does anyone think maybe LJW could have a side forum,where we could start our own topics?where we could discuss things,that often go off topic from the limited ones we have. like now.This is off topic,but I have nowhere else to say it! just wondering...

hanni213 11 years, 1 month ago

I have travelled many countries and more than half of the United States. I haved lived in 5 states. I love living in oasis in the mid-west. More layed back then the east or west, a cultural melting pot, great restaurants, nightlife, schools....can't think of a place I'd rather live.

I too am a hippie...worked all my adult life and still do. Come to think of it, all my hippie friends work...and, most of them have college degrees. Hmm figure that.

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

Apology accepted,now why do you hate bicyclers so much?

I too apologize,my comments were based on your comments,to me it sounds like you are a hater.

to all:the term "redneck" is nothing to aspire might not embrace being one if you understood what one is.Yes I know,its slang now-a-days.but it still means bigot and hater.

liberal_observer 11 years, 1 month ago

Since I can't start a new thread, thought I'd try this. After all, it has an effect on Lawrence community. Interesting activities. appears to no longer be under anyone's control. Why? I changed my e-mail address and can no longer access site. There are no new registrations being approved. A poster known as lindamiller is running wild with apparently total drunken rants and threats. If site owners aren't willing to maintain control, why don't they simply shut it down? In many ways it is a very useful resource for Lawrence residents. Why are they allowing it to deteriorate this way? Check out

Nick Yoho 11 years, 1 month ago

Dunno,I've only been there a couple 'o times.

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