Naperville ranked No. 1 least stressful city
Naperville (Illinois) is Number One in a ranking of the nation’s least stressful cities.
American City Business Journals publishes metropolitan business newspapers and came up with the listing after a study of 245 cities with more than 100-thousand residents.
The group says Naperville earned the top spot because of its high incomes, low unemployment and stable families. (Naperville is about 30 miles west of Chicago)
Alright, I speak from firsthand experience on this one. I have been to Naperville, IL, many many times. Well, that’s not entirely accurate– I’ve been through Naperville many times. It is not the kind of place most people want to be.
So, I did some research on the group that did the study. Here is a link to an article written by the people who actually commissioned the study. They require a login, so you can use email@example.com for the login name and bugmenot as the password.
Here’s what they say:
The seven factors included in ACBJ’s study were:
* Percentage of people living below the federally designated poverty level
* Ratio of households with low annual incomes (below $25,000) to those with high incomes (above $100,000)
* Unemployment rate
* Percentage of adults (25 or older) who didn’t graduate from high school
* Percentage of households defined by the Census Bureau as “linguistically isolated,” meaning that no one older than 13 speaks English well
* Percentage of families headed by one adult, with no spouse present
* Percentage of homes sitting vacant (not including vacation homes)
Let’s rebut these points, shall we?
Percentage of people living below the federally designated poverty level:
The percent of people living below the federally designated poverty level in Naperville is very low. This is caused by incredibly inflated real estate prices, encompassing both purchases and rentals. For a one bedroom apartment in Naperville, you are looking at approximately $1,000 – $1,500 per month. That is quite a lot of money, considering that I can name at least 10 suburbs within 20 miles of Naperville where rentals cost about half of that or less, and purchases significantly lower as well.
Ratio of households with low annual incomes (below $25,000) to those with high incomes (above $100,000):
When you price poor people out of your market, is it a surprise that they don’t live in your city?
You’re damn right there is a low unemployment rate in Naperville. If you are unemployed and you live in Naperville, your first order of business– even before finding a job– is to relocate to one of the less-expensive suburbs that are relatively close to Naperville.
Percentage of adults (25 or older) who didn’t graduate from high school:
Yep, this percent is low. Is it a surprise that people with money complete high school at a greater rate than people without money? Compare these numbers to geographically-close locations: Aurora, West Chicago, etc.
Percentage of households defined by the Census Bureau as “linguistically isolated,” meaning that no one older than 13 speaks English well:
Well, duh. Naperville is surrounded by poorer areas, with Aurora and West Chicago being holding the largest hispanic population of the surrounding cities (judging from observation). Of course the number of “linguistically isolated” communities is lower– the hispanics are not welcome in Naperville. How do I know this? Well, try to buy a house without being a legal citizen of the US. Try passing the credit check required to get an apartment when you are here illegally, paid only cash, and don’t have a social security number. Naperville has shut out the hispanics.
Percentage of families headed by one adult, with no spouse present:
Honestly, I’m surprised at this one. With the amount of money in the area, and the apparent lack of sense from the residents (speaking from experience now), I would have placed my money on the divorced family being the most prominent in Naperville. But, I guess that the divorced families have less money, and therefore move outside of Naperville as soon as possible.
Percentage of homes sitting vacant (not including vacation homes)
The homes are not vacant because of reports like this. Reports that tell people that Naperville is the place to be, when in actuality it is a miserable place to be.
Now, let me explain why I hate Naperville. I can sum it up with one word, and I am confident that every single reader can relate to this. It is one of the largest causes of stress in many peoples’ lives:
Naperville has the worst traffic in the western ‘burbs. It is known as “the land of the two hour left turn.”
During morning and evening commutes, you are simply not allowed to make a left hand turn in many places.
Simply driving through Naperville will drive you nuts if you are like me. I like driving the speed limit, and then a little bit more. That is simply not an option in Naperville. A 5 mile ride will take a good 20-30 minutes.
If that’s not stress, I don’t know what is.
So, to all you folks in Naperville, enjoy your rich, English speaking, booksmart, white bread community. You’ll see a lot of it while waiting in traffic.