Africa Studio/ShutterstockWhen thinking about the “best” cities, we tend to just think about finances: the lowest cost of living, highest income, lowest unemployment. But the people who live there are what really define a city, and some are nicer neighbors than others.
WalletHub analyzed the 100 biggest cities in the U.S. based on 36 kindness metrics that fell into one of three categories: caring for the community (e.g. percentage of residents who do favors for their neighbors at least once a week), caring for the vulnerable (e.g. percentage of homeless persons with shelters), and caring in the workforce (e.g. number of special-education teachers per school-aged person with disabilities). The scores of each indicator were tallied up to find the overall rank, with 100 being a perfect score. (Find out what we named the 10 nicest places in America—small towns included.)
According to WalletHub’s findings, Madison, Wisconsin, is the most caring city in the country with a 68.13 score. The city also claimed the top spot in the “caring for the workforce” category. Interestingly, Madison also donates the second lowest percentage of its income to charity (Memphis, Tennessee donates the highest), but its other caring qualities apparently balanced that out. For instance, it has the fifth most residents working in social and community services per capita. (No matter where you live, try these seven effortless ways to be a little nicer.)
Coming in right behind Madison to round out the top five kindest cities were Virginia Beach, Virginia; Lincoln, Nebraska; Boston, Massachusetts; and Jersey City, New Jersey. For comparison, Laredo, Texas, sunk to the bottom of the list with an overall score of just 37.86 and ranking worst in the country for “caring for the vulnerable.” (Use these nine tricks to be nice even when you really don’t want to.)
Another Wisconsin city, Milwaukee, tied with Kansas City, Missouri, as the cities with the highest percentage of the population doing favors for their neighbors.
California ranked high in other specific categories. San Diego and Chula Vista tied for the most hours volunteering per capita, and San Bernadino, Stockton, Riverside, and Santa Ana swept the top four spots for the highest percentage of workers who carpool. Plus, Fremont, California, has the lowest child poverty rate among the 100 biggest cities. (Check out the most and least stressed cities in America.)
Here’s the full list of the top ten kindest cities in America:
|Overall Rank||City||Total Score||“Caring for the Community” Rank||“Caring for the Vulnerable” Rank||“Caring in the Workforce” Rank|
|2||Virginia Beach, VA||63.73||6||17||23|
|5||Jersey City, NJ||63.00||4||42||14|
|9||St. Paul, MN||61.17||35||43||3|