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Houston is America's coolest city?

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Guess what city ranked number two? Oh right, you won't be able to. It was Washington, D.C., according to Forbes.

The western view of Downtown Houston skyline

There is something undeniably try-hard about Forbes interpretation of cool. Despite this, lists are fun. So here are America's Coolest Cities To Live (according to Forbes).

10. New York, NY

  • Metro Division: New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ
  • Arts & Culture Index: 100
  • Recreation Index: 100
  • Diversity Index: 79.6
  • Number of Local Eats: 26,040
  • Median Age: 37
  • Unemployment: 9.2%
2011
  • Net Migration: -11,900 people

9. San Francisco, CA

  • Metro Division: San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
  • Arts & Culture Index: 98
  • Recreation Index: 99
  • Diversity Index: 73.1
  • Number of Local Eats: 5,650
  • Median Age: 41 
Unemployment: 7% 
2011
  • Net Migration: 6,810 people

8. Orange County, CA

  • Metro Division: Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA
  • Arts & Culture Index: 87
Recreation Index: 98
  • Diversity Index: 75.7
  • Number of Local Eats: 5,735
  • Median Age: 36
  • Unemployment: 7.5%
2011
  • Net Migration: 13,910 people

7. Boston, MA

  • Metro Division: Boston-Quincy, MA
  • Arts & Culture Index: 100
  • Recreation Index: 99
  • Diversity Index: 54.3
  • Number of Local Eats: 3,862
  • Median Age: 38
Unemployment: 5.3%
  • 2011 Net Migration: 3,660 people

6. San Diego, CA

  • M.S.A.: San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CAArts & Culture Index: 92
  • Recreation Index: 96
  • Diversity Index: 74
  • Number of Local Eats: 6,111
  • Median Age: 35
  • Unemployment: 8.8%
2011
  • Net Migration: 10,850 people

5. Seattle, WA

  • M.S.A.: Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA
Arts & Culture Index: 96
  • Recreation Index: 99
  • Diversity Index: 55.1
  • Number of Local Eats: 6,101
  • Median Age: 37
  • Unemployment: 7.1%
2011
  • Net Migration: 22,380 people

4. Dallas, TX

  • Metro Division: Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
  • Arts & Culture Index: 95
  • Recreation Index: 86
  • Diversity Index: 73.7
  • Number of Local Eats: 7,689
  • Median Age: 33.5
  • Unemployment: 6.9%
2011
  • Net Migration: 45,870 people

3. Los Angeles, CA

  • Metro Division: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
  • Arts & Culture Index: 99
Recreation Index: 100
  • Diversity Index: 82.5
  • Number of Local Eats: 19,921
  • Median Age: 35
  • Unemployment: 11.1%
2011
  • Net Migration: 10,050 people

2. Washington, D.C.

  • Metro Division: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  • Arts & Culture Index: 99
  • Recreation Index: 93
  • Diversity Index: 70.9
  • Number of Local Eats: 6,149
  • Median Age: 36
  • Unemployment: 5.4%
2011
  • Net Migration: 34,260 people

1. Houston, TX

  • M.S.A.: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
  • Arts & Culture Index: 91
  • Recreation Index: 94
  • Diversity Index: 77.1
  • Number of Local Eats: 11,196
  • Median Age: 33
  • Unemployment: 6.9%
2011
  • Net Migration: 49,820 people

Yeah, that's right. Houston is number one. Surprise is always refreshing.

It turns out Houston has the most sought after cool thing right now: jobs.

"With the local economy humming through the recession, Houston enjoyed 2.6% job growth last year and nearly 50,000 Americans flocked there in response — particularly young professionals. In fact, the median age of a Houston resident is a youthful 33," wrote Morgan Brennan of Forbes.

The corporate cityscape has been transformed, says Brennan, with stylish housing developments and reclaimed factory spaces supporting the thriving theatre scene and new art galleries like the Station Museum.

Forbes actually ranked the 65 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions based on seven data points weighted evenly.

The number of entertainment options per capita, the recreational opportunities (amount of green space, the cost and number of outdoor activities, and the number of pro and college sports teams), the unemployment rates, and the net migration (the number of people who relocated in 2011), were all taken into account.

Jobs are definitely cool. And cities that are affordable should get extra bonus points - which they did. But Houston, Washington, and Los Angeles?

Something in their rubric must be missing. A mysterious eighth data point. But, what would it be?

[via: Forbes; Planetizen]

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Sonya James

Contributing Writer

Sonya James is a multimedia producer based in New York. With creativity and innovation in mind, she speaks to diverse voices on topics from racism in the art world to the patriotic nature of southern food. She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development. Disclosure