Naples, Florida

The general ambience, though, is SWPL. Mill Valley, CA:

A more recent influx of wealthy commuters has made Mill Valley (pop. 13,900) one of the nation’s wealthiest ZIP codes. Shops, galleries, organic food restaurants and art festivals cater to the newcomers….

Gig Harbor, WA:

On any given summer weekend there’s likely to be a chowder cook-off, a quilt show or a festival celebrating boats, gardens or wine; vendors at the farmers’ market offer mandolin lessons along with strawberries and grass-fed beef.

Naples, FL doesn’t sound too bad:

If most of the folks you meet are over 65, in Naples old age looks pretty golden. Ask a duffer with a fishing pole how he likes his martinis and he’ll tell you the third one’s always beautiful….

My kinda folk; and I like the sound of that “state of the art concert hall” with its all-classical programs.

With Key West, FL, though, we’re back in Bobo-land:

Hippies, artists, writers and chefs have sustained a vibrant, kitschy art scene for decades.

Spare me. And do people still use the word “vibrant” non-ironically to mean something other than “crime-riddled multicultural slum”? On one hand, Key West is whiter than the USA at large, though only slightly (66.1%). On the other, it has 19% more crime than the US average given by, with particularly high levels of burglary and theft.

The place that raised most objections from commenters was Butler, PA at #7. “A business and cultural hub,” says The Smithsonian, but commenters beg to differ.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of Butler is rust.

Most of the town is run-down and its inhabitants below the poverty line.

I live here and it is NO paradise, talked to many people who live here and they cannot believe this town made the list.

The only people who would even consider Butler a great small town are those who have never been here, and those who have no clue.

Butler, Pa.? Really? Did you visit, before saying that it has a thriving downtown?

Butler, Pa.? Grew up there. A serious dump.

Someone was smoking something”€”most likely bought in Butler”€”to put Butler on the list.

All that is available in Butler right now is new shoes, a good meal, buying drugs, sex and beat up [sic].

On the other hand:

It has a tremendous ethnic diversity….

Not according to, it doesn’t: white 92.1%, black 2.6, Hispanic 2.4. Butler does, though, have a crime rate 5% above the national average, with robbery especially high (252 per 100,000 against a national average of 119). But then:

Butler is probably the least cool place in Pennsylvania, and possibly all of the United States.

The least cool, huh? And I see Pennsylvania has “shall issue” laws for concealed carry, which reduces the robbery stats”€™ salience. Butler”€”that could be my retirement home right there.

Photo of Naples, Florida courtesy of Shutterstock


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