What does Forbes know?


We admit that we weren’t exactly waiting with bated breath for this year’s Best Cities for Singles list put out by Forbes magazine.

And while we won’t deny the entertainment value of compilations like these (see this week’s Ten Best, page 4) we’ve learned to put little faith in their veracity.

In 2005 the business and finance monthly placed Greensboro at the bottom of the 40-city list based on factors like nightlife, culture, cost of living, job growth, the number of singles and also something they term “coolness” which, to those hipsters at Forbes, seems to be a quantifiable figure derived from a formula based on community diversity and people with “cool” jobs like artists, musicians, teachers and scientists.

In the 2006 list, published last week, we were once again ranked dead last.

Our reaction was, in internet parlance, “WTF?”

In the last year Greensboro has gotten better for singles: more bars and clubs, more housing, more artistic expression and more jobs – we can think of a few new jobs created in the last year right here at YES! Weekly, though we guess it’s possible that at Forbes, which also this month is running a commentary about private equity buyouts and a piece on hurricane reinsurance risk, working at an alt-weekly is not considered “cool.” Not scientist cool, anyway.

And wasn’t it just last summer that the writer of the piece, Lacey Rose, visited our city and gushed in print about the ballpark, her date with a fireman and her magical afternoon with our hunky mayor, Keith Holliday?

Damn right it was. And yet we’re still at the bottom of the list? What’s up with that, Lacey?

But a better, and perhaps more ego-affirming, question is this: What was Greensboro doing on the list at all?

According to Forbes, the list comprised “40 of the largest continental US metropolitan centers.” But population was not the sole factor for inclusion – 10 of the 40, including Greensboro, are not in the 50 most populous cities and the list inexplicably excluded places like Memphis, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; Albuquerque, NM; Honolulu; and 10 more of the country’s 50 most populous cities, all of which have more people than Greensboro, whose estimated population puts it at No. 77.

The only cities smaller than Greensboro on the Forbes list were Providence, RI (No. 124); Orlando, Fla. (No. 87); and Salt Lake City (no. 122).

So perhaps we’re fortunate to even be considered among the 40 best places for single living.

But frankly we don’t see how it’s possible that Salt Lake City – a place which is about as ethnically diverse as the Jamaican bobsled team, has seen an overall decline in population since 2000 and whose most colorful statistic is its per capita Snickers intake – was able to beat us out in every category save for cost of living to finish on the Forbes list at No. 36.