Irvine is among the most "saintly" cities in the U.S. but Long Beach is even more so, according to a real estate blog that famously put out a list of America's 10 most sinful cities last month--that had most of those named located in the supposedly Bible-thumping Midwest.
Pollsters explain how urbanesque/suburbanesque Long Beach bested Stepfordesque Irvine--and how godless California landed six cities on the top 10 saintly list--on the next page.
It all comes down to the numbers, explains Movoto.com's Randy Nelson. To come with the sinful list, the blog considered things like strip clubs and cosmetic surgeons per capita, numbers of petty (theft) crimes as well as violent crimes and percentages of obese, charitable and physically active people.
To be clear, number of churches, gay-conversion ministries or closeted Republican born again officeholders doesn't really figure into the scores. But for those who have cracked open their Bibles, they will recognize that each criteria fits sins such as lust, pride, wrath, envy, greed, gluttony and sloth.
And it was those traits that sank the expected (Las Vegas, Detroit) and unexpected (St. Louis, Orlando, Milwaukee) on the 10 most sinful list. By looking at the cities that came in on the bottom of the sinful list, Movoto.com was able to name the most saintly, which are:
1. New York, NY 2. Gilbert, AZ 3. Fremont, CA 4. Glendale, CA 5. Chula Vista, CA 6. Chandler, AZ 7. Colorado Springs, CO 8. Long Beach, CA 9. San Jose, CA 10. Irvine, CA
Yep, that's no typo. New York is numero uno.
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"We were as surprised by that result at first as you probably were," confides Nelson, "until we considered the fact that our calculations were all done on a per capita basis. ... NYC might have a lot of theft, crime, and strip clubs, but at 8.2 million residents the math is squarely in its favor.
"We're sure that there are probably a few folks who are surprised to see so many California cities in the top 10, but, as with NYC, we see that assumptions aren't always accurate. If anything, between our two surveys of the most and least sinful cities, we've found that the long-held belief that the South and Midwest are more traditionally wholesome no longer stands up--at least based on the criteria we used."
Movoto.com suggests readers go by what motivates them to choose which city to live in. Not a fan a crime? You can't beat Irvine, the site notes. How that explains Long Beach vaulting ahead of its Orange County freeway close neighbor, the bloggers don't really say. But a quick look at the numbers shows the LBC has much more humility and generosity than Irvine, which scored best in the land in kindness and charity.