Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jun 15th 2011 at 10:17am UTC

The Geography of Peace

The overall level of world peace world fell for the third year in a row, according to the latest version of the Global Peace Index produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Most of this trend was driven by the increased “social and political turmoil in the Middle East and North African Nations during the early part of 2011,” the report notes.

But what are the factors that shape the relative peacefulness of nations?  And, what is the connection between peace – or its opposite – on their economic growth, well-being, and prosperity?

This map charts the Global Peace Index (GPI) scores for 153 countries worldwide. The GPI is based on 25 separate indicators of internal and external conflict, including wars and external conflicts, deaths from external conflicts, militarization, weapons exports, homicides, access to weapons, violent political demonstrations, prison populations, and police presence.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jun 10th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Skills and the Great (Male) Stagnation

Ever since Hannah Rosin’s Atlantic essay “The End of Men” there has been great speculation about the effects of the ongoing economic crisis – as well as the broader, longer running economic transformation that the recession is part and parcel of – on the relative economic positions of men and women. Some have even gone so far as to dub the current crisis the “mancession,” though male employment appears to have turned up sharply over the past year..

Alex Tabarrok’s insightful post at Marginal Revolution bears on this issue. Take look at the two charts below from his analysis. The first compares the rate of growth in real economic output (GDP) per capita to median male income for the period 1947 to 2010.  The second does the same for women.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jun 7th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

A Good Week for the Nation’s Capital (if not the Nation)

This has not been the best week for economic news. The housing market lapsed back into a double-dip. The May jobs report showed the slowest private sector employment growth this year, with the average length of unemployment hitting its highest level on record.

But on all these indicators and more, Greater Washington DC flies in the face of the national trend. I’m not exaggerating:

  • Metro DC clocked the highest level of housing appreciation on the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, 4 plus percent, while every other metro is tanking.
  • Greater Washington posted the second lowest rate of unemployment according to the latest BLS figures, 5.4 percent, as many metros remain above 10 percent.
  • And DC households boast the nation’s second highest real household income, $61,449, when cost of living is taken into account, considerably more than Greater New York’s $34,931, which is the nation’s second lowest. Only McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas fares worse.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Jun 4th 2011 at 1:35pm UTC

Where Paychecks Go the Furthest: 20 Best and Worst Cities

As anyone who has ever paid Manhattan rents swiftly learns, New York City’s relatively high salaries don’t go very far.  In fact, when cost of living is taken into account, the New York metro posts the second lowest “real income” of any region with more than 500,000 people, according to an analysis commissioned by US News and World Report. New York’s median household income of $62,887 falls to an adjusted real income of just $35,370 when cost of living is taken into account.  Only the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro in Texas, one of the very poorest in the nation with an actual income of just $30,460, fares worse with a real income of $34,931.

Des Moines takes the top spot on this real income measure: Its median income of $56,576 translates into $62,446 in spending power.  Greater Washington DC takes second place:  Its median income of $85,168, one of the highest in the nation, equals $61,449 when adjusted for cost of living. Two Texas metros – Houston and Dallas – also stand out, as well as leading college towns.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jun 1st 2011 at 9:00am UTC

Is the Geography of NBA Dominance Shifting?

This year’s NBA finals pitting the Dallas Mavericks against the Miami Heat is a rematch of 2006 championship, still it’s just the second time that each team has appeared in the finals. Miami came away victorious in that first matchup; Dallas has yet to claim a title. Will the “Heatles” – Lebron, Wade, Bosh – win the championship they banded together for? Will Mark Cuban, the Mavericks billionaire owner and former Dancing with the Stars contestant, finally get a crown after years of falling short? Which city will get its parade?

But might this budding rivalry signal something bigger at play?  Are we witnessing a shift in the geography of the NBA’s dominant teams?

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat May 28th 2011 at 5:30am UTC

America’s Fittest Cities

Which metro is America’s healthiest? You might guess it’s Los Angeles, what with all those washboard abs you see at Venice Beach, Santa Monica or Malibu. Or, maybe Denver or Boulder, considering all the mountain biking, rock climbing and winter sports they’re famous for.

You’d be surprised.  The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annual American Fitness Index™ (AFI) that was just released by the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM).  The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they edged perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects their relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers’ markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America’s least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri May 27th 2011 at 6:08am UTC

America’s Best-Read Cities

Which cities are America’s best read?  There’s no need for guess work any longer, now that Amazon.com has compiled all of its book, magazine and newspaper sales (in both print and Kindle format) since January first of this year for U.S. cities with populations of more than 100,000, and ranked them according to their per capita sales. Some of the results (via Mashable) are ho-hum, others more surprising.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu May 26th 2011 at 11:44am UTC

The Fan Factor in the NBA Conference Finals

This year’s NBA’s playoffs have had more than their share of drama.  Kobe Bryant’s and Phil Jackson’s Lakers melted down at the end of their four game sweep by the Dallas Mavericks. Lebron James finally triumphed against the vaunted Boston Celtics. Now the conference finals feature four stellar teams in matchups that are as notable for their tactical and strategic contrasts – the star-studded Heat versus the defense-minded team concept of Tom Thibodeaux’s Chicago Bulls – as for their outstanding players. And the archetypal confrontation between the Thunder’s 22-year-old Kevin Durant and the Maverick’s grizzled veteran, the seemingly unstoppable Dirk Nowitzki, promises still more scenery-chewing.

But beyond their individual stars and lineups, there’s that intangible force of the proverbial sixth man—the ineffable but undeniable jolt that players get from a noisy fan presence in the stands. Playing on your home court in front of devoted fans who whoop it up and cheer you on while booing your opponent, creates an extra level of energy that is almost impossible to measure.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri May 20th 2011 at 11:55am UTC

Best Places for College Grads

Congratulations, Class of 2011, and welcome to a job market that’s only a little less terrible than the one that last year’s graduates had to contend with. Don’t feel too bad if you’re moving back to your parents’ house. According to a widely-reported recent survey, that’s where some 85 percent of your classmates are headed too.  Still, you’re going to be striking off on your own at some point, and the choices you’ll make about where to live can make an enormous difference in the kind of jobs you can get to help launch your career and life.

To seize your opportunities and navigate a career in this new borderless world, you have to be prepared to pick up stakes. Depending upon where Mom and Dad live, you might need to move to get that critical first job.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed May 18th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Do State Business Taxes Really Matter?

These days talk about taxes of any kind, unless cuts are being proposed, is the third rail of American politics.  Many business people and of course doctrinaire conservatives insist that lower tax rates create more incentives for investment, business formation and economic growth. Tax cuts, they continue, are thus a key mechanism for spurring economic growth. Though we haven’t seen much of the Laffer Curve since the heyday of Reaganism, a new generation of supply-siders is arguing for more tax cuts despite our already-staggering deficits.

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