- Job Market received 20% weight.
- Value, a measure of income relative to cost of living, received 25% weight.
- Quality of Life received 30% weight.
- Desirability received 15% weight.
- Net Migration received 10% weight.
These five indexes were then combined into an overall score which ranged from 0 - 10. With an overall score of 7.8, Denver took the #1 spot. With an overall score of 6.5 and a ranking of #60, Rochester's performance was, well, average.
A closer look at the analysis shows a few encouraging signals. As an example, Rochester's position outranked major metro areas such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New York City. Furthermore, the separation between metro areas seemed rather minimal. With a score of 6.5, Rochester was ranked essentially on par with #52 Spokane, WA. In fact, a slightly higher score of 6.7 would have placed Rochester at #28 along with Richmond, VA.
However, by far and away the most encouraging signal comes from manipulation of one index, namely desirability. This index was essentially a popularity contest based upon a survey asking people where they would most like to live. Denver's stellar overall performance was in large part due to an extremely high desirability index. Hypothetically, if Rochester had achieved the same desirability index as Denver (and kept its other four indexes exactly the same), Rochester's overall score would have increased to 7.1, placing it alongside #8 Washington D.C. and #9 San Francisco.
What is the point? Branding and perception can make a huge difference. So if you happen to be a Rochester detractor, PLEASE stop. You're dragging the rest of us down.