Living: All Riled Up About Ratings

A new book evaluates 329 U.S. cities for livability

Whether the subject is the beefiest burger or the biggest corporation, Americans have a penchant for making lists of the best and the worst, then arguing about the results. Since 1939, when Psychologist E.L. Thorndike devised a "goodness index" to rate U.S. cities, no rankings have inspired more disagreement than those about home sweet home. The latest edition of Rand McNally's Places Rated Almanac can only add to the controversy. According to the 449-page paperback released last week, the best all-round metropolitan area in which to live in the U.S. is Pittsburgh. The worst: Yuba City, Calif.

Pittsburgh boosters celebrated as...

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