Annual ranking: America’s best and worst run cities

texas_plano24/7 Wall St. has completed its second annual ranking of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., based on local economies, fiscal management, and quality of life measures.

Factors such as the city’s credit rating, poverty, education, crime, unemployment, and regional GDP are evaluated over the long-term in determining how well a city is managed.

Of the 100 largest cities in America, Plano, Texas is the best-run this year. The worst-run is San Bernardino, California.

So how did Florida cities do? The top 20 best run cities are outside the Sunshine State. If that weren’t bad enough, Florida lays claim to 3 of the top bottom 10 worst-run cities in America. Many of the these cities were badly damaged by the housing price collapse, which helps explain such a dismal performance.

Florida’s three cities considered among the worst run in America are; Orlando – 10th, Hialeah – 5th Worst and Miami – 2nd Worst.

2. Miami, Fla.
> Population: 408,760
> Credit rating: A2, negative outlook
> Violent crime per 1,000 people: 11.98 (12th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 12.4% (17th highest)

Between 2007 and 2011, the median home value in Miami fell by 43.5%. Additionally, the city had one of the nation’s lowest median household incomes, at under $29,000, while 31% of residents lived below the poverty line — nearly twice the U.S. rate of 15.9%. Despite the difficult economic conditions Miamians faced, the city joined with Miami-Dade County to pay for almost 80% of the more-than $600 million cost of building a new baseball stadium for the Miami Marlins.

5. Hialeah, Fla.
> Population: 229,967
> Credit rating: not rated
> Violent crime per 1,000 people: 3.78 (18th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 14.1% (tied- 9th highest)

Home prices between 2007 and 2011 fell by 44% in Hialeah, the 10th-highest decline of all 100 largest cities. The median household income of $27,208 in 2011 was the third-lowest of all major cities, after declining by 44% during the recession. Of workers residing in Hialeah, 15.5% worked in the generally low-paying retail trade, the highest percentage of all of the 100 largest cities. As a result of industry composition, nearly 40% of city residents are without health insurance, higher than any other large city in the U.S.

10. Orlando, Fla.
> Population: 243,209
> Credit rating: Aa1, stable outlook
> Violent crime per 1,000 people: 10.73 (17th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 10.2% (tied- 38th highest)

Like the state of Florida as a whole, Orlando took a significant hit during the housing crisis. Median home values between 2007 and 2011 declined by nearly 40%. Violent crime has also plagued the Orlando area. In 2011, there were nearly 11 violent crimes for every 1,000 people, which placed Orlando among the top fifth of the 100 largest cities. In 2013, the city will have to borrow $29.5 million from its reserves in order to balance the $354.2 million budget. Despite the shortfall, the budget deal did not raise property taxes and city employees will get a 3% raise.

Compare Best and Worst Run Cities


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