Where is the Most ‘Pleasant’ Place in The U.S.?


In a couple posts over the last month, I’ve lamented the failure of studies ranking the U.S. states to take into account the whims of the weather gods in deciding how Minnesota stacks up against the competition.

And then this — a simple, elegant, interactive visual representation of the United States utilizing loads of weather data designed to answer questions like:

Where is the most (or least) pleasant place to live in the US?

And, how pleasant is my hometown?

A recent study by designer and software engineer Kelly Norton set out to answer questions such as these by determining which cities in the United States have the most “pleasant days” per year — and the results might surprise you.

kelly norton

Norton’s findings are based purely on the weather — here are the specific parameters for how he defines a pleasant day:

“…the mean temperature was between (55° F and 75° F), the minimum temperature was above 45° F, the maximum temperature was below 85° F and there was no significant precipitation or snow depth.”

According to those criteria, here the top five most frequently pleasant cities in United States:

• Los Angeles, CA — 183 “pleasant” days per year
• San Diego, CA — 182
• Oxnard, CA — 166
• Simi Valley, CA —  156
• San Francisco, CA — 153

Mcallister Montana

And the five least frequently pleasant areas:

• McAllister, MT — 14 pleasant days per year (Only 14? Just two pleasant weeks per year?)
• Northeast of Reno, NV — 15
• Clancy, MT — 15
• Douglas, WY — 15
• East of Cedarville, CA — 16

Perhaps counter-intuitively — considering our harsh winters — Minnesota’s cities actually fared pretty well against the rest of the country based on Kelly’s criteria.

Here are some examples from Minnesota’s cities:

• Minneapolis — 55 pleasant days per year
• St. Paul — 63
• Mankato — 67
• Rochester — 72
• Red Wing — 63
• Duluth — 57
• Bemidji — 65
• Warroad — 63
• St. Cloud — 68

Minneapolis seems to be a bit of a statistical anomaly to me — how can it have eight fewer pleasant days per year than its “Twin City” and next door neighbor St. Paul?

Minneapolis St Paul

Feel free to check out Norton’s website, as well as the 23 years of climate data he used from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to investigate the findings on your own.


Photos via: Kellegous.com (Landria Voigt) — Flickr.com — Google



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