The August 2009 issue of Money includes the magazine's annual list of the 100 "Best Places to Live" in America (the full list is available online). This year, the magazine looked at towns with population 8,500 to 50,000. As in previous years, Money has arbitrarily decided to exclude towns that are 95% white or greater from consideration:
CNNMoney's Best Places database of 1,800-plus U.S. cities includes towns with populations 8,500 to 50,000 with satisfactory education and crime scores, where income is below 200% of the state median, and that are no more than 95% white – as well as cities with populations 90,000 and up.
Not surprisingly, the top 4 towns on the list are between 90% and 95% white, and less than 2.5% black.
1. Lousville, CO (pop. 18,800; 91.17% white, 0.93% black)
2. Chanhassen, MN (pop. 23,700; 94.9% white, 0.75% black)
3. Papillion, NE (pop. 22,200; 93.02% white, 2.46% black)
4. Middleton, WI (pop. 16,900; 92.08% white, 1.97% black)
(Note that the #2 town on the list is 94.9% white. If the white population was just 0.1% greater, the town would have been excluded from consideration.)
Surprisingly, the #5 town (Milton, MA) is less than 90% white, and over 10% black.
5. Milton, MA (pop. 25,400; 85.4% white, 10.2% black)
Milton seems to be an unusual pick for #5, given that there were two double-murders in the small town last year. Money notes that "Crime in Milton is low, but not nonexistent. A drive-by shooting occurred last summer and two people were killed by a troubled family member last March."
Although Money doesn't mention it, both double-murders involved black victims and, most likely, a minority suspect.
In March 2008, 23-year-old Haitian immigrant Kirby Revelus killed two of his sisters and injured a third. Revelus beheaded his 5-year-old sister in front of police, who shot him as he then chased after his 9-year-old sister with the knife.
Four months later, in July 2008, two black men, 26-year-old Asa Finley and 37-year-old Rodney Almond, were killed in a drive-by shooting. According to police, the shooting was "not random." Finley and Almond were killed on their way home from a club called The Vault Room.
The Vault Room had recently installed metal detectors after a series of violent disturbances, including a stabbing. In 2005, a man was murdered in the parking lot of the club. In that incident, a Hispanic Boston police officer drove the getaway car.
As American becomes less white, it's only a matter of time until Money decides to only consider towns that are less than 90% white for inclusion on its "Best Places to Live" list. At that time, Milton may be chosen as the "best place to live" in America. That's a scary thought.
Money's list would be more accurate if the magazine stopped arbitrarily excluding towns they deem too white. There are still many small towns in this country where violent crime is not just "low", but truly "nonexistent." It's no coincidence that these towns are almost entirely white.