Forbes’ ranking of Worcester as the #9 most livable city in the country was immediately seized on by city officials and pols as a huge deal for the city. City Manager Michael O’Brien said the city will use the ranking in marketing campaigns, Kate Toomey asked for billboards on the outskirts of the city to advertise the title, and Paul Clancy requested the information be plastered across all city websites.
One problem: As great as it sounds, the ranking doesn’t really belong to Worcester. More accurately, we should be placing those billboards at the outskirts of the county.
According to Forbes’ methodology, the study used so-called “metropolitan statistical areas” as designated by the US Census. The MSA consists of Worcester County, hence the high rankings for certain components of the survey. Of course, if we want to brag about being the county seat, it’s all ours.