From time to time, Cedar Rapids doesn't get a whole lot of credit.  In fact, the town gets completely destroyed on social media occasionally, as was the case a couple weeks ago.  You may have seen the article flying around when an unpleasant listing was found on Urban Dictionary.  We've also recently been under attack from a Minneapolis newspaper more or less calling us the "speed trap of the midwest".  But there's two sides to every story.

Say what you want about the area.  But you have to admit, it's not really that bad of a place to live.  Crime rates are low.  Cost of living is low.  Area schools continue to perform well.  And now one report has listed the Cedar Rapids and Marion among the Nation's Most Livable Cities.  In fact both cities are in the top 10, in the NATION, with Cedar Rapids coming in at #7 for medium sized cities, and Marion at #9 for small cities.  Take that Urban Dictionary.

So what defines a "livable" city? For the purpose of this survey, it's a community where people can easily get around, are in generally good health, and are able to remain "active and engaged".  For the report, there were 60 factors that went into these rankings, and those factors were broken into 7 categories including health, transportation, housing, opportunity, environment, and each of connection to neighbors, church, and government.

What made our fine cities place so high on the list?  Lots of reasons. One is that the city did well on the connection items, as in the report we're labeled as a city where residents look out for one another.  Maybe it's the Iowa nice thing.  We're also seen as a city that shows good numbers at the polls, which might simply be a testament to the fact Iowa is such a political battleground state.  Finally, a third positive was our ability to turn empty lots into public gardens, like garden off F Ave supported by Matthew 25.  Hey, as a happy Cedar Rapids resident, I'll take it all.

We're guessing there will be backlash to this from those who loved the scathing Urban Dictionary report, as this report was performed to AARP, with the 4,500 participants being age 50 plus. But before you judge the results, understand the elements that were part of this study are things useful to all people, no matter the age.

However, if you disagree, you can take the survey yourself and see what you come up with.  You'll be able to compare various communities, and input your personal preferences to see if the community is "livable" for you needs.

[via AARP]