Rankings give Chandler a way to promote itself - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Rankings give Chandler a way to promote itself

February 23rd, 2019 development
Rankings give Chandler a way to promote itself

By Jason Stone

Staff Writer


The categories are vast. The groups compiling them are too many to count. And the methodology is sometimes cloudy to say the least.

From rankings that call Chandler one of the best places to raise a family to others that deem it as one of the top cities to take a road trip with your girlfriends, Chandler appears all over “best of” lists compiled by third-party groups such as WalletHub, SmartAsset, TripAdvisor and dozens of others.

And even though not everybody understands how some of these studies are collected, city officials don’t waste any opportunities to promote them.

All you have to do if you want to know who has been honoring Chandler lately is go to its website.

“We generally do keep track of these national rankings as they provide an independent comparison of Chandler with other cities and towns,” Chandler spokesperson Matt Burdick said. “We will share news of these rankings and links to the studies through our social media accounts, particularly on topics that are important to the community, economic development and tourism.”

Mayor Kevin Hartke, who admits to reading any media even remotely related to Chandler, said he doesn’t understand the matrix of how some of the studies are done, but he loves them, nonetheless.

“Well, I do put a lot of stock into them,” Hartke said. “We don’t apply for these. It’s a point of pride. It shows the impact of working hard to be the best-managed city in Arizona.”

Neighborhood watch website HomeSnacks.com was the latest to jump on the “praise-Chandler” parade when it recently released a series of best-of lists in Arizona for 2019. The city fared well in categories such as best places to live and raise a family, one of the richest cities in Arizona and a great place for singles.

Apparently, plentiful housing, a low crime rate and short commute times are what impressed HomeSnacks editors.

“It’s humbling to always get these awards,” said Micah Miranda, Chandler’s economic development director. “Chandler has racked up a few of these over the last three, four, five years. It’s third-party validation that our high, overarching economic goals are working. We have sound political leadership. We are sound fiscally.”

In addition to the sheer number of “best of” lists Chandler finds its way on, there seems to be something for everyone.

The city’s tourism department can boast Expedia once named it one of the top vacation stays in North America. Plus, TripAdvisor calls Chandler a “hidden gem for girlfriends’ trips.”

For sports fans, SmartAsset lists Chandler as one of the best cities in the nation for golf.

It’s also one of the top places for young people, according to the opinion of America’s Promise Alliance, which focuses on improving the lives of children.

ValuePenguin.com named it one of the best cities in America for young families to buy a house, and NerdWallet.com calls it one of the best cities in America for millennial job-seekers.

Even gender equity gets high marks in Chandler as SmartAsset calls it one of the country’s best cities for “women in tech.”

“We have so many positive things to promote in Chandler,” Hartke said. “In terms of cost value, it’s something we use with our promotions whenever I speak (to groups). I feel part of my job is to be the biggest cheerleader for this city.”

One thing missing from the city’s website and promotional material were any lists that paint Chandler in a negative light.

For example, in the recent HomeSnacks rankings, Chandler wasn’t listed as one of the top 10 safest cities in Arizona, although Gilbert was. It also wasn’t picked as one of the top 10 cheapest cities in the state.

That leads to questions about how exactly these groups come up with these rankings in the first place. Many of the studies that put Chandler up high use simple statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, another government agency or any other statistical source.

For instance, straightforward rankings like the ones that have Chandler as one of the best places to find a job usually only need U.S. labor statistics to compile those.

For others, such as “best places to live,” the grading criteria is a little more complicated because it factors in several metrics – in this case, crime rates, median income, services for families, children and seniors and much more.

The good surveys will give an explanation of the methodology used to compile the list, but sometimes even that doesn’t clear it up. A few others don’t even bother to tell you how they came up with the rankings, other than it is one person’s opinion.

Either way, some of the same cities keep appearing in several lists of both the good and bad. Chandler is lucky to be in the former.

“Scottsdale, Gilbert and Chandler always seem to fare well,” Hartke said. “I don’t know why other than we do a good job having safe cities.”