New York City ranked as one of the worst-run cities in America

A new report concluded that New York City isn't well run by looking at its high debt and low high school graduation rates.
Published : July 09, 2018 Updated : July 10, 2018
new york city
New York City is the third worst-run city in the country, according to a new report. Photo: Wikimedia

New Yorkers may feel like this is one of the best cities in America, but a new report has named New York City one of the worst-run cities in the United States.

 

New York City ranked as the third-worst-run city in the country according to a WalletHub study published on Monday.

 

This is the second year in a row New York landed near the bottom on WalletHub’s ranking of the best-run cities. Out of 150 cities measured on a variety of “quality of services,” New York came in at number 148, above only Detroit and Washington, D.C. Gulfport, Mississippi and San Fransisco came in above New York, rounding out the top five worst-run cities. 

 

WalletHub's list looks at how effective the local leadership is, but how can that be measured?

 

"One way is by determining a city’s operating efficiency," per the report. "In other words, we can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget."

The study’s “quality of services” score looked at different details across several categories: financial stability, education, health, safety, economy and infrastructure and pollution.

New York fared well in the safety area, but its finances and economic issues dragged down its overall score. According to the report, New York has some of the highest long-term outstanding debt.

"One of the main reasons New York City ranked so low in our report is the amount of long-term outstanding debt per capita, which is $17,330," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. "Another issue is the state of the economy. New York has a high underemployment rate of 6 percent, its residents have a low medium annual household income of $29,176, the number of businesses has grown by only 0.7 percent, and the number of building permits hasn't gone up." 

Per the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit that works to change the city and state’s finances, New York City’s debt outstanding grew to $116 billion at the end of fiscal year 2017. The city’s debt has grown by 71 percent since 2005, the nonprofit says, which then affects the city’s budget every year.

The report also dinged New York City when it came to education, Gonzalez noted. The high school graduation rate here is 74.3 percent, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in February. Though that’s above some cities like Washington (73 percent in the 2016-17 school year) and Toledo, Ohio (64.5 percent), it’s far below other cities, like Huntington Beach, California, which ranked number one under the education category and which has a high school graduation rate of 98 percent.

A few other things about city life also led to New York City ranking as one of the worst-run cities, according to Gonzalez.

"According to our data, a New Yorker's average commute time is 40.3 minutes, the highest in the country, and a commuter spends 91 hours annually in traffic congestion," she said. "Lastly, 10 percent of the city's residents have potentially been exposed to poor drinking water quality during the past year."

The best-run city overall was Nampa, Idaho, according to WalletHub, followed by Provo, Utah; Boise, Idaho; Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky; and Missoula, Montana. Boston came in at number 81 and Philadelphia at number 134.

 
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