How Spokane stacks up against Outside magazine's other Best Towns

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After somehow getting passed up as a Best River Town in last year’s Outside magazine list, Spokane got recognized in this year’s voting-based list of Best Towns 2013. (Spokane previously got runner-up recognition in 2010 for trail running.) With a nod to our hiking trails, nearby ski resorts and the trendiness of South Perry, Spokane took No. 5 on the list of 10 voter-selected cities. 

“The goal was simple: find America’s best place to be healthy,” the magazine says. “We wanted a town with ample trailheads, nearby adventure, great farmers’ markets, and, hopefully, a competitive gear-shop scene. To pick it we turned to you.”

They list some basic U.S. Census Bureau statistics for each voter-selected town, but don’t make it easy to compare. So here you go:

Population:

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Median home value:

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Median household income:

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It seems like Spokane deserves some sort of special recognition for being a Best Bargain Town. In fact, the 2010 writeup maybe said it best: “We also like how affordable and lush and underrated it is.”

One part of Spokane’s writeup is a little puzzling: “…the city is about as dangerous as Bend and safer than Colorado Springs.” As we’ve written about before, Spokane has a high crime rate relative to other cities, mostly because of property crime. According to standard Uniform Crime Reporting data, Spokane does have higher crime rates than either Bend or Colorado Springs.

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UPDATE: We reached out to the writer at Outside about the source of the crime data, and he and his editor were nice enough to get back to us: It’s from the UCR statistics on violent crime rates of the cities’ metropolitan statistical areas from 2011, the most recent year fully available. Spokane’s MSA includes the rest of the county — the total MSA population in 2011 was 478,614; the city was 212,194. Here are the specifics: 

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