Local Commentary

Editorial: CNN Money Props For Falls Church

The City of Falls Church has caught the attention of CNN Money on the Internet, and as a result has claimed some high rankings among “Best Places to Live” small jurisdictions in the U.S. that are hard to ignore.

The highest ranking is under the category, “Where the Jobs Are,” which places “The Little City” third – that’s right, third! – in the entire U.S. for its 12.6 percent increase in jobs created between 2010 and 2012. We bet no one at City Hall was aware of that statistic.

The explanation given by CNN is that smaller high tech and innovative firms like Matt Smith’s SmithGifford agency, Technology Catalysts international and Viget Labs account for the job growth, putting the City in third behind Columbia County, Georgia, and Rockwell County, Texas, in the category. The only other jurisdiction anywhere near here is Prince William County, which comes in eighth place.

But that’s not all. Falls Church is also ranked sixth among all small jurisdictions in the U.S. of A. for “Best Places for the Rich and Singles.” The ranking is based on a matching of the percentage of singles in the community (Falls Church at 35.1 percent, according to CNN) and median income ($157,069).

We’re not so sure about this one, since the singles component of the population in Falls Church is hardly made up of the hard-spending, hard-partying types one might think. Many are in Sunrise and otherwise aging in place and not your playboy types. Without a doubt, Falls Church leaders and developers would like to attract more younger types to come and enjoy the many fine restaurants and night spots, but that has yet to materialize. So, CNN might have been misled by the data in this case.

Nonetheless, Falls Church comes out ahead of Vienna (in 12th place) and Tysons Corner (at 14th) in this category.

As if that wasn’t enough, the CNN Money website also likes Falls Church among the nation’s leaders for “Top Earning Towns,” placing it in 18th place and second in this region only to Potomac, Maryland. That list is dominated by the playgrounds of the super rich. Falls Church? Hmmmm.

One category, the biggest in the survey with 50 top listings, is “Best Overall Place to Live.” Well, Falls Church is nowhere to be found on that. The reason may be that the City is too lopsided in favor of the well-to-do. Needless to say, the City was also nowhere to be found in the list of communities with the Most Affordable Housing. The only place around here to score in that category is Largo, Maryland. Falls Church’s distance from the top of that list might have hurt its overall score.

If there are any lessons here, its maybe that from an overview perspective, having more diversity when it comes to housing and affordability makes a place better, overall, for quality of life. We agree with that.