How do we rank?

If there’s one thing you can count on as a reporter, it’s this: Your email inbox will receive a steady stream of news releases proclaiming that your state ranks #27 in livability or #4 in happiness. Such email is often used to test the “delete” function on a reporter’s email account.

Sure, there are rankings that matter — like a study that found Minneapolis has the widest gap between minority and white unemployment (tied with Memphis).

But many rankings are little more than advertisements.


There’s “15 Most Popular Locations for Bloodsucking Pests,” a ranking of the most bedbug infested cities provided by Terminix. Minneapolis was #15 in 2010. It didn’t make the list this year.

Not to be outdone, pest control rival Orkin has its own list with a decidedly less dramatic title: “Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities.” This year’s list also has Minneapolis/St. Paul at #15. (Cincinnati was a blood-sucking #1 and Salt Lake City was #50).

And then there’s even more specific rankings. Did you know that Minneapolis is the seventh best city to find a babysitter? Or the third least-stressed of the county’s 50 largest metro areas? Or that we have the 56th best drivers compared to fellow motorists in the nation’s 200 largest cities? (Now there’s a specific ranking for you.) Or that we’re the gayest city in America? Or the most literate?

We’re even the fourth most peaceful state, according to a U.S. Peace Index, being out-pacified by only three states – Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. We provide our baseball team with the second most enthusiastic fan support in the nation. Minneapolis is even a “Top 100 Place to Live,” according to a website called Relocate America.

In short, we’re a relaxed, gay-friendly, peaceful place, where bedbugs are (somewhat) few and the babysitters are plentiful.

But before you get too excited, I have one more ranking for you to consider.

When it comes to deer collisions, we’re in the top ten. #8, to be exact. And, yes, that’s way ahead of Hawaii, where the odds of an antler-windshield pairing are 1 in 6,267, or, as State Farm Insurance puts it, “approximately equal to the odds that you are a practicing nudist.”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some emails I need to delete.