See how I emphasized the positive in that headline? The same researcher places Portland-South Portland an unimpressive 110th nationwide, which is still the top quarter of the sample pool of nearly 478 cities, but nothing close to the top 10 finishes the Maine cities became accustomed to over a slew of rankings over the past few years.
I’ve been joking with people recently that it’s reached a point where it’s newsworthy if some aspect of Portland isn’t listed as one of the best in the country. We’ve seen the city’s beers, brunches, coffee, women, farmers markets, technology sector, child-rearing opportunities, retirement life, employment, environmental friendliness, gay travel, food scene and outdoor recreation lauded as among the tops in America by one national publication or another over the past few years, and I’ve probably forgotten some.
Like the last time I wrote about some list — I think it was a slate of Travel + Leisure tourist rankings — I’ve blogged about this general subject so often I’ve gotten tired of including the hyperlinks to past posts about all of those things listed above, but just about all of them are in the archives of this blog somewhere or another. So go ahead and dig around for them if you want.
This time, Dr. Daniel Sternberg is unveiling his second annual report of brainiest American cities based on Lumosity’s databases of users’ performances in the website’s cognitive training exercises. Lumosity, if you haven’t seen the commercials, is a site where folks can go and play little puzzle games to keep your thinking sharp — it’s billed as exercise for your mind.
Lumosity games test players’ mental quickness, attention, flexibility, problem solving and memory.
(This is to say that Portland-South Portland’s 110th place ranking may be less about the city’s collective brainpower and more about who around here is playing Lumosity games and how seriously they’re taking it.)
In first place on Sternberg’s Complete Overall Score Rankings for Core-Based Statistical Areas — I’m not sure exactly what that title means, which in turn probably means I’m the sort of person dragging Portland’s score down — is Ithaca, N.Y.
Other college towns performed similarly well. State College, Pa., is No. 2, Ann Arbor, Mich., is at No. 6, etc., etc.
How did Maine cities rank? Well, as I mentioned early on, Portland-South Portland (listed in one grouping) finished in 100th place, between Fairbanks, Alas., and Sunbury, Pa.
Bangor shows up in the 137th spot, just after Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Charleston-North Charleston, S.C. A little further down at No. 171 is Augusta-Waterville, sandwiched between Lubbock, Tex., and Gettysburg, Pa.
Lewiston-Auburn arrives in the 230th place — still in the top half of the list — a step ahead of Wilmington, N.C., and immediately behind Big Rapids, Mich.
Down at the bottom of the overall list, because I’m sure you’re wondering, is Lumberton, N.C.