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Saturday, February 27, 2021

InMarket: From ‘seedy’ to hip

Robert Francis

Yo, Fort Worth, you’re looking younger. That’s right, following a history that sees us as rather “seedy” (their words, not mine), Fort Worth has become suitable for those rambling, gambling 20- and 30-somethings. Instead of growing up here and counting the minutes until they turn 18 to say, “See ya later ‘gator,” young people now see Fort Worth as meeting their exacting standards. At least in terms of a cheap night out, reasonable rent and decent transit. That according to a new Livability Index from Vocativ ranking Fort Worth as the No. 12 city in America for people 35 and younger. Vocativ is one of those media companies with a website that seems to publish rankings every week or so. This study is Vocativ’s “semi-exhaustive, largely scientific guide to America’s most livable cities, updated for 2014.” Those old fuddy-duddies, the U.S. Census, seem to bolster Vocativ’s conclusions. According to the 2012 American Community Survey, Fort Worth’s median age was 31.9, compared to 33.9 for the state of Texas, and 37.4 for the United States. How did this upstart website come to these conclusions? In this case, Vocativ scoured data about the 100 most-populous cities, ranking them based on affordable housing, quality of public transportation, desirable weather, entertainment, diversity and the cost of utilities. What does Vocativ use to determine this ranking? For example, Vocativ ranks the cost of a night out. Included in this ranking is the cost of a beer, the cost of 1 ounce of weed and dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, which obviously follows the weed. Fort Worth came in No. 7 in the ranking for the cost of a night out. Vocativ doesn’t break out the cost of weed in Fort Worth, you’ll have to figure that out yourself. The youth movement extends beyond Fort Worth. Just across Loop 820 is the No. 2 city on the list, Arlington. The city that never met a traffic mess it didn’t like, is, to put it bluntly, cheap. According to the report: “Literally everything is cheap in Arlington. First of all, you can get a two-bedroom apartment for under $900 a month. Two. Bedrooms.” I should note that Vocativ is based in New York, where a two-bedroom apartment is, well, more than $900 a month. As to how Vocativ describes Fort Worth, well I’m not sure it’s all a compliment. For example: “Far from its days as a seedy Western town, Fort Worth is a metropolis boomtown that’s getting bigger and better by the day.” Seedy? But some of the rest of the description shows they have more than a passing understanding of our little ‘ol town. “Though it’s not a foodie heaven, the Southside has great sushi at Shinjuku Station and vegan cupcakes from Spiral Diner and Bakery. Areas like the West Seventh Street Corridor and Sundance Square are becoming hipster-fied, and the stunning Kimbell Art Museum is a work of art in and of itself. Sushi and vegan cupcakes –clearly, this ain’t the same Texas as before.” Really Texas as a whole does well in Vocativ’s ratings with Austin, Dallas, Arlington and Lubbock appearing in the Top 15, while Houston comes in at No. 16.


Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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