BOULDER – Boulder is taking honors for being green, claiming the No. 6 spot in the Best Green Cities for Families analysis performed by SmartAssest, a financial technology company.
The analysis ranked 327 of the largest cities in the U.S. on metrics that reflect environmental friendliness and family quality of life.
Falling in with such green and great places to live as Honolulu, HI and Ann Arbor, MI – Nos. 1 and 5, respectively – Boulder was noted for the “admirable” goal of becoming a zero-waste community by 2025, which requires that the city divert and reuse 85 percent of all waste. Currently, Boulder diverts about 34 percent of waste, according to SmartAsset.
Boulder also rates well for the percentage of commuters who get to work by some form of environmentally-friendly transportation. At 40 percent, the city ranked seventeenth among the 327 cities analyzed.
Top-ranked Honolulu was noted for its EPA air quality index of 27, the third best out of the cities in SmartAsset’s study, and for its low average household carbon footprint of 41.25 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
College towns rated well in the analysis, scoring more than half of the top ten cities. Boulder, Ann Arbor and Berkeley have long been active in the environmental movement.
A growing number of Americans are concerned about protecting the environment. According to a recent Gallup poll, 64 percent of respondents say they worry about global warming a “fair amount” or a “great deal.” Sixty percent of respondents say the effects of global warming have already begun, and thirty-one percent believe that it will eventually.
Parents, Millennials and Baby Boomers are among groups growing in concern about climate change. Parental organizations like Moms Clean Air Force, Climate Parents and Mothers Out Front are being formed by and for those who want to support climate action.
And an increasing number of the two most populous American generations, Millennials and Baby Boomers, say the care about sustainability and are willing to pay more for it, according to a recent Nielsen global online study.
Nielsen’s study found that Millennials (18-34) are the most willing to pay extra for sustainability – almost three-out-of-four of those surveyed responded positively, which is up from 51 percent just two years ago. Fifty-one percent of Boomers (50-64) surveyed are willing to pay extra, an increase of seven percentage points since 2014.
To find the best green cities for families, SmartAsset analyzed data on 327 of the largest cities in the U.S. Eleven metrics were considered, with six of these reflecting a city’s level of environmental friendliness, including the average household carbon emissions, the percentage of commuters who do not drive to work alone and the number of farmers markets.
The remaining five data points measure the overall quality of life for families in each city, such as crime rate, unemployment rate and cost of housing.
Data for the metrics is from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI Uniform Crime Reporting system and local government websites, U.S. Department of Education’s EdFacts website, EPA’s Green Power Partnership, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and UC Berkeley CoolClimate
Network, Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint (2013), available at coolclimate.berkeley.edu/maps.
For the full reports, visit: smartasset.com/mortgage/best-green-cities-for-families and nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/green-generation-millennials-say-sustainability-is-a-shopping-priority.html.
By Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder