St. Paul, Mpls. Rank High On ‘Active City Index’

The two cities were scored among 83 others based on park spending and access, healthy weight and exercise.

During a week in which the Twin Cities have been at the forefront of national publications’ attention for the area’s civic health, the well being of the metro’s residents is now also earning praise.
St. Paul and Minneapolis ranked 13th and 14th, respectively, on a rare list that scored the two cities separately: the Active City Index. Aurora, Colorado; San Francisco; and Oakland, California, took the top three spots.—a site that helps users locate doctors—scored 85 cities on a scale from 1 to 100 based on criteria like physical activity, healthy weight and access to quality parks. The percentage of residents who had physical activity or exercise in the past 30 days constituted 40 percent of the overall score and 30 percent was how many residents were at a healthy weight. Acres of park space per resident made up 20 percent of the score and a final 10 percent factored in park spending per resident.
St. Paul and Minneapolis were closely ranked with final scores of 63.04 and 62.82. The study found that St. Paul spent $208 per person on parks, compared with $227 for Minneapolis. Just five other cities spent more. St. Paul has 16.2 acres per 1,000 residents and Minneapolis has 13.3. Both cities had identical percentages of residents with healthy body weights (38.4) and those who exercised in the last 30 days (82.9). Those metrics were identical because the study partly relied on data from the Centers for Disease Control that was calculated on a metro area level. also used data from the Trust for Public Land, which was calculated on a city level.
Five of the top 10 cities were in California. Large cities tended to score higher, the site said, because they tend to be more walkable and have younger populations. Of note is St. Paul and Minneapolis ranking higher than any other traditionally cold-weather cities. Similar cities like Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ranked 42nd, and 44th, respectively. Natural attractions like mountains or coastlines are also a relatively short drive from places like Aurora and San Francisco, whereas Twin Citians must drive three hours or more reach Winona’s rolling hills or the North Shore, or roughly four hours to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.