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Forbes 2014 coolest cities list confirms San Jose scene is growing

San Jose, CA
San Jose, CA
Denis Tangney Jr/Getty Images

San Jose tied with Los Angeles for 16th place in Forbes list of Coolest Cities to Live in the U.S. Some Californians probably scratched their head in wonder when they saw the rankings. Los Angeles and San Jose are often viewed as polar opposites on the coolness spectrum. Despite the stereotypical differences between the two, the breakdown of how cities were ranked yielded some surprising results.

Forbes partnered with Sperling’s Best Places to calculate the "coolness” factors of each city. The list considered entertainment options per capita in each metropolitan area and art and cultural options. They considered each city’s “Foodie” appeal, measured by the quantity of non-chain bars and restaurants, farmers markets, breweries and the like per capita. Finally, population and ethnic diversity were considered. Cities with higher percentages of the population between the ages of 20 and 34 were favored.

The numbers are positive for the South Bay. For example, San Jose scored slightly higher than Los Angeles in the Foodie category, with 79.7 percent of the available eats being local, non-chain establishments. San Jose locals who frequent the downtown scene will be pleased to hear how their favorite new spots influenced the city’s foodie rating. Los Angeles scored 78.6 percent in the same category.

Most interesting of all, the results showed that the net migration for San Jose between 2010 and 2013 was 2.2 percent, suggesting that the population is modestly growing in San Jose and its inhabitants are sticking around. The migration of people to San Jose is great for its culture and diversity. San Jose didn’t even make the list when Forbes ran the same survey in 2012.

The results were less exciting for Los Angeles, which fell from the third place position it earned in 2012. The net migration in LA was -0.6 percent between 2010 and 2013, suggesting that more people are leaving the city then moving in.

As a side note Austin, Texas took third place on the 2014 list, topping all the other contenders with a whopping net migration of 7 percent between 2010 and 2013. At this rate, it wouldn’t be surprising if Austin topped the list for 2015.

Ultimately, the Forbes 2014 Coolest City list confirms what San Jose locals have noted in recent years. The city is growing quickly, and not just in terms of population. The cultivation of the Silicon Valley scene is exciting to witness, especially when one considers its great potential for further growth.

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