During the recent blizzards in the midwest, the staff at the Wishek Long Term Care Center had a Blizzard Party for the residents! Facebook Photo

During the recent blizzards in the midwest, the staff at the Wishek Long Term Care Center had a Blizzard Party for the residents! Facebook Photo

Qualitative figures don’t define a town or Your algorithms are boring me!

You may have missed it unless you subscribe to the online magazine Best Life, but in February that publication did a story listing the most boring town in each state. I wouldn’t probably even be aware of this important news item but I follow a page on Facebook for the community of Wishek, North Dakota and they won the award for their state.

I am a follower of their page only because my great-grandparents lived there and my grandmother was born there, I probably still have some relatives there and they are a community that celebrates the towns Russian-German immigrant history and traditions. Also, the community reminds me a lot of Forks.

Instead of getting upset about their new status as the most boring town in North Dakota a local writer responded to the town’s new distinction by explaining why they were anything but boring, writing, “The local commerce group plans activities year-round from the 90 plus years running of Sauerkraut Day each October, to Santa Day, where every child is given a choice of a toy donated by local businesses, to an upcoming Easter egg hunt in the park. Our four churches provide youth groups, classes, training, teaching, and fellowship. The Senior Center serves meals open to anyone and you can get in on some evenings of cards there, too.”

So you might ask, how were the most boring towns in each state selected?

Drawing on data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey, they examined which places in each state had the highest median ages, the fewest number of things to do, and the lowest population density—making it a decent chance of having trouble finding tons and tons of fun stuff to do.

According to the online article, these towns aren’t all boring in the same way; some scored higher because there’s very little to do there, while others scored higher because there are so few people to do anything with. Each factor was weighed in coming up with the final decision on which town is the most boring town in each state. The results were based on qualitative figures, as fed through an algorithm.

So you know I was dying to know who got the award in Washington? As I scrolled down the page past Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Vermont all the way noticing they were using photos for each town that were not complimentary; boarded-up buildings, etc. Finally, I was at Washington and the winner was …not Forks! it was Port Townsend!

I am guessing the residents of Port Townsend would disagree with this selection, big time, and I disagree too.

Here are the statistics used to select Wishek and Port Townsend.

North Dakota: Wishek

Population: 979

Size (square miles): 1.45

Density (people per square mile): 675.17

Median Age: 53.2

Percent of Population Over 65: 33.2

Percent of Family Households: 57.9

Number of Entertainment spots*: 3

Number of Hotels/Restaurants: 10

Washington: Port Townsend

Population: 9,315

Size (square miles): 9.46

Density (people per square mile): 984.67

Median Age: 55

Percent of Population Over 65: 30.4

Percent of Family Households: 51.1

Number of Entertainment spots: 8

Number of Hotels/Restaurants: 74

Towns aren’t defined by statistic, one online magazine’s boring town is another’s vibrant community; I think Best Life is missing what really is the Best Life.

Christi Baron, Editor