The Urbanist’s Guide to Picking a Football Team

How does an urbanist decide which football team to root for in Superbowl 2013? Instinctively, I want to cheer for the 49ers who hail from San Francisco, a city renowned for it’s wonderful, walkable, mixed use neighborhoods. Then again, I’m also inclined to cheer for the team whose name – the Ravens – is derived from a poem written by one-time Baltimore resident, Edgar Allen Poe. What am I to do?

Typically, we don’t compare the central city in a large metropolitan region like San Francisco or Baltimore to a small, rural city like Geneva. In this case, however, I think it’s reasonable to make an exception. I’ve pulled together a handful of indicators from the American Community Survey to see how Geneva stacks up to these two football rivals.

If Geneva had an NFL team, it would be supported by a community that looks a lot more like Baltimore than San Francisco. For this reason, I’m going to have to go with the Ravens.

San Francisco Baltimore Geneva
Population 797,983 620,210 13,314
Median age (years) 38 34 30
Percent bachelor’s degree or higher 51% 26% 25%
Percent population over 16 employed 64% 54% 52%
Median household income $72,947 $40,100 $39,269
Median home value $767,300 $163,700 $87,000
Percent of vacant housing units 10% 19% 10%
Language spoken at home – English only 55% 91% 88%
Language spoken at home – Spanish 12% 4% 8%

Source: 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates


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