Sunset Magazine's "Best of the West"

March 13, 2009 5:08:18 PM PDT
We all know the Bay Area is a great place to live, but now we have proof that the West is the best. Sunset Magazine just released the results of a survey showing the top reasons why we live in such a great area.

Survey: Sunset Magazine wanted to get a sense of the attitudes of people living in the Western US states and compare them to the rest of the country, so we polled 2000 US residents right after the presidential election in 2008.

Results: Westerners believe they have a leg up on the rest of the country when it comes to?well, just about everything (looks, intelligence, health, wealth, creativity, etc.). Not surprising when you consider the climate, scenery, outdoor lifestyle, etc. The real surprise? The rest of the country agrees.

  • 80% of Westerners polled say that they would like to stay in the region.

  • In contrast, only 50% of Northeasterners and 43% of Midwesterners would choose to stay where they are. (69% southerners)

  • 41% of the general US population believes the West has the greatest choice of vacation destinations. (The closest runner up is the South with 28% of the vote.)

    With the promise of the West as strong as ever, Sunset just published its list of the 20 Best Small Western Towns. In fact, 3 of the 20 towns on the list are in the Bay Area: Capitola, Palo Alto, and Yountville.

    Small towns have a lot of allure right now as the recession forces us to take stock of what's really important and simplify our lives.

    Small town living means a shorter (if any) commute, a tight-knit community, and in many cases, a lower cost of living that allows residents to chase their dreams instead of a paycheck.

    According to the survey conducted by AngusReid Strategies, which polled more than 2,000 US residents in the Fall of 2008 right after the presidential election, people living in the Western United States are more likely than the rest of the country to claim they are:

  • Better looking
  • Hotter
  • Wealthier
  • Smarter
  • More fun
  • More optimistic
  • More creative
  • More independent
  • More environmentally conscious
  • More technologically savvy

    It's not just the West that appreciates the West. In fact, the country overall recognizes the West as tops in many desirable areas. The West took first-place honors in categories ranging from the most physically-fit and the most trendsetters to the most exciting part of the country and the place where the "beautiful people" live.

    Categories the West didn't fare as well in included most religious, most traditional, and most cosmopolitan. The South was voted most traditional and religious while the Northeast was voted most cosmopolitan.

    It's no surprise that Westerners are happy where they are with over 80% reporting that they would like to stay in the region.

    Sunset magazine is the premier guide to life in the West, covering the newest and best ideas in Western home design and landscaping, food and entertaining, and regional travel in 13 Western states. Sunset and are part of the Lifestyle group of magazines and websites published by Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S., and a leading publisher in the U.K. and Mexico


    Featured guest:

    About Katie Tamony:
    Katie Tamony is VP and editor-in-chief of Sunset, the magazine of Western living. Based in Menlo Park, Calif. The magazine has a circulation of more than 1.2 million readers throughout the 13 Western states. Ms. Tamony joined the company in 1994 as a copy editor, and was named copy chief later that year. In 1995, she helped launch the custom publishing division as editor. Ms. Tamony was named editorial director in 1997 and was promoted to vice president and director of custom publishing in 2000. Prior to joining Sunset, Ms. Tamony was an associate editor and then managing editor with Northern California Home & Garden. A native of Sebastopol, Calif., Ms. Tamony earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley.