A new report which grades U.S. cities finds that America is becoming a more kid-friendly place. Unfortunately Memphis’ low ranking proves we’re not so kid-friendly after all. The Kid-Friendly Cities Report Card 2001, a comprehensive 239-city study from the environmental organization Zero Population Growth (ZPG), ranked Memphis in the Independent Cities category as 128 out of 140. Our grade: C-. The study arranged the 16 different quality-of-life indicators into seven categories to examine the kid-friendliness of each location. These are: Community Life; Economics; Education; Environment; Health; Population Change and Public Safety. Each city receives a grade in each of the 7 categories as well as an overall grade. “The study is not to point fingers at who is being the least kid-friendly,” ZPG Spokesperson Mark Daley says. “We did it to be informative, to let cities know where they are on this subject matter.” This study shows that Memphis is excelling in the education, economic and environmental aspects of this city while health, community life and public safety account for some of lower grades. Issues taken into consideration under the health category include infant mortality rate as well as teenage pregnancy. Violent Crimes and property crimes per 1000 persons are also weighed under the public safety category. The community life category counts children’s attendance for programs and other events in the city. Even though Knoxville, at #63, and Nashville, at #91, ranked in the top 100 of this study, Memphis still managed to out do Chattanooga, #131. The highest rankings overall went to Portland, Ore., Burlington, Vt., and Overland Park, Kan. While the lowest overall rankings went to Atlanta, Ga., San Bernardino, Calif. and Moreno Valley, Calif. “This is a study to focus on success in each city,” Daley says. “We as citizens are to take what we know, fix it, and while doing so learn from others’ [cities] success.”


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