“Welcome Christmas, Bring Your Cheer”

Whether you live alone atop a 3,000 foot mountain with your faithful dog, or in a large community full of joy, we hope that you will experience at least some Holiday cheer this season. During the month of December, retail stores, workplaces, city centres, and parks transform into noisy, crowded places of bright, joyful excitement. Not everyone enjoys this excitement. We all know the story of that certain individual with a heart “two sizes too small”, who despises this holiday cheer. Just in case he makes an appearance in your town, we at the Martin Prosperity Institute decided to take a look at the best places in the U.S. for converting the Grinch during this holiday season.

In order to determine the metros that would be able to convert the Grinch, we looked at a number of variables that would create the right scenario. We came up with our Grinch Conversion Index, comprised of: population density (greater amount of merry people within an area); costume rental stores per capita (so the Grinch can get his Santa disguise); selected retail outlets including electronics and appliance stores, clothing and accessory stores, sporting goods stores, hobby, book and music stores, and general merchandise stores per capita (more presents for the Grinch to steal and eventually return); meat markets per capita (for the roast beast); musicians, singers, music directors and composers per capita (to first annoy, then touch the Grinch’s heart with singing); night-time light (to draw the Grinch’s attention); and finally hospitals per capita (for the Grinch when his heart grows “three sizes that day”).

When looking at the metrics individually, New York, NY was the densest metro, while Alexandria, LA had the most costume stores per 100 thousand people. Ocean City, NJ had the greatest amount of our selected holiday retail stores per 100 thousand, Grand Forks, ND has the most hospitals per 100 thousand and Nashville, TN has the greatest amount of musicians per 100 thousand. And, according to an average of NASA’s nighttime light data, Trenton, NJ is the brightest metro. Combining these metrics, we found that Trenton, NJ was the metro with the highest Grinch conversion index – of course not including Whoville. Trenton, NJ also scored fairly high on most of the criteria, especially on the music, light, holiday retail, and population density metrics. The remaining top 10 best places to convert the Grinch are: Buffalo, NY then Poughkeepsie, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; New York, NY; Cleveland, OH; New Orleans, LA; Detroit, MI; Sandusky, OH; and Appleton, WI.

Exhibit 1 displays the Grinch conversion index for every U.S. metro this holiday season. As the shade of green gets darker, the likelihood of a Grinch conversion gets higher. The hearts on the map indicate the top 10 metros with the highest index. As the map shows, nine out of the top ten Grinch converting metros are located within the northeast U.S. In general northern states such as Illinois, Ohio, and New Jersey had a number of metros that would be great at converting the Grinch during this holiday season. Some metros in Florida and Texas also might be ideal for growing a heart three sizes bigger during this festive season.

Grinch Conversion IndexIn case the Grinch could not be drawn by a metro without a mountain to dwell in, then Honolulu, HI might be his best bet. With a high Grinch conversion index, due to a high number of retail locations, many bright lights, and a high number of musicians per capita, Honolulu ranks in the top 20 and could be an ideal place to convert the Grinch this year. Missoula, MT; Los Angeles, CA; and Wheeling, WV are some other metros with mountainous surroundings that were found to have high Grinch conversion indexes.

Hopefully the Grinch will decide to stay in Whoville during the holidays this year. And, regardless of where you spend the holidays this year, we wish you a safe and joyful holiday season, and a happy new year!

All quotes are from: Dr. Seuss. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! October 12, 1957.

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The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto‘s Rotman School of Management is the world’s leading think-tank on the role of sub-national factors — location, place and city-regions — in global economic prosperity. We take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.