Report

Most Like It Hot

When it comes to places to live, Americans like it hot.

By nearly two-to-one, the public says it prefers a hotter place to live over one with a colder climate. No surprise, then, that San Diego, Tampa and Orlando rank at the top of places to live for those who favor a balmy climate.

But for hearty folks who like their weather on the chilly side, Denver, Seattle and Portland top the list of favorite metropolitan areas to call home, according to a survey conducted from Oct. 3-19, 2008 among a nationally-representative sample of 2,260 adults by the Pew Social & Demographic Trends project.

The survey also finds that when it comes to preferences among cities, climate isn't always a deal-maker—or a deal-breaker. Many Americans who prefer a warmer place in general say they'd like to live in a chilly metro area, while many of those who like it cold give the nod to warmer places. For example, snowy Denver finishes high on the list of favorite cities among those who prefer to live in a place with a hotter climate. And sun-washed San Diego ranks similarly high among those who say they would like a colder climate.

To measure how the public rates the country's largest cities as places to live, three separate nationally representative samples of adults were asked whether they would or would not want to live in each of 10 large metropolitan areas taken from a list of the nation's 30 largest metro areas. All respondents were then asked, "Which of these kinds of places would you prefer to live in: A colder weather climate or a hotter weather climate?" The results were then analyzed together to see if climate preference and city preference were related.

By an overwhelming margin, Americans want to live in a sunny place. Fully 57% of the public prefer a hotter climate while 29% would rather live in a colder one.

Read the full report Most Like It Hot on the Pew Research Center's Web site.