Sometimes the numbers fall Fort Worth's way.
They didn't this week, and in one way that seemed confusing.
First, new census figures showed that metropolitan Dallas is growing twice as fastas metropolitan Fort Worth-Arlington. We' still have the third largest county in Texas — Tarrant County is bigger than Bexar (San Antonio) or Travis (Austin) — but we're a slowpoke compared to Dallas.
Then, one of those number-crunching websites declared Fort Worth the most expensive place to retire in Texas.
New York-based SmartAsset.com figured that somebody retiring with $1 million in Fort Worth would be broke in 28 years, mainly due to sky-high transportation costs and an undefined category labeled “other.”
The cost of housing is also higher than in Dallas, the No. 2 most expensive city for retirement, SmartAsset calculated. (The cheapest cities were McAllen and Harlingen in the Rio Grande Valley, and Sherman and Wichita Falls along the Red River.)
But I've got a lot of questions about SmartAsset.com's figures.
According to the New Yorkers, housing in Fort Worth is more expensive than in Austin.
Look, have they tried to rent a 2-bedroom in Austin lately? Or even buy a breakfast taco?
And the study lists 26 Texas cities. But it doesn't list Arlington, Plano or Frisco at all.
Yet it lists suburbs such as Allen, Conroe and Round Rock.
Those numbers are even more suspect if you consult other authorities.
Forbes ranks Fort Worth No. 3 in America on its list of “most affordable cities,” behind only Dayton, Ohio, and Greenville, S.C.
How can Fort Worth be No. 3 nationally in Forbes and No. 199 nationally to SmartAsset?
SmartAsset is one of several websites compiling statistical rankings to promote its financial “tools” and redirect readers to lenders and planners.
The Texas rankings, for example, are at the bottom of a page advertising Austin financial advisors.
According to the much more established and respected Sperling's Best Places survey, it would cost $61,000 to live in Austin at the same level as $50,000 in Fort Worth. Housing in Austin costs almost twice as much.
SmartAsset.com spokesman Steve Sabato emailed that staffers used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on seniors' spending, and applied cost-of-living data from the Virginia-based Council for Community and Economic Research..
That agency ranks Fort Worth as having the highest transportation cost of any city but Midland. (The barebones public transit system here no doubt plays a role.)
Arlington, which has only fragments of a transit system, is included as part of the Fort Worth area, Sabato said.
He could not explain the mysterious disappearance of Plano or Frisco.