The unholy marriage of journalism and statistics has produced yet another ugly baby.
A recent Movoto post, These Are The Best ZIP Codes In America, suggested in all seriousness that ZIP code 95497, better known as Sea Ranch, CA, is a fine place for just about anyone to live. Sea Ranch ranks fourth on their list in part because “no one is unemployed, and [it has] the shortest commute time in all our top 10” ZIPs.
In case “science” has you thinking of moving to this isolated strip of Sonoma coast, you might want to know that almost half of Sea Ranch residents are 65 or older, which suggests that retirees make up a big part of the community, which might be why unemployment is so low.
That short commute? Sea Ranch is a long way from job centers like San Francisco (over 100 miles) and Sacramento (120 miles). Which suggests that the only commute the locals contend with is the four miles on Highway 1 to and from the neighboring hamlet of Gualala, which according to the Wikipedia entry “supports and in turn is supported by” Sea Ranch. In other words, the people who maintain the Sea Ranch lifestyle live in Gualala, and the people who live at Sea Ranch shop in Gualala. In other words, Gualala does the heavy lifting while Sea Ranch gets to look pretty.
More Sea Ranch fun facts: it’s 97.7 percent white, according to Census data. Its average family size is a tidy 2.17, an indication that only 8 percent of the population is under 18. Wikipedia says “the  census counted 1,211 housing units, 365 of them owner-occupied, 35 renter-occupied, and 811 (67%) vacant”.
In other words, Top Ten ZIP Sea Ranch is a vacation rental community, and a great place for well-off duffers.
I figured you might want to know this before you packed up the family and moved there.
copyright © John Fyten 2014