SmartAsset’s annual study names Ann Arbor fourth most fitness-friendly US city in 2021

The new two-way protected bike lane on William Street. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ann Arbor is the fourth most fitness-friendly city in the United States for 2021, according to an annual study by SmartAsset.

The financial technology and financial advice company looked at data for 301 metropolitan areas across the country and compared numbers in five key metrics:

  • percentage of residents who walk or bike to work
  • fitness professionals per 10,000 workers
  • fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments
  • concentration of fast-food restaurants
  • average wage of personal trainers

Data for the comparison study came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey and 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics for May 2019.

Here’s what the study said:

With 67 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, Tree Town had the second-highest rate of fitness professionals out of the metropolitan areas included in the study. These professionals get paid an average of $17.47 per hour.

The city had 112 fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments but only 7.4 percent of commuters walked or biked to work, ranking Ann Arbor 10th and 15th respectively.

When it comes to restaurants, 46 percent of Ann Arbor’s eateries are fast-food related. According to the study, this number was created by using the number of limited-service restaurants, like fast-food eateries, and dividing it by the number of all restaurants in the city.

Overall, the city landed squarely in fourth place with an index of 96.18 out of 100, which puts it just behind Bend, Oregon, with an index of 97.88.

This is the second year that Ann Arbor has been in fourth place on the SmartAsset study, and its third time in the top ten.

The top 10 cities are:

  1. Missoula, MT
  2. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
  3. Bend, OR
  4. Ann Arbor, MI
  5. Bloomington, IN
  6. Santacruz-Watsonville, CA
  7. Flagstaff, AZ
  8. Fort Collins, CO
  9. Boulder, CO
  10. Ithaca, NY

Find the study here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.