Stanley Cup Finals 2013: A Battle Between Boston and Chicago, and Not Just On the Ice


On Wednesday, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks opened up the first Stanley Cup finals between Original Six teams since 1979. Chicago took Game One in an epic triple-overtime thriller that nearly was the longest playoff hockey game in history. As often happens with sporting events, the series is an opportunity for both sides to do a little — incredibly biased — comparing of the two metropolises as a whole. Here's a slightly more balanced, quantitative look at Boston and Chicago.

1. Best Education

Both cities have elite universities in the area. Chicago has the University of Chicago and Northwestern. Boston has M.I.T. and Harvard. The Boston metro area, however, has a leg up when it comes to the share of the population with a college degree (43% to 34% in Chicago). U.S. News and World Report also calls Boston the eighth most educated city in the nation.

2. Most Populous

A slightly boring statistic? Maybe. But still a point of pride for Chicagoans — denizens of the third-biggest city in the United States — who seem to have a bit of an inferiority complex when compared to the likes of Los Angeles and New York. Boston, on the other hand, is just the 21st-largest city in the country. It feels almost quaint by comparison, as The Onion has memorably pointed out.

3. Best Mass Transit System

The Huffington Post has Chicago at number two for top transit systems and walkability, behind only Portland, Oregon. Boston clocks in at sixth. Score another one for the Windy City.

4. Most Fortune 500 Companies

Boston has a respectable 10, but Chicago has a whopping 29 in its metropolitan area, including United Air Lines and Aon.

5. Best Job Market

This one's not even close. According to the Department of Labor, the Boston area has a 5.7% unemployment rate, while the Chicago area has a 9.1% unemployment rate, good for just 324th of all American cities. 

6. Most Sports Championships

This was a tight one. Obviously the Yankees basically single-handedly keep New York in the top spot, but Boston took silver in this one with 34 championships from major sports teams. Chicago finished right behind them with 27. The Cubs aren't doing the city many favors.

7. Most Green Space

ParkScore puts Boston at fourth for the most green spaces. Chicago might not have made the Bottom 10, but it didn't beat Boston either. The Hub takes this one.

8. Lowest Cost of Living

Well, a $100,000 salary in Boston buys you as much as a $83,539 salary does in Chicago. Groceries in Chicago cost 4% less, housing 16% less, utilities 34% less, and health care 12% less. Transportation does cost 4% more in Chicago than in Boston, however.

9. Safest

Chicago has gotten a lot of bad press in the past year for rampant gun violence. Though Boston isn't as safe as, say, Burlington, it isn't #79 on the list of most dangerous cities in the United States either.

10. Best For Millennials

Boston landed at fifth on this list of top cities for Millennial workers. Chicago didn't even crack the Top 10. That Forbes called it the fourth "most miserable" city in the United States doesn't help its cause either.