Economy Watch: Austin Tops Best Places to Live Ranking

The capital of Texas ranked No.1 for the second year in a row on U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of the best places to live in the U.S.
Austin, Texas

For the second year in a row, the capital of Texas was ranked first in U.S. News & World Report’s recently released annual ranking of best places to live in the United States, which takes a stab at quantifying the “quality of life” metric that’s important in site selection. Colorado Springs, Colo., Denver, Des Moines, Iowa, and Fayetteville, Ark., rounded out the top five.

Several metro areas saw significant gains since last year. Colorado Springs climbed from No. 11 to second place due to the strength of its booming job market and high quality-of-life scores. At No. 7, Huntsville, Ala., debuted in the top 10 in the rankings, offering residents STEM employment opportunities.

Among metro areas with more than 2.5 million people—Austin has a bit less than 2 million right now—Denver ranked No. 1, followed by Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth. Among small metros (between 50,000 and 500,000 people), Huntsville, Ala., topped the list, followed by Lexington-Fayette, Ky., Asheville, N.C., Reno, and Manchester, N.H.

According to the magazine, the 2018 Best Places to Live, which rankings the country’s 125 largest metros, is tabulated in part by a survey of thousands of individuals across the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a home town. The methodology also factors in data from the Census Bureau, the FBI and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals.