What’s the best place to live in America? That answer is Texas clear according to a national magazine with plenty of rankings clout.
Austin’s been deemed the No. 1 city in the country by virtue of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Live Rankings for 2018. Somehow, the state capital wasn’t too weird to beat all the other would-be top cities.
Based on U.S. News & World Report’s metrics — a combination of job market index, value index, quality of life index, desirability index and net migration — Austin ranks first among the 125 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Its overall score comes in at 7.7 (out of 10). Austin cleaned up in and both Desirability (a measure of whether people want to live in a certain metro area or not) with a score of 8.9 and Net Migration (whether people are moving to or away from the metro area) with a score of 9.4.
All told, 10 Texas cities made the rankings. Houston just missed the Top 25, coming in at a not horrible, but seriously below its standards 26th. In fact, Houston is by far the lowest ranked of Texas’ four biggest cities. San Antonio ranks 14th and Dallas checks in at No. 18. Killeen is 90th, El Paso ranks 105th with Corpus Christi right behind at 106th. Beaumont (No. 113), McAllen (No. 115th) and Brownsville (No. 121) complete the Texas cities that made the cut.
Being listed beneath Austin is one thing. Austin’s got definite street cred, which U.S. News & World Report dutifully rehashes. It’s the Live Music Capital of the World for one. It’s knee-deep in festivals, from Austin City Limits to Fun Fun Fun Fest and South by Southwest.
Where does Houston come up lacking? Like Austin, Houston receives a 7.1 Value score. But that’s the only seven the Bayou City gets. Houston’s overall score is 6.9. Desirability is where Houston truly takes a beating, receiving only 6.1 (out of 10).
U.S. News & World Report touts Houston’s entrepreneurial spirit, affordable housing, great restaurants and industry. But H-Town still ranks lower than Boise, Idaho in the Best Places to Live rankings.
Colorado Springs, Denver, Des Moines (Iowa), Fayetteville (Arkansas), Portland, Huntsville (Alabama), Washington D.C., Minneapolis and Seattle complete the Top 10 behind Austin. Yes, Huntsville is supposed to be the seventh best place to live in the United States. OK.
Still no city is a match for Austin’s endless opportunities to trot out last year’s Coachella castoffs and act boho at festivals where tickets can cost more than a $1,000. The FOMO is real.