Answer: Austin, Texas
Topping the list for the third year in a row, Austin Texas was ranked the number one place to live in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News analyzed the 125 most populous metro areas to find the best places to live. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, have a strong job market and a high quality of life. The report also took other statistics into account such as crime rates, access to healthcare, median household income, and desirability. The desirability survey asked roughly 2,500 people where they would rather move if they could, thus mapping the attractiveness of cities. Last but not least, inflows and outflows of people were taken into account. If a city had a negative net migration, it’s telling that there’s some reason why people are leaving. For example according to an article from the Wall Street Journal in February, “Florida had the highest level of net domestic migration from July 2017 to July 2018, according to U.S. Census data released in December. New York was the largest overall population loser, followed by Illinois. Florida also has been steadily creating jobs in recent years, gaining 231,000 jobs in 2018, a 2.7% increase over the previous year, and bringing the unemployment rate down to 3.3% in December, according to the state.” For these reasons, Florida would rank higher than say, New York or Illinois.
With that said, there was one city that topped the rest, and that was Austin, Texas. Some people call it the Bat City, Waterloo, and City of the Violet Crown, but whichever name is used people are flocking to the Texas capital’s music, outdoor spaces and cultural institutions. The growing metropolis located next to the Colorado River boasts a rich history and a plethora of music venues and local bands to entertain endless crowds. It’s no wonder then that the Texas city was named the Live Music Capital of the world and why festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest are hosted there. While this might not appeal to everyone Austin has the largest urban bat colony in North America according to Culture Trip. “During the spring and summer, about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Austin and emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge every night. Tourists and residents wait for and watch this unique spectacle every night.” While it does not have a professional sports team it is home to the University of Texas and is one of the sunniest cities in America.
Other sunny cities made the top 10 list as well. According to Today, Colorado cities took the next two spots, with Denver and Colorado Springs ranking second and third, respectively. Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Des Moines, Iowa, rounded out the top five, proving that coastal cities are no longer dominating. Denver’s location, for example, at the base of the Rocky Mountains provides a gateway to a slew of outdoor pursuits, although it is probably best known for its devout ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, San Francisco, California, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, and Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina made the top ten this year. It’ll be interesting to see if Austin can hold the top spot in 2020.