Austin Slips from No. 1 Spot on New List of America’s Best Places to Live

Austin ranks among the top places to live, but we’re no longer No. 1. Wikimedia Commons

Austin is accustomed to coming in first. The Capital City has ranked No. 1 on a variety of lists, from best cities to start a business to best places to live.

But WalletHub’s new report names Austin the No. 6 best big city to live in the country, which means we’ve tumbled from our No. 1 ranking in 2015.

The financial website ranked the 62 largest cities in the U.S. on five major factors: economy, quality of life, education and health, affordability, and safety.

Austin performs the best in the economy category, coming in third. That’s due in part to our 3 percent unemployment rate — the lowest in the country — and the fact that only 18 percent of the population is living below the poverty line, the 20th lowest.

Austin ranks No. 14 for education and health. We’re pretty well-educated — a little over 87 percent of the Austin population ages 25 and older have a high school diploma — and our public hospital system is No. 12 in the U.S.

According to WalletHub, Austin’s quality of life is the 17th best, thanks to our many entertainment options. Austin comes in first for number of music venues per capita; the city is also home to a lot of fitness centers (No. 6), movie theaters (No. 9), and shopping centers (No. 10).

Austin ranks much lower for affordability (No. 32) and safety (No. 32). Even though the Capital City boasts the ninth highest median household income in the country, $57,689, our homeownership rate is just 44.8 percent, one of the lowest among big cities, due to high home prices. And when it comes to safety, Austin experiences three fatalities and over 3,000 property crimes per 100,000 residents, both dismal stats compared to the other places on WalletHub’s list.

Even so, Austin performs far better than its fellow Texas cities. The next high-ranking Lone Star city is El Paso at No. 25, followed by Arlington (No. 30), Fort Worth (No. 33), San Antonio (No. 35), Dallas (No. 43), Corpus Christi (No. 47), and Houston (No. 48).

The best big city to live in right now? Virginia Beach, Virginia (No. 1). Seattle; Pittsburgh; San Diego; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, round out the top five.

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