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Austin tops list of 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

By Allen Cone
Austin tops list of 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S.
Austin, the state capital of Texas and home of the University of Texas, was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. News & World Report's list of 100 Best Places to Live in America. Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Argash.

Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Austin, Texas, was ranked No. 1 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of the 100 Best Places to Live in America.

The publication ranked the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas on desirability (15 percent), value (25 percent), job market (20 percent), quality of life (30 percent) and net migration (10 percent).

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Denver, which was ranked No. 1 last year, dropped to No. 2.

Rounding out the top 10 are No. 3, San Jose, Calif.; No. 4, Washington, D.C.; No. 5, Fayetteville, Ark.; No. 6, Seattle; No. 7: Raleigh and Durham, N.C; No. 8: Boston; No. 9: Des Moines, Iowa; No. 10: Salt Lake City.

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"U.S. News & World Report's Best Places to Live rankings are intended to help readers make the most informed decision when choosing where to settle down," the publication wrote on its website.

Austin earned an overall score of 7.8 out of 10. Its highest score was in net migration -- people moving to or away -- with a 9.8 score and the second best was desirability with an 8.4.

In the article about the new ranking, local expert Eva Ruth Moravec wrote: "About 50 people move to Austin every day, drawn to the Texas capital's music, outdoor spaces and cultural institutions. ... Austin remains rich in history, from the bronze statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan that greets visitors near the river, to the stately Capitol that anchors downtown, to the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin."

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Austin was established along the Colorado River on the edge of the Hill Country in 1839.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Austin's metro population is 1,889,094 with an average annual salary of $49,560, $262,182 median home price, median age of 33.6 years, unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, average high temperature of 79.7 degrees and average low of 54.8 degrees, and a 26.2-minute average commute time.

"We celebrate what we're doing right to be ranked first, recognizing it also highlights the accompanying affordability, equity and mobility challenges that our city faces," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Tuesday in a statement. "Inherent in that ranking is the strength to manage growth so we can preserve Austin's special spirit."

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Thousands of Americans were surveyed to find out what they value in a hometown. The methodology also factored in demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, crime stats from the FBI, and information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. News also ranked the high schools and hospitals.

"The metro areas that do well are the ones with strong job markets and high quality of life," Kim Castro, executive editor of U.S. News, said in a statement.

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