U.S. News and World Report recently named Austin, TX America's most livable city. This should come as no surprise since this city has been booming for the past several years, with one of the fastest-growing populations and job markets in the United States. Other major cities like Denver, CO and San Jose, CA placed a close second and third position on the list.
Every year, U.S. News and World Report polls the population in 100 major U.S. metro cities. There are five categories participants are asked to score their city in: desirability, value, job market, quality of life, and net migration. Overall, the goal of the survey is to help individuals make the best and most informed decision on where they choose to settle down.
While Austin ranked high in all areas, the city's impressive scores for quality of life and value, the two most heavily weighted categories, made the largest impact in its ranking on the list.
Here's how Austin ranked on the scorecard:
Job Market: 7.5
Quality of Life: 7.3
Net Migration: 9.8
What Makes Austin The Best Place To Live
There are many things that make Austin a desirable place to live, and it appears as though the secret is out with the city seeing more than 3,000 new residents each year from California alone. This city not only offers a mild and sunny climate, promising job opportunities, but it also has an extensive and natural landscape, a thriving culinary scene, and outstanding live music and sport. Home to some impressive monuments and culturally important structures, Austin also caters to the those interested in arts and culture.
Austin is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, resulting in a thriving local economy. Though housing prices are on the rise, Austin's median household income is well above the national average. The city of Austin continues to look for ways to reduce financial strain on locals by removing personal and corporate income taxes in addition to offering low state and local rates.
The housing market is booming in Austin. If you're looking to buy or sell your home, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to ensure that you are making the best decision for you. First, keep your budget in mind. You want to know your financial boundaries, but more than that, you want to stick within your comfort zone. Second, find the right REALTOR®. This means finding someone who will work with you to match your dream home to your price range.
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The unemployment rate in Austin is below the national average, thanks largely to Austin being home to many state agencies and the University of Texas at Austin campus. As one of the largest public universities in the U.S., the University of Texas is one of the top employers in Austin, with more than 24,000 faculty and staff on site.
In the 1990s, Austin was named "Silicon Hills" and today is recognized as one of the top tech industry and venture capital investment areas in the world.
Other top industries include professional services, science, technical services, health care, social assistance, and wholesale trade.
Quality Of Life
Austin is home to 94 public elementary, middle, and high schools along with 133 private schools. The U.S. News and World Report has recognized 17 of these schools as Best Schools in the U.S. Austin is also proudly home to 6 universities and colleges.
The average commuting time in the city is 26.2 minutes, but traffic congestion in the downtown area is easily avoided with flexible work schedules, walking or biking, and with Austin's public transportation system. Needing to travel outside of Austin? No problem! The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is located just a few miles from downtown Austin and offers roughly 300 flights each day, or for travel within the city, take the Amtrak train or intercity buses.
Austinites tend to live very active lifestyles since there are more than 250 parks offering excellent hiking, biking, running, kayaking, and canoeing. And since the climate is typically sunny and mild, getting outside and enjoying these spaces is something locals enjoy all year round.
There is always something fun happening in Austin, from tailgating at a University of Texas Longhorns football game, heading to a Formula One race, or watching any number of live music played across the city. Locals also enjoy the city's rich history which is preserved in landmarks such as the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the State Capitol Building.
In recent years, Austin has seen incredible population growth from relocating Californians, approximately 15,000 between 2010 and 2014. It's expected that the reason for this decision is because of Austin's thriving job market, culture, and general well-being offered to locals.
Outside of California, an astounding number of people from across the country are making the move to Austin, approximately 50 people per day. The downtown area typically attracts young professionals, wealthy retirees, lawyers, and lobbyists while families tend to migrate to the suburbs. Central Austin is where many students call home as it's conveniently located near the University of Texas at Austin campus.