You’ll often hear Austinites talk about how great our city is and how much they love living here. Since the area has been growing like gangbusters over the last 10 years, there’s got to be something to it. A mild climate, strong economy, attractive lifestyle options and affordable housing are drawing in newcomers in record numbers. To validate the appeal of the Live Music Capital of the World, MONEY recently released their list of the best cities to live in the U.S. for 2019. Austin took the top spot on the ranking.
Large City Living
According to MONEY, Urban areas offer a gateway to culture or a medley of activities. Because cities offer such favorable living environments, they typically require a very large income to make it work. To help those who are looking for an affordable urban lifestyle, MONEY took it upon themselves to create a list of large U.S. cities that offer the most amenities and the best cost of living.
After putting the largest U.S. cities through their assessment methodology (which you can read about below) Austin stood as the top city offering a great urban lifestyle at a low cost of entry.
Here are some quick facts on Austin from MONEY:
- Average Family Income: $87,389
- Median Home Price: $326,562
- Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 10.9%
Life on Austin
Much of the impressive job growth that Austin has experienced comes from small businesses and the tech sector, with Dell, IBM, and Amazon being some of the biggest employers.
As far as entertainment: Austin certainly stands out against other cities. Because of its reputable music scene, Austin offers a plethora of live music. It’s also rich with arts and culture with several museums, an award-winning library and theater. Annually, visitors flock to the annual South by Southwest festivals, featuring concerts, speeches, and comedy showcases.
For foodies, Austin is a goldmine! Zagat named Austin the second-most-exciting food city in the U.S. last year, thanks to local staples like Franklin Barbecue and new favorites such as ramen restaurant Kemuri Tatsu-ya, which combines Texan flavors and Japanese techniques for a meal as distinctive as the city itself.
In order to develop the ranking, MONEY defined a large city as those with a population of 300,000 or more. Any city that had more than double the national crime risk was eliminated. Also eliminated were cities with less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. The remaining cities were then narrowed down using more than 8,000 different data points, including each place’s economic health, cost of living, public education, income, crime, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic.
MONEY then worked with realtor.com to access its housing market data throughout the country. According to MONEY, the greatest weight was put on economic health, public school performance, and local amenities. The amenities that were considered were: housing, cost of living, and diversity were also critical components.
Further research was conducted on each city to discover the intangible benefits of each city that have to be experienced rather than observed through a study of statistics. To ensure a geographically diverse set, the Best Big Cities list was limited to no more than one place per state.
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