Trying to figure out where to settle down? If you’re looking for a strong job market, affordable housing and top-notch quality of life, Colorado and Texas might be worth considering.
That’s according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest “Best Places to Live” analysis, for which analysts compared the 125 most populated metros based on five key indexes, including job market, value, quality of life, desirability and net migration.
Researchers with U.S. News also asked about 2,000 users across the country to determine what actually matters to them—Is it the strength of a job market? Affordable housing? How many people are moving to or away from the metro?
To balance out all the metrics, researchers then created a standard deviation (or Z-score) for each metro based on the survey answers and data collected from the Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Labor and other reputable sources.
According to the ranking, if you’re looking for high desirability and net migration, Austin, Texas, is the place to be. It’s Austin’s third consecutive year at No. 1. The city, which earned a 7.6 Z-score, also ranked fourth in US News’ “Best Places to Retire” analysis.
Only two Georgia cities made the cut, and neither ranked among the top 50.
How Atlanta fared:
- Overall rank: 57
- Overall score: 6.6
- Desirability score: 6.8
- Value score: 6.8
- Job market score: 7.0
- Quality of life score: 5.9
- Net migration score: 7.2
Unfortunately, the city’s average commute time of 31.4 minutes is five minutes longer than the national average, and while the city’s average cost of living is still below the country’s average, home prices are on the rise.
But Atlanta’s Southern charm, award-winning restaurateurs and reputation as a “city in a forest,” thanks to its “dense tree canopy,” makes it a unique, attractive option for newcomers, according to US News.
How Augusta fared:
- Overall rank: 72
- Overall score: 6.5
- Desirability score: 6.2
- Value score: 7.1
- Job market score: 6.0
- Quality of life score: 6.4
- Net migration score: 6.4
Augusta is most attractive for its golf courses, its nature and history and the metro’s low cost of living. But U.S. News notes Augusta residents might actually be paying more for groceries than the average American.
Commutes average 23.7 minutes in the state’s second largest metro, 2.7 minutes less than the national average.
For veterans, this city might be especially intriguing. Augusta is actually home to nearly 20,000 veterans as it’s home to the Fort Gordon military base.
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