U.S. News & World Report was out Tuesday with its 2017 list of Best Places to Live in the United States, a ranking of the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Austin, Texas, took the No. 1 spot, bumping Denver, Colorado, to No. 2. San Jose, California, climbed from No. 10 to No. 3, while Washington, D.C., moved up four spots to No. 4. Fayetteville, Arkansas, rounds out the top five.
"When considering a move people are concerned about finding a job in their field, earning enough to afford a home, sending their kids to good schools and feeling like a part of their community," said Kim Castro, executive editor at U.S. News. "The Best Places to Live ranking takes all of that into account – the metro areas that do well are the ones with strong job markets and high quality of life."
Several metro areas saw significant gains year over year. Boston, Massachusetts, moved to No. 8 from No. 30 thanks to a noteworthy drop in the unemployment rate. Salt Lake City's improved cost of living propelled it from No. 27 to No. 10. Hartford, Connecticut, Syracuse, New York, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, all made impressive strides, climbing more than 20 spots into the top 50. Like Salt Lake City, all three metro areas earned higher affordability scores in 2017.
The 2017 Best Places to Live were determined in part by a public survey of thousands of individuals across the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a home town. The methodology also factors in data from the United States Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals.
Best Places to Live is part of U.S. News' expanding Real Estate channel, which provides rankings, tools and advice to help individuals navigate the housing market, from getting a mortgage and working with an agent to buying and selling a home. The new U.S. News Real Estate Agent Finder matches individuals with top-performing agents in their markets.
Read the full list here.