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Seattle is sixth best major US city

Sixth, or second, depending on which data you choose

seattle fountain

We ranked high, again. US News & World Report released its list of the Best Places to Live in America. Seattle came in at #6.

“U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there. Seattle ranks as #6 with an overall score of 7.2 out of 10.“ - U.S. News & World Report

Their analysis is much more extensive than some other studies, with an impressive breakdown of data covering:

  • Desirability (where we get a 10.0!)
  • Value (a 6.3, which isn’t a surprise considering our affordability issues)
  • Job Market (only 7.6?, maybe Amazon has to hire a few more)
  • Quality of Life (6.2, our lowest score - go figure)
  • Net Migration (7.6, which is probably the most quantitative measure)

Keep in mind, this is for the metro area, the 3.6 million people in and around King County.

Our high desirability and job market scores explain the relatively high net migration, while our value score seems to contradict our affordability issues. Again, it turns out that the Seattle area is becoming one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.; but we are relatively cheap when compared to cities our size or larger.

A few other insights:

  • We drive less, but take mass transit more. Our bicycle usage is actually about average.
  • Our typical commutes are 29 minutes, about 3 minutes less than average.
  • We paradoxically have the least diversity, and the zip code with the highest diversity.
  • Families are smaller, and we are less likely to consider ourselves religious.
  • And, gasp, we’re more liberal than most. Surprised?

Business Insider looked at similar data last year, reduced the competition to the largest cities, and Seattle comes in at #2, only behind Denver. (Which also has one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.)

#6 or #2, those scores probably aren’t the main reason people move here. Jobs, attitudes, nature, culture, and community are hard to quantify. But it is fun when people try.