Big City Livin'

Austin reclaims a top spot in new ranking of America's best big cities to live

Austin reclaims a top spot in new ranking of America's best big cities

Zilker Park Austin parks
Austin is one of the best big cities in the country, according to this new report. Austin Parks and Recreation Department/Facebook

Austin can still very much feel like a small town, but with the metro area surpassing 2 million in population and a tech- and university-fueled economy continuing to thrive, Texas' capital is very much a big city. Now, a new report from personal finance website WalletHub has ranked Austin among the best big cities to live in 2018. 

Released on July 23, the study examined the 62 largest cities in the U.S. based on 56 "key indicators of attractiveness," ranging from public school rankings to life expectancy.

Researchers then put these key indicators into five categories:

  • Affordability
  • Economy
  • Education and health
  • Quality of life
  • Safety

Austin dominated in a handful of categories, which propelled it to an overall ranking of No. 3, behind Seattle (No. 1) and Virginia Beach, Virginia (No. 2). This year's ranking is an upgrade from Austin's sixth place spot in 2017.

The city earned the No. 2 spot — its highest in any category — in economy, with education and health garnering the eighth spot. More middling ranks came for Austin's quality of life (16) and safety (21). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the affordability category was Austin's lowest score, No. 28.

Austin's economy ranked high in subcategories, tying for first among highest income growth alongside Seattle and San Francisco. 

Elsewhere in the Lone Star State, Arlington was the next Texas city to land on the list, coming in at No. 31, followed by Fort Worth (No. 32), El Paso (No. 33), and San Antonio (No. 39). Dallas and Houston hovered near the bottom of list, coming in Nos. 50 and 52, respectively. 

Joining Seattle, Virginia Beach, and Austin among the top five were San Francisco (4) and San Diego (5).