Another Crown Jewel

Despite Amazon HQ2 diss, Austin still declared best city to live in right now

Despite Amazon HQ2 diss, Austin still declared best city to live in

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We're No. 1. Photo courtesy of Austin City Limits

Okay, so Austin didn’t land a piece of Amazon’s second headquarters, and for the most part, we’ve gotten over Amazon’s rejection. But, while thousands of Amazonians won’t be invading Austin, plenty of people still yearn to move here.

In fact, Money magazine has given out-of-towners yet another reason to relocate to Austin — our city appears at the top of Money’s new ranking of the 10 Best Big Cities to Live in Right Now. How did Austin ascend to the No. 1 position among U.S. cities with at least 300,000 residents?

“Texas’s delightfully bohemian capital nabs the list’s top spot because of the thriving job scene, coupled with memorable food, music, and a startup culture,” writes Money.

Money notes that Austin is forecast to experience a 10.9 percent increase in jobs from 2017 to 2022. At 2.9 percent, the metro area’s September unemployment rate sat below the national average.

“Much of [Austin’s] job growth comes from small businesses and the tech sector — Dell, IBM, and Amazon are some of the biggest employers,” Money says. “Entrepreneurs, take note: CNBC ranked Austin as the No. 1 place to start a business, while Forbes named it one of the top 10 rising cities for startups.”

It’s not just the robust business climate that lures people to Austin, though. Money cites the live music scene and the annual SXSW festival as draws, along with the foodie-friendly environment.

“Restaurant-rating powerhouse Zagat named Austin the second most exciting food city in the U.S. last year, thanks to mainstays like Franklin Barbecue and new favorites such as ... restaurant Kemuri Tatsu-ya, which combines Texan flavors and Japanese techniques for a meal as distinctive as the city itself,” Money says.

In the Amazon aftermath, longtime Austinite Matt Curtis, founder of Austin-based consulting firm Smart City Policy Group, remains bullish about the city’s prospects, as underscored by the Money ranking. But he says we must address critical infrastructure needs — namely transportation and housing — to keep attracting businesses, jobs, and workers.

“Austin is crippled by our lack of housing options and transportation solutions,” Curtis says. “We need to immediately address our urban core by adopting new styles of homes and smart density. And to serve the urban core, we need to vigorously invest in a complete system of transportation solutions and not shy away from new ideas.”