Ranking It

Austin remains one of the best-run cities in America

Austin remains one of the best-run cities in America

Amplify Austin balloons skyline
Austin ranks among America's best-run cities.  Photo courtesy of I Live Here, I Give Here

People complain a lot about government, but several Texas cities are running like well-oiled machines. WalletHub's annual assessment of how efficiently some of America’s largest cities spend taxpayer dollars is out, and Austin fares pretty well. 

Of the 78 U.S. cities surveyed, Austin comes in at No. 16; we were tied for No. 15 in 2015.

As WalletHub acknowledges, the rankings were determined by the return on investment (ROI) cities received in only three key categories: education, police, and parks and recreation. However, researchers believe efficient spending in these areas is a "strong indicator" that there is a high level of efficiency in other expenditure categories, namely public transportation, infrastructure, and health. 

Austin ranks No. 13 for parks and recreation and No. 14 for education, down from top 10 rankings the previous year. However, the city saw marked improvement in the law enforcement category, up to No. 52 from a dismal No. 73 in 2015. 

Houston (No. 5) and Dallas (No. 7) are the best-run cities in Texas. Three other Texas cities are in the top 20: El Paso (No. 14), San Antonio (No. 19), and Lubbock (No. 20).