Well, Houstonians. At least we know where we stand. In the annual U.S. News and World Report of the Best Places to Live in the U.S., Houston ranked 39, earning a score of 6.8/10. The ranking, which was released July 13, marks a sharp decline from Houston's No. 27 placement last year.
"The Houston metro area attracts people with an entrepreneurial spirit and those who want to work at some of the country's largest companies," wrote Christine Hall, a local expert who wrote the report for Houston. "The presence of [the oil and gas, healthcare, and manufacturing] industries allows this region to weather economic downturns better than similarly sized metro areas." Each city was graded based on five criteria: desirability, value, job market, quality of life, and net migration. Houston ranked highest on desirability, scoring an 8.2/10 while scoring a meager 6.0/10 on quality of life.
The report also referenced the affordability of Houston, citing a housing and cheap attractions such as biking along the Buffalo Bayou and exploring George Bush Park. Food was another plus for the city. “In Houston, dining is a pastime, and the region pleases palates with more than 11,000 restaurants,” the report said. “The metro area also offers a variety of international cuisine ranging from Ethiopian to Indian.”
In addition, Houston ranked #22 in Places to Retire and #3 in Best Places to Live in Texas, behind Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth. Austin made the top five places to live, right at No. 5, and a few other metro Texas areas took a hit from low rankings — Dallas-Fort Worth, ranked right above Houston at No. 37, and San Antonio, ranked No. 75.
Other smaller cities like Kileen-Temple fell at No. 114. Following behind were Port Arthur (124), Corpus Christi (129), McAllen (139), and Brownsville (140).