The different lists of the Best Places to Live vs. the Best Affordable Places to Live

U.S. News & World Report just named Green Bay as the best city in the United States to live. One of the factors they account for is housing affordability. But, compare these lists:

There is not a lot of overlap in these top ten lists. Indeed, Green Bay is the only one on both. These lists tend to factor in affordability, but it is not the only factor that matters. Americans do not just move to places that are the most affordable.

US News uses these four categories in their methodology to find the Best Places to Live. This includes value/affordability but also reflects that people desire a certain set of economic and community opportunities:

Quality of Life Index – 36%

The Quality of Life Index measures how satisfied residents are with their daily lives in each ranked metro area, along with how affected the specific metro area is to life-impacting factors. To calculate Quality of Life scores, we evaluated multiple aspects of life in each metro area using a weighted average. To determine the weightings, we surveyed people across the U.S. to see the importance they place on each aspect evaluated in the index. The Quality of Life Index takes into account:…

Value Index – 23%

The Value Index measures how comfortably the average resident of each metro area can afford to live within their means. To accomplish this, we compared the median annual household income with the housing cost in each metro area (the Housing Affordability Index), along with a regional Price Parity Index created through data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The Value Index is determined by:…

Desirability Index – 22%

The Desirability Index measures whether people want to live in a given metro area. To determine this, we asked people from all over the U.S. where they’d prefer to live…

Job Market Index – 19%

The Job Market Index measures the strength of each metro area’s job market. To do this, we assessed the following two factors to determine how likely residents are to find employment in each metro area and their earning potential there:

Americans and/or those that regularly put together these lists like some level of affordability but their most desirable places have a particular status and quality of life.

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