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Raleigh area is No. 2 best place to live, according to U.S. News & World Report 2021-2022 list

IMPORTANT NOTE: Raleigh Convergence is no longer publishing, as of April 1, 2022. Read more.
View of Downtown Raleigh

Raleigh and Durham jumped nine places in an annual list from U.S. News & World Report to land second on the 2021-2022 Best Places to Live list.

Boulder, Colo., is at the top spot. According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many to re-evaluate where to “settle down,” with considerations for affordability, career and desirability.

The list evaluates the 150 most populous cities. And while we know the Triangle is the best place to live, here’s why U.S. News & World Report says it’s so:

Types of jobs: Employment in research, academia or aerospace engineering tend to be more stable and rank higher.

Raleigh and Durham is mentioned as one such example in the list’s insights. Huntsville, Ala., ranked third, also has this going for it as an aerospace job center.

The other factor for Raleigh and Durham’s jump from No. 11 last year to No. 2 this year: Desirability.

People want to live here, in short.

The Desirability Index uses online polling of about 3,600 people “to find out in which of the ranked metro areas they would most like to live. The metro areas were then ranked according to the percentage of the total votes they received.” The survey is from May of this year.

More context, from Devon Thorsby, U.S. News Real Estate Editor:

“Raleigh and Durham has always performed pretty well in the Best Places to Live rankings, and this year its scores in nearly every category – affordability, desirability, net migration and job market, in particular – helped push it to the No. 2 spot on the list.

While the entirety of the U.S. experienced unemployment woes and economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raleigh and Durham maintained relative job stability, helped by the fact that major industries in the area include ones that experienced fewer mass layoffs, including research, higher education, technology and more.

Plus, based on a survey of more than 3,600 people across the country asked where they’d prefer to live, given the choice, Raleigh and Durham ranked 27th out of the 150 metro areas on the list.”

Digging into the methodology

The Job Market Index counts for 21.2%, equally measuring the unemployment rate and annual salaries.

The Value Index, which measures housing affordability, counts for 23.7%. This more complicated equation evaluates a “Blended Median Household Income,” using Census data of renters and homeowners. The “Blended Annual Housing Cost” factors in renters and homeowners for a cost of living that also includes utilities and taxes.

Quality of Life: This index, which counts for 26% of the total score, decreased slightly, though the data doesn’t specify in what area. It’s an overall satisfaction rating for current residents that includes:

  • crime rate (30%),
  • quality of education as measured by college readiness (25%),
  • commuter index (20%),
  • well-being (15%, which is “resident satisfaction in the following areas: purpose, social, financial, community and physical”),
  • and quality and availability of healthcare (10%).

Desirability, which as mentioned above increased, factors in 16.3%, and Net Migration, or more people moving in than moving out, is 12.8% of the total score.

Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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