U.S. News: Colorado Springs most desirable place in nation

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U.S. News & World Report, which in April ranked Colorado Springs the second-best place in the nation to live, now says Colorado Springs is the country’s most desirable place to live.

U.S. News ranks Colorado Springs 10 out of 10 in desirability on a scorecard used to rate 125 U.S. metropolitan areas.

The publication surveyed people across the country about where they would most like to live if given the choice of the nation’s 125 largest metro areas. The desirability index for each city was then determined according to the percentage of the total votes they received.

The desirability score is one of five indexes that factor into a city’s overall Best Places to Live ranking. Colorado Springs received a ranking of 7.2 on the overall Best Places to Live list, outranking Denver, which was No. 3. Austin, Texas, with an overall score of 7.7, topped Colorado Springs by 0.1 point. The overall scores for 2018 were released in April.

According to the U.S. News website, the rankings are intended to help people make informed decisions when choosing where to settle.

The data that informs the rankings were compiled from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Labor and a survey of people across the country who voted on what they believed was the most important thing to consider when thinking about moving.

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Besides desirability, cities were ranked on a value index that measures how comfortably residents can afford to live within their means, based on median household income and cost of living; a job market index, based on unemployment rates and average salaries; a quality of life index, based on crime rates, availability of health care, quality of education and average commute time; and net migration, using Census data to determine whether people are moving to or away from an area.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Colorado Springs’ overall 7.6 was derived from these numbers on the individual indexes:

Desirability: 10

Value: 7.2

Job Market: 7.3

Quality of Life: 7.2

Net Migration: 7.0

The Springs area was ranked No. 44 on U.S. News’s list of Best Places to Retire, receiving an overall ranking of 6.6.

“The nation is taking notice of what we already know; that Colorado Springs is a wonderful place to live,” Mayor John Suthers said in a news release after the new desirability rankings were announced.

“Inclusion on a growing number of these ‘Best of’ lists is a testament to the momentum of the city, driven largely by the commitments of our voters to invest in public infrastructure and our dynamic economy. Additionally, it speaks to our city’s affordability, our educational institutions and our robust parks system,” he said.

Colorado Springs ranked No. 2 on the desirability scale in the two years previous to 2018. In claiming the top desirability spot this year, Colorado Springs unseated Honolulu, the No. 1 most desirable city last year. Honolulu ranked fourth in this year’s survey.

The city also topped Portland, Ore., (No. 2); Austin (No. 6); Seattle (No. 5) and Denver (No. 10) in the desirability survey.

“We’ve made incredible progress over the last couple of years, and with the rejuvenation of southwest downtown in full swing, I expect the popularity of our city to continue to increase,” Suthers said.

The U.S. News website posted the following portrayal of Colorado Springs in awarding its No. 2 Best Places to Live rankings:

“Colorado Springs might not jump off the map as an economic or cultural hub the way larger metro areas like Denver do. But in a quieter, gentler way, Colorado Springs has much to offer, including a low cost of living, a low unemployment rate and a variety of recreation and entertainment options.

“Colorado Springs attracts students, professionals and military personnel to the area with a cache of military bases and nationally ranked colleges. Plus, construction in Colorado Springs is booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks and cultural attractions.

“This area, which is filled with natural wonders of its own, has the additional allure of proximity to ski resorts like Aspen and Vail without the associated steep costs of living and high levels of traffic. And even though its quaint downtown doesn’t have a Bloomingdale’s or Lord & Taylor, Denver’s lineup of storefronts is just an hour’s drive away.”