Last year, the District received a better ranking, which was No. 8. However, this year, it also ranked 12th among “the best places to retire.”
“The Washington, D.C., metro area has the perks of a large urban area. It’s serviced by an extensive public transit system and is home to plenty of restaurants, entertainment venues, a variety of museums, public parks, and other cultural sites,” notes the U.S. News report regarding D.C.’s place on the list.
“Meanwhile, each neighborhood in the District and its surrounding towns has its own atmosphere. Residents gather for block parties, mingle at dog parks and converse at coffee shops, creating an ambiance similar to that of a much smaller community,” the report adds.
U.S. News real estate editor Devon Thorsby told WTOP that D.C. still performs very well, despite the fall. “The job market is strong; median pay is high and the area’s schools are highly ranked. Still, factors such as the cost of living (24 percent of the median income, which puts D.C. in the bottom half of the list) and the morning commute (at an average 34 minutes, it’s second-worst, only better than New York) set the area back,” he explained.
“The rise in the cost of living in the D.C. area, especially when the population isn’t rising rapidly … shows a bit of a disconnect between the real estate market … and what the existing population in the area can afford,” added Thorsby.
The population of the D.C. metro area is fairly young, according to the report, which adds that the area has several universities, and provides ample job opportunities. “The area’s strong job market attracts people from around the world. Cultural variation can be seen throughout the metro area, from the colorful Chinatown archway to the Ethiopian and Latin American restaurants lining Adams Morgan’s streets,” the report says.
Austin, Texas took the top spot for the third consecutive year in the ranking. Several popular cities in the northeastern part of the country didn’t make it to the top 20 places this year.
U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the country to identify the best places to live in terms of quality of life, the job market, the value of living and the desire of the people to live there.