Ann Arbor, MI

This Michigan college town was ranked one of the "Best Places to Live" in the US

Ellen Eastwood

The US News & World Report does a biannual ranking of 150 US destinations to determine the most livable cities in America. The analysis takes into account many factors that go into a good quality of life, such as affordability, job market, good schools, natural beauty, things to do, and safety.

What's notable about these rankings is that the winners are not typically the country's top tourist destinations. Rather, they are smaller towns with a lot to offer. The top 3 are Huntsville, AL, Colorado Springs, CO, and Green Bay, WI.

Placing just outside of the top 10, Ann Arbor, MI was ranked the 11th most livable city in America.

What factors made Ann Arbor rank so highly?

The judges recognized Ann Arbor for having the charms of a small town and the amenities of a larger city.

Ann Arbor is a city of contrasts. It is at once rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech, counterculture and high society. Locals here enjoy all the trappings of a stereotypical Midwestern college town: a charming, historic main street lined with bookstores, gift shops, and taverns; a healthy mix of longtime residents and shorter-term passers-through; and plentiful cultural destinations and events.

A number of other attractive factors were mentioned, such as its proximity to larger city amenities in Detroit, high walkability, proximity to nature, and the ease of doing outdoor activities in any season.

The job market got a special mention, with the primary opportunities coming from the education sector, health care, and the software and technology markets.

Ann Arbor's education system also got a special nod, with high school graduates ranking higher than other cities of comparable size for college readiness. Indeed, a separate study by Wallethub ranked Ann Arbor as the "most educated city in America."

What are the implications of this ranking?

While there are few downsides to residing in a functioning, livable city, it can have an impact on the cost of living. With inflation on the rise, people are looking for more affordable cities, which will likely make Ann Arbor an attractive option for those seeking to relocate.

Recently, a local took to TikTok to observe how her rent had increased by $585/month in just two years. The city's housing market also saw an 11% increase from December 2021 to December 2022.

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