Fayetteville makes top 10 list of best places to live for sixth year in a row

Point 7 – Castle at Wilson Park / Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Fayetteville was once again ranked within the top 10 best places to live in the country by U.S. News & World Report in its annual “Best Places to Live” report.

With its No. 4 ranking, it’s the sixth year in a row for Fayetteville to be included near the top of the list. The city was named No. 3 in 2016, No. 5 in both 2017 and 2018, No. 4 in 2019, and No. 8 in 2020.

“Located in a region that’s experiencing drastic growth, Fayetteville – together with Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale – has transformed from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce and entrepreneurialism,” according to the report.

At the top chart for the second year in a row is Boulder, Colorado. Others near the top of the list include Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The list ranks the 150 most populous metropolitan areas in the country based on affordability, job prospects and desirability. It takes into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, according to U.S. News, has led some Americans to re-evaluate where to settle down.

“This year we’re looking at how the most populous metro areas in the U.S. fared for much of the coronavirus pandemic, and seeing how far they’ll need to come to recover,” said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that many metro areas that saw unemployment levels skyrocket in 2020 fell in the rankings, but those with greater employment stability tended to fare well.”

In addition, a rising cost of living – which factors into the value score – contributed to areas like Austin, Colorado Springs and Denver dropping slightly in the rankings.

“Housing affordability is always of great concern, but as people solidify their plans to work remotely, struggle to find a house in a hot housing market or consider a cross-country move, a low cost of living is even more important,” said Thorsby.

Fayetteville received a value index of 8.3 out of a possible 10, meaning the city offers a better value than similarly sized cities when comparing housing costs to median household income. Fayetteville also received a 7.9 out of 10 in the report’s net migration score, which measures whether an area is actually attracting new residents.

“I am extremely proud that Fayetteville has once again been ranked among the top 10 best places to live,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “This recognition by a national publication confirms what those of us who live here are already well aware of – that Fayetteville is a great place to live, work, and play. It is a fine tribute to our wonderful community of people who care so very much and work together to make ours a model city for the rest of the nation.”