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Study: Seattle is the best place to live, if you can afford it

Source: WalletHub

They like us, they really like us. Well, at least WalletHub does. Seattle was recently ranked the best big city to live in by the finance website when compared to 62 of the largest cities in the country, just edging out Virginia Beach and Austin.

What did we do to deserve this? The report used 56 “indicators of attractiveness” under five main dimensions to measure our awesomeness, including economy, quality of life, safety, affordability, and education and health. Seattle ranked first in economy, first in health and education, and sixth in quality of life.

But despite ranking so high on these factors, there is one aspect that Seattle places near the bottom — affordability. The Emerald City is 50th when it comes to affordability, though it wasn’t enough to weigh its overall ranking.

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The WalletHub study seems to imply that Seattle is a great place to live, if you can afford to live here. But KIRO Radio’s John Curley is not necessarily a fan of the alternative to rapid growth and gentrification.

“Always given a choice when people start screaming about gentrification, it’s like, ‘Hey, would you like to be Detroit? Wanna turn out like Cleveland?” Curley asked. “If you don’t want any gentrification, we can have something like that.”

The trade-offs for Seattle gentrification

With the exception of Virginia Beach and Colorado Springs, all of the cities in the top 10, including San Francisco at No. 4 and Portland at No. 7, did not have favorable affordability ratings. While not surprising, the trade-off for higher rents in each case appears to result in more prosperous local economies, higher education and hospital rankings, and a better quality of life. Cleveland and Detroit are 60th and 62nd on the list, respectively.

“I love the idea of having vitality,” Curley said. “I love that the idea of the city growing and people coming in and changing it for the better, and sometimes worse.”

What was the most competitive factor on the best city ranking? That would be “Most Coffee Shops per Capita.” Apparently Seattle found itself in a six-way tie with New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and San Francisco. Ours are probably better, of course.

While Seattle is a great place to live, a previous WalletHub study (they love doing these studies) found that we’re a terrible place to drive in. The city ranks 60th for hours spent in congestion per commuter. But at least we’re not doing that in a worse city.

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