Green Bay ranks as No. 1 best place to live, but where does DC land?

Maddie Langen and mother Stephanie Langen wear pink cheeseheads to show their support for breast cancer research before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

The city may be best known for its NFL team and the “Cheeseheads” who fill stands and cheer on their team, but according to a new ranking, Green Bay, Wisconsin, should also be known as the best place to live in the United States.

U.S. News and World Reports took a deep dive into the data, ranking the 150 most populous metropolitan areas on things such as value, desirability, job market and quality of life.

As for D.C., it found itself further down the list at No. 39.

Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News, said the nation’s capital ranked well when it comes to the job market because it is third best in the nation, with an average salary of over $80,000 for a single person. Schools, colleges and access to health care also worked in the city’s favor.

“I don’t think anyone in the D.C. area that is questioning it’s an extremely expensive place to live and that value, that affordability aspect is a big part of why D.C is at No. 39,” Thorsby said.

“The places that had an affordable cost of living when it comes to both housing and the cost of typical goods and services, and the places that offered a lot when it came to quality of life, tended to be the places that ranked the highest.”

As for Green Bay, Thorsby told WTOP the city ranked high on quality of life as housing costs are relatively low, and it has a “steady job market,” which allowed it to rise among the areas examined.

“Then when you also look at things like the cost of groceries or hiring a handyman, other typical goods and services that you pay for, compared to other metro areas, it remains very affordable and with that, you also have a high quality of life,” Thorsby said.

While not directly in response to inflation, Thorsby said that for the first time, U.S. News and World Reports looked at the costs of goods and services, such as hiring a handyman.

In this year’s ranking, Green Bay knocked Huntsville, Alabama, out of the top spot, which that city held last year. Thorsby said despite being pushed down to No. 2, Huntsville remains very desirable.

“It remains extremely affordable, and has an extremely strong job market, particularly with the number of aerospace jobs moving into the area,” he said.

Similar qualities helped Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; and Sarasota, Florida, to round out the top five.

See the whole ranking online on the U.S. News and World Reports’ website. 

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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