DC drops 11 spots in latest U.S. News ‘Best Places to Live’ ranking

Aerial drone view Austin Texas Perfect Texas flag flying in front of Austin Texas downtown skyline cityscape sunny perfect day
No. 1 Austin, Texas People are still moving, though not as many as in past years, to the Lone Star State’s capital due to its good weather, access to outdoor space, higher education institutions and live music scene. (Getty Images)
FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015, file photo, the gold-covered dome on the state Capitol shines in the late afternoon sun in downtown Denver. Democrats buoyed by a wave of anti-Trump political activism are not only trying to wrest control of some legislatures from Republicans in the 2018 election, they're also striving to tighten their hold in states where they already have an edge, or where control is split, to pass legislation ranging from gun control, to taxation to health care. In Colorado and New York, Democrats hope to win one more seat in each state senate to gain control of both legislatures. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
No. 2 Denver, Colorado The capital of Colorado moved up one spot in the rankings due to its desirability and quality of life scores, even though it’s not a cheap place to live. The Mile High City has a lot going for it, especially its access to the Rocky Mountains, which are about an hour away. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Snow covered Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs at the base of 14000 foot Pikes Peak in the wintertime.
No. 3 Colorado Springs, Colorado Colorado Springs is an extremely attractive place to live, literally, as you can see here from this photo of the snow-covered Garden of the Gods Park at the base of 14,000 foot Pikes Peak. That helps keep it in the magazine’s top five for another year, even though it dropped one spot behind Denver, its neighbor a couple hours to the north. (Getty Images)
Old Main on the University of Arkansas campus. (Thinkstock)
No. 4 Fayetteville, Arkansas The home of the University of Arkansas (this photo shows Old Main on the University of Arkansas campus) moves up one spot on the list due to its access to higher education, the outdoors and a growing economy. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Thinkstock)
In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018, photo, the Des Moines River water flows over the Center Street Dam, in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. US cities are building whitewater courses and encouraging greater use of urban waterways, but the efforts come as they struggle with pollution in their rivers. In Des Moines, officials support a $117 million plan to attract paddlers to often polluted rivers in the city’s downtown and suburbs. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
No. 5 Des Moines, Iowa Classic homes, a vibrant metro area of 600,000 that still comes with a small-town feel, a low cost of living and access to good jobs keeps the state’s capital in the top five this year, despite a one spot drop. The city is working to clean up the Des Moines River and turn the city into a destination for paddlers. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
A cyclist decked out in cold weather gear rides past the city skyline and a frozen Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. A blast of polar air enveloped much of the Midwest on Wednesday, closing schools and businesses and straining infrastructure across the Rust Belt with some of the lowest temperatures in a generation. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP)
No. 6 Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota As this photo shows, there’s no doubt Minneapolis is cold in the winter, but the Twin Cities area is becoming more and more attractive due to its historic neighborhoods, museums and amenities associated with big cities. It moved up three places from the No. 9 spot last year. This past winter, however, the city endured some of the lowest temperatures in a generation. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP) (AP/Anthony Souffle)
San Francisco Skyline with Dramatic Clouds at Sunrise, California, USA
No. 7 San Francisco, California San Francisco experienced a big jump in the rankings this year, moving up from No. 20 due to a hot job market, a high quality of life score and a high desirability score despite high housing costs. There’s no doubt it’s a great city in a great region, but beware: even though San Francisco residents can receive high salaries, it’s one of the least affordable cities in the U.S. and the commute is also one of the country’s worst. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/heyengel) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/heyengel)
A rainbow pops out under dark rain clouds over the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, May 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
No. 8 Portland, Oregon Portland fell back a couple of spots in this year’s rankings, but it’s still a great place to live if you’re interested in a quirky culture, unique doughnuts, access to lots of outdoor activities and a solid job market boosted by big companies like Intel and a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the U.S. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) (AP/Don Ryan)
Visitors peer inside the Pike Place Market Starbucks, commonly referred to as the original Starbucks, shortly before its closing for the day Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Seattle. The first Starbucks cafe was located nearby in the early 1970's. Starbucks closed more than 8,000 stores nationwide on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking to try to restore its tarnished image as a hangout where all are welcome. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
No. 9 Seattle, Washington Seattle moved up one spot in this year’s ranking. Here, visitors peer inside the Pike Place Market Starbucks, commonly referred to as the original Starbucks. Actually, the first Starbucks cafe was located nearby in the early 1970s. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (AP/Elaine Thompson)
This Jan. 28, 2019 photo shows the entrance to the main Duke University campus in Durham, N.C. The Duke University professor and administrator who sparked an outcry by admonishing students for speaking Chinese has issued a personal apology amid an internal review by the school. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
No. 10 Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina The area considered the research triangle, which includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, moved up from No. 13. Duke University is just one of the well-known schools in the area, which also draws people due to its green spaces, technology companies and museums. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (AP/Gerry Broome)
Here is the token nighttime long exposure shot of the U.S. Capital building in Washington D.C.
No. 19 Washington, D.C. While the District did drop in this year’s rankings, it’s still one of the most desirable places to live in the eastern part of the U.S. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Jesse Stafford) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Jesse Stafford)
In this Jan. 27, 2019, traffic passes by the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson at the intersection Traffic passes by the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson at the intersection of Monument Avenue and The Boulevard in Richmond, Va. A city councilwoman and others are attempting to get the Boulevard named after tennis star Arthur Ashe. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
No. 53 Richmond, Virginia The Virginia state capital moved up one spot in the rankings this year. It’s home to stately houses, wide streets, a growing university (VCU), plenty of dining and entertainment options, and the cost of living is lower than many other east coast cities. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Baltimore, Maryland, USA Skyline over the Inner Harbor at dusk. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Sean Pavone)
No. 100 Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore was the only Maryland city to make the list, but it dropped from No. 83 in 2018. It continues to grow and is well-situated between both Washington and Philadelphia. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Sean Pavone)
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Aerial drone view Austin Texas Perfect Texas flag flying in front of Austin Texas downtown skyline cityscape sunny perfect day
FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015, file photo, the gold-covered dome on the state Capitol shines in the late afternoon sun in downtown Denver. Democrats buoyed by a wave of anti-Trump political activism are not only trying to wrest control of some legislatures from Republicans in the 2018 election, they're also striving to tighten their hold in states where they already have an edge, or where control is split, to pass legislation ranging from gun control, to taxation to health care. In Colorado and New York, Democrats hope to win one more seat in each state senate to gain control of both legislatures. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Snow covered Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs at the base of 14000 foot Pikes Peak in the wintertime.
Old Main on the University of Arkansas campus. (Thinkstock)
In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018, photo, the Des Moines River water flows over the Center Street Dam, in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. US cities are building whitewater courses and encouraging greater use of urban waterways, but the efforts come as they struggle with pollution in their rivers. In Des Moines, officials support a $117 million plan to attract paddlers to often polluted rivers in the city’s downtown and suburbs. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
A cyclist decked out in cold weather gear rides past the city skyline and a frozen Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. A blast of polar air enveloped much of the Midwest on Wednesday, closing schools and businesses and straining infrastructure across the Rust Belt with some of the lowest temperatures in a generation. (Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP)
San Francisco Skyline with Dramatic Clouds at Sunrise, California, USA
A rainbow pops out under dark rain clouds over the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, May 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Visitors peer inside the Pike Place Market Starbucks, commonly referred to as the original Starbucks, shortly before its closing for the day Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Seattle. The first Starbucks cafe was located nearby in the early 1970's. Starbucks closed more than 8,000 stores nationwide on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking to try to restore its tarnished image as a hangout where all are welcome. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
This Jan. 28, 2019 photo shows the entrance to the main Duke University campus in Durham, N.C. The Duke University professor and administrator who sparked an outcry by admonishing students for speaking Chinese has issued a personal apology amid an internal review by the school. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Here is the token nighttime long exposure shot of the U.S. Capital building in Washington D.C.
In this Jan. 27, 2019, traffic passes by the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson at the intersection Traffic passes by the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson at the intersection of Monument Avenue and The Boulevard in Richmond, Va. A city councilwoman and others are attempting to get the Boulevard named after tennis star Arthur Ashe. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Baltimore, Maryland, USA Skyline over the Inner Harbor at dusk. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Sean Pavone)

A year ago, the District ranked No. 8 on the Best Places to Live ranking from U.S. News and World Report. This year, it’s a much different story.

Despite a stable job market and good quality of life, D.C.’s high cost of living and a number of people leaving the city prompted the magazine to drop the District 11 spots to No. 19 on the list of the top 125 places to live in the U.S.

For the third straight year, Austin, Texas took the top spot, while a number of seemingly popular cities in the northeastern part of the country failed to crack the top 20.

For example, while many people are drawn to the bright lights and skyscrapers of New York, the Big Apple checks in way down the list at No. 90.

The publication compiled its list based on the following rubric: a city’s job market strength, including jobs and median income, was worth 20%; its cost of living was worth 25%; quality of life , including schools and morning commute time, was worth 30%; and the combination of whether people wanted to move to a city and the net number of people moving into or leaving a city (desirability index and net migration) were worth a cumulative 25%.

Data in the rankings came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. News’ own research.

“D.C still performs very well, of course,” U.S. News real estate editor Devon Thorsby told WTOP — 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.

D.C.’s not alone — much of the Northeast didn’t fare very strongly.

“I think a lot of it is due to affordability,” Thorsby said. That is seen most clearly in housing prices, particularly around the District: “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.”

Cities with a big jump between 2018 and this year included Asheville, North Carolina (24 to 16) and Sarasota, Florida (34 to 18). See the full ranking in the table below:

1 Austin  TX
2 Denver  CO
3 Colorado Springs  CO
4 Fayetteville  AR
5 Des Moines  IA
6 Minneapolis-St. Paul  MN
7 San Francisco  CA
8 Portland  OR
9 Seattle  WA
10 Raleigh/Durham  NC
11 Huntsville  AL
12 Madison  WI
13 Grand Rapids  MI
14 San Jose  CA
15 Nashville  TN
16 Asheville  NC
17 Boise  ID
18 Sarasota  FL
19 Washington  DC
20 Charlotte  NC
21 Dallas-Fort Worth  TX
22 Greenville  SC
23 Portland  ME
24 Salt Lake City  UT
25 Melbourne  FL
26 Phoenix  AZ
27 Boston  MA
28 Albany  NY
29 Lexington-Fayette  KY
30 Houston  TX
31 Winston-Salem  NC
32 Omaha  NE
33 Reno  NV
34 San Antonio  TX
35 Fort Myers  FL
36 San Diego  CA
37 Pensacola  FL
38 Indianapolis  IN
39 Cincinnati  OH
40 Fort Wayne  IN
41 Lansing  MI
42 Jacksonville  FL
43 Manchester  NH
44 Harrisburg  PA
45 Charleston  SC
46 Knoxville  TN
47 Hartford  CT
48 Lancaster  PA
49 Kansas City  MO
50 Pittsburgh  PA
51 Columbus  OH
52 Buffalo  NY
53 Richmond  VA
54 Syracuse  NY
55 Chattanooga  TN
56 Tampa  FL
57 Atlanta  GA
58 Rochester  NY
59 Lakeland  FL
60 Honolulu  HI
61 Milwaukee  WI
62 Worcester  MA
63 Orlando  FL
64 Louisville  KY
65 Spokane  WA
66 Greensboro  NC
67 Columbia  SC
68 Oklahoma City  OK
69 Dayton  OH
70 Anchorage  AK
71 Las Vegas  NV
72 Augusta  GA
73 Santa Barbara  CA
74 Santa Rosa  CA
75 Myrtle Beach  SC
76 Tucson  AZ
77 Salem  OR
78 Port St. Lucie  FL
79 Wichita  KS
80 Springfield  MO
81 St. Louis  MO
82 Sacramento  CA
83 Tulsa  OK
84 Reading  PA
86 Springfield  MA
86 Springfield  MA
87 York  PA
88 Little Rock  AR
89 Birmingham  AL
90 New York  NY
91 Providence  RI
92 Detroit  MI
93 Allentown  PA
94 Toledo  OH
95 New Haven  CT
96 Lafayette  LA
97 Youngstown  OH
98 Scranton  PA
99 Daytona Beach  FL
100 Baltimore  MD
101 Killeen  TX
102 Philadelphia  PA
103 Virginia Beach  VA
104 Chicago  IL
105 Corpus Christi  TX
106 Albuquerque  NM
107 Los Angeles  CA
108 Beaumont  TX
109 Baton Rouge  LA
110 El Paso  TX
111 Jackson  MS
112 McAllen  TX
113 Miami  FL
114 New Orleans  LA
115 Flint  MI
116 Brownsville  TX
117 Salinas  CA
118 Memphis  TN
119 Fresno  CA
120 Modesto  CA
121 Mobile  AL
122 Shreveport  LA
123 Stockton  CA
124 Bakersfield  CA
125 San Juan  PR

WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report.

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