Austin ranks No. 12 in best places to live

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Austin placed highly in a recently released ranking of America’s top 50 cities, beating out Houston, Dallas and San Antonio by a wide margin.

Bloomberg Rankings and Businessweek.com worked together to evaluate the country’s largest cities on a scale that excluded affordability. Based on 16 components, Austin proved to be one of the best cities in the nation. The components included the number of restaurants, bars and museums as well as the city’s income, poverty, unemployment, crime and foreclosure rates.

“I imagine on a per capita basis, the number of entertainment outlets like bars and restaurants and that sort of thing is probably on the higher end,” said Beverly Kerr, vice president of research at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. “I think the thing with Austin is that it’s relatively concentrated, it’s easy to access a lot of those amenities that we have. Particularly downtown we have a lot more going on than you’ll see in a lot of other cities. I’m not surprised that we ranked well on that.”

Austin’s centrally located 209 bars and 1,818 restaurants, many of which offer live music, helped contribute to Austin’s high ranking according to the report.

According to Businessweek.com, Austin would have made the top ten were it not for a high property crime rate.

Although Austin ranked well with a violent crime rate of 523.3 per year, the property crime rate ranked on the other end of the spectrum according to Businessweek.com statistics. Austin’s yearly property crime rate was listed 6,245.5, which Kerr said can make it less attractive to migrants.

Austin’s low unemployment rate is one major factor that enhances the attractiveness of Austin, Kerr said.

“I think that’s something that people always look at — how likely it is that they’re going to be able to land a job,” Kerr said. “Austin’s jobs have been growing for quite a while now. We went into the recession later and came out earlier, so that’s always something that seems to be included and liked in this attractiveness rating.”

Printed on September 27, 2011 as: Austin ranks No. 12 in list of most livable American cities