Pulling Rank

San Antonio slips 34 spots in prestigious ranking of best places to live in the U.S.

San Antonio slips 34 spots in ranking of best places to live in U.S.

San Antonio River Walk skyline with park
San Antonio is still in the top 100, but has dropped in rank significantly from last year’s ranking. Photo by dszc/Getty Images

Despite being referred to as a city that’s “as comfortable as an old pair of jeans,” San Antonio has lost some of its allure, at least according to one prestigious ranking of the country’s best places to dwell.

The Alamo City has slipped further down U.S. News & World Report’s closely watched annual list of the best places to live in the U.S.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Places to Live ranking, released July 13, ranks San Antonio at No. 75, a whopping 34 spots lower than the previous year’s ranking of No. 41. 

Austin is the only Texas metro area to show up in the top 25 of this year’s U.S. News & World Report ranking, landing at No. 5 among the country’s biggest metro areas. But even that’s a dip of two spots from the area’s No. 3 ranking in 2020.

Boulder, Colorado, appears at No. 1 on this year’s list, followed by Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, at No. 2; Huntsville, Alabama, at No. 3; and Fayetteville, Arkansas, at No. 4.

Though the publication does note San Antonio’s “big-city amenities,” “slightly lower cost of living” from the national average, and “300 days of sunshine per year” those benefits are apparently not significant enough to overcome the area’s insufficient public transportation, which it scores as well below the national average because it “doesn’t provide enough coverage to make it convenient to all residents.”

Also bringing the city’s ranking down: San Antonio’s job market, which U.S. News & World Report says is “less healthy” than job markets in other similarly sized metro areas, despite the 7.3 percent unemployment rate being slightly lower than the national average for 2020.

Though Austin is the only city in the Lone Star State to land in the top 25 of this year’s U.S. News & World Report ranking, several other Texas cities did make the cut. Dallas-Fort Worth landed at No. 37, Houston at No. 39, Killeen-Temple at No. 114, Beaumont-Port Arthur at No. 124, Corpus Christi at No. 129, El Paso at No. 131, McAllen at No. 139, and Brownsville at No. 140.

For the ranking, U.S. News & World Report crunched data for the country’s 150 biggest metro areas. The data encompasses affordability, job prospects, desirability, quality of life, and migration patterns.

“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,” says Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News & World Report. “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.”