It being election season in Austin, you’ve likely heard some candidate singing the city’s praises – or blasting Austin’s inclusion on various Top 10 lists as a sign of increasing cost.
KUT News likes to compile the city’s latest Top 10 accolades – but take it one step further, into a Top 10 list of our own. You can see our previous Top 10 list here.
As we wrote then, to get a gauge of just how many Austin-happy rankings are floating around, we look for “best cities” rankings including Austin over the last few months. And from that, we compiled this meta-master list, a Top 10 of the city’s most recent Top 10 rankings ranging from the apparent, to the arbitrary, to the really, really arbitrary. So without further ado:
According to Forbes, Austin’s projected economic growth rate from 2011 to 2016 is estimated to be about 6 percent, with a population growth of 2.8 percent, and a median income of $56,613. Forbes sees the growth as due to relatively lower taxes and real estate drawing people and businesses from other parts of the country – not that we know anything about that.
2. Strictly business: All that growth must mean a captive audience: Austin is named the best city to start a small business, according to the Business Journals (whose publications include an Austin outpost).
That ranking was arrived at through a formula accounting for “five-year population growth, five- and one-year private-sector employment growth, concentration of small businesses per 1,000 residents, one-year change in that concentration, and one-year growth in the number of small businesses.”
3. Golden years: Austin’s aging Baby Boomer populace may soon get more company: CBS’ MoneyWatch has Austin as the top place to retire.
The site says “the outdoors is the biggest attraction,” citing spring-fed swimming pools like Barton Springs, the scenic Hill Country, and nearly year-round warm temperatures.
4. A bunch of homebodies: Forbes once again ranks Austin high, placing it second on its list of the “Best Cities to Buy a Home Right Now.”
Forbes writes that homes in Austin are selling 20 percent faster than this time last year, with an average of 77 days on the market. Inventory levels are 19 percent lower than February 2011, and list prices have risen 12 percent in response. Is that good news for buyers, or sellers?
5. Permit me: In a similar vein, the Atlantic Cities, culling recently released 2011 census data, reported Austin had the second highest amount of construction activity and fifth highest amount of construction permits last year.
What does the Cities read into the data? “Among the ten metros with the highest rate of construction, all had above-average job growth over the past ten years, and none had experienced the huge home price declines that the hardest-hit areas did during the crash. Builders and developers are betting on metros with solid histories of job growth that escaped the worst of the housing crisis.”
6. A nice place to visit: U.S. News’ Travel website ranks Austin sixth among its “19 Best Affordable US Destinations.”
The thirfty accolade comes in large part to Austin’s budget-conscious student population. “Bargain-hunters will not have to lose out on an authentic Austin experience, since price tags are low at the majority of hotels and restaurants, most of which are said to be just as ‘weird’ as the city itself.”
7. Austin is soooo over: A trip down East Sixth Street argues for higher placement, but Travel and Leisure Magazine ranks Austin seventh on a list of “America’s Best Cities for Hipsters.”
According to Travel and Leisure, the city’s “tech-fluent locals” and edgy East Austin art galleries, bars, and food trucks contribute to its rank. Thanks a bunch, Travel and Leisure –it was already impossible to get a table at The Liberty on a Saturday night.
8. In Da Club: Our pals at U.S. News Travel rank Austin tenth out of “the 18 Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA.” Apparently having a large university in town is good for this sort of thing?
9. Porn this way: While we’re in a partying mood, here we’ll mention Austin is the tenth “Smuttiest City in America,” according to Men’s Health.
The magazine created its rankings by looking at numbers of porn films bought or rented, adult entertainment stores per capita, the number of porn-related Google searches, “and, for fans of soft-core, percentage of Cinemax-subscribing households.”
10. Crash: Another accolade the Chamber of Commerce might not rush to mention: Austin is the tenth-worst major metro for car accidents, according to a Men’s Health poll of the most dangerous cities for fatal car accidents. Austin earns a grade of F, coming in 91st out of 100.