YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — In its annual Best Places to Live report, U.S. News and World Report ranked Youngstown at 108 out of 125 metro areas in the United States. The Washington, D.C.-based publishing company bases the rankings on quality of life, job market, value and desirability.
Youngstown earned a 6.0 overall score, with desirability at 5.3, value at 7.3, job market at 4.7, quality of life at 6.5 and net migration at 4.9. U.S. News calculates its rankings based on an analysis of public data and user opinions, according to its website. Data is gathered from sources that include the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor and the company’s own resources.
In 2016, Youngstown placed within the top 100 at 77, and ranked 87 last year. This year, U.S. News added 25 metros to the list. So while some of the Youngstown area’s conditions may not have changed much from year to year, because there are more places being considered, “it causes some ranking changes to be greater or smaller,” said the company’s real estate editor, Devon Thornsby.
Still, Thornsby identifies the indices that contributed to the drop, specifically net migration and the job market, he said.
“The Youngstown metro area’s population shrank by about 1.8% between 2012 and 2016 when looking exclusively at net migration,” he said. “Additionally, the area’s high unemployment rate and low median annual salary lead to a drop in the job market ranking.”
Unemployment is at 6.6%, about 2.2% higher than the national average, the report finds. However, it cites “a recent surge in educational services” with Youngstown State University in increased job prospects, and the expansion of the Youngstown Business Incubator as a catalyst for putting the city in a position for opportunities in the tech industry.
Thornsby points out Youngstown’s affordability relative to income, or the area’s value metric. While the median salary is below the national average, the cost of living in Youngstown is just 26.65% of the median household income. This makes Youngstown the 35th most affordable place to live out of the 125 metro areas ranked.
This year’s value index – how comfortably the average resident of each metro area can afford to live within his means – shows that Youngstown offers “a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income,” U.S. News reports. Youngstown’s median home price is $82,442, according to the report, and average annual salary is $40,440, which is below the national average of $49,630.
The report includes a local profile written by Beth Ann Tabak-Jennings, content communications specialist with Seven Seventeen Credit Union. The profile was originally written in the fall of 2015 when Tabak-Jennings was public relations coordinator for Ohio Living Park Vista.
Youngstown fared much better in the Best Places to Retire report, ranking 49 out of 100. U.S. News gave the city a 6.5 overall score, with 8.2 for housing/affordability and 8.0 for health care.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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