Youngstown Ranked as One of the ‘Best Places to Live’ in the US

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. News & World Report has ranked Youngstown as the 62nd best place to live among 150 metro areas analyzed. 

According to the magazine’s rankings, Youngstown is the second best place to live in Ohio and the second cheapest place to live overall.

In Ohio, the rankings placed Youngtown behind Cincinnati, which came in at 50th, but ahead of Columbus, 69th; Toledo, 84th; Cleveland, 97th; and Dayton, 141st.

The rankings look at quality of life, the job market, the value of living there and people’s desire to live there.

Additionally, Youngstown ranks 21st and 22nd, respectively, for best place to retire and safest places to live.

Despite concerns locally about violence and property crimes, the study determined that in 2020, Youngstown had a lower than average crime rate for a city of its size and lower than the national rate with 137.2 violent crimes and 1,158.3 property crimes per 100,000 people.

While the study pointed out the average annual salary in Youngstown is $45,090, which is less than the national average of $58,260, it also pointed out the average home cost ($129,969) in 2021 was nearly one-third of the national average ($365,616). Additionally, it lists that the costs of utilities, food expenses and medical costs in Youngstown all fall well below the national average.

Linda Macala, executive director of the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said sometimes the people living here do not recognize all the benefits Youngstown has to offer.

“Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies, because people just talk down – ‘Oh there’s nothing to do here.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s not accurate. We need to start being proud of where we live instead of just downgrading it.”

The U.S. News rankings talk about the wide range of activities available at Mill Creek MetroParks, more than 20,000 works of art at The Butler Institute of American Art and the variety of performances at the DeYor Performing Arts Center and Stambaugh Auditorium. Those doing the rankings also recognized events held at Covelli Centre, including the Youngstown Phantoms hockey team; the Mahoning Valley Scrappers; wineries; breweries; and restaurants. Finally, the rankings list the nearly 175-year-old Canfield Fair.

“This is what we do day in and day out. We promote visitation to this area, and as people come to know it, hopefully changing preconceptions and showing people the best of what we have to offer here,” Macala said of the convention and visitors bureau activities.

“You know every time a business considers relocating or something like that, it all starts with a visit,” Macala said. “So their first impression when they come to an area is very important. Showing off the best of what we have here, as far as quality of life, things to do in the area, outdoor recreation, arts and culture, food that can be topped no where else … and just the affordability of living here. We have a wonderful university here.”

She pointed to recent interviews by The Business Journal with Jim Kinnick, executive director of Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, about the importance of rebuilding the Mahoning Valley workforce. Kinnick talked about the opportunities coming to the area by 2026 and 2030, which will create the need for more people. Youngstown will need more people who can take on new jobs and handle the current work of an aging population.

“When people start to notice from outside of the area, hopefully it makes you think about it and put a positive spin on things,” Macala said.

“We do our very best to tell a positive story about our area, and if people are paying attention, that’s great,” Macala said. “Hope it is helping in some small way.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.