May 16, 2023 - News

Seattle drops in "Best Places to Live" rankings — again

A photo of the Public Market sign at Pike Place Market with a sunset behind and a ferry crossing Elliott Bay.

A ferry and a commercial vessel traverse the Puget Sound near Pike Place Market. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Seattle is no longer among the nation's best places to live, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Driving the news: The publication's latest annual rankings rate Seattle as the 81st best place to live in the U.S., out of 150 metro areas analyzed.

  • That's a big drop from Seattle's 36th-place ranking last year — and a far cry from the No. 19 position the Emerald City enjoyed the year before that.

Context: Seattle's fall from grace follows Washington state as a whole recently losing its position as U.S. News & World Report's best state in the nation.

  • While the rankings are separate and focus on different geographic areas, they take into account some of the same factors, such as cost of living and access to education and health care, Devon Thorsby, U.S. News & World Report's real estate editor, told Axios.

Between the lines: Seattle still ranks high — No. 8 in the country — for overall well-being, meaning that people report they like living here, Thorsby said.

  • But other factors negatively affected Seattle's score, including low resilience to extreme weather events, crime and poor air quality, she said. (The latter is likely driven by wildfire smoke, which caused Seattle to have some of the worst air quality in the world for a short time last summer.)
  • The expense of living in Seattle— its "value score" — also was a factor, Thorsby said. Seattle has recently had some of the nation's highest rates of inflation and continues to have housing costs above the national average.

Of note: Spokane also lost ground in this year's "Best Places" rankings, falling from No. 98 in 2022 to No. 104.

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