We’re No. 6

Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked sixth in the nation of best places to live in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey.

Winning the whole thing would’ve been nice, but we’re just happy to be in the same company as Des Moines, Iowa, Fayetteville, Ark., Austin, Texas, Denver, and Colorado Springs, Colo.

It’s our “approachable Midwestern feel” that pushed us over the top, according to U.S. News.

Oh, and we’ve got skyways. That impressed.

The metro ranked highest for jobs, and also for the cost of housing/household income ratio.

The survey noted our average commuting time of 25.3 minutes is one minute less than the national average. The average annual income ($56,030) is $6,000 higher than the national average. The 2.7 percent unemployment rate is 1.2 percentage points lower than the national average. The crime rate is lower than the national average.

Last year, Minneapolis-St. Paul finished ninth in the survey.

Curiously, the area doesn’t do so well in the magazine’s accompanying list of best places to retire where it finishes 70th (20 places behind Des Moines) although U.S. News doesn’t indicate what our problem is other than showing a comparatively low score for health care.

But, perhaps, our ranking isn’t surprising. Few of the cities listed as the best places to live rank high on best places to retire, indicative of the notion that people are settling for less in their later years.

  • Brian Simon

    “rank high on best places to retire, indicative of the notion that people are settling for less in their later years.”

    Settling for less, or the criteria are different? Or are you just trying to live up to the curmudgeon misnomer on the newscut promo?

    • I’m sure there are different criteria but a place is either the best place to live or it isn’t. Unless the claim is that retirees don’t consider quality of life, culture, education, economy, traffic to be important.

      There obviously are different criteria for retirees, but if retirees are excluded from a list of best places to live in the original survey, than it’s either not really the best place to live, or retirees are only interested in going to “God’s waiting room” to make the Social Security check stretch a little further.

      that’s what settling for less is.

      • Postal Customer

        I wonder if MN-native retirees living in FL or CA are looking at our weather and wondering if they’re settling for less.

        MN has a lot going for it. Weather is not one of those things, and weather is important to a lot of people. When I retire, weather will be pretty much my number one consideration.

        • Some people like skiing and ice fishing and hockey.

          • Rob

            That’s the way to snowbird; come to Minnesota for a week or two during the winter, visit family and friends, and enjoy some frozen activities.

        • PaulMN

          Yeah… I retired from my job in Rochester 5 years ago. I now spend my winters in warmer, sunnier climates like CA, AZ, and FL. MN is one of only a handful of states that taxes Social Security. Overall MN taxes for retirees are significantly higher than AZ or FL.
          I will likely move to AZ in the future and visit MN during the summer months.

          • Ah, well snowbirds are a different story, you’re getting the best of both worlds. But I reject the idea that the categories that establish Minnesota as the BEST disappear at retirement. I suspect that’s why those who can afford it don’t give the state up but “settle” for less during the winter months.

          • KariBemidji

            I have a few volunteers who in their words ‘have failed at retirement’. They tried living part time down south – didn’t like the weather, lifestyle, what the education system produces, healthcare, crowds, etc. Going south for a few weeks is more conducive than living there full or part time.

          • Rob

            Prescott or Flagstaff?

        • Barton

          Weather will also figure on my places to retire, and that’s why I’ll be staying in Minnesota. I’ve done my time in the south: I want seasons and I don’t want to spend more than my mortgage payment on attempting to cool a house.

      • Rob

        From surveys I’ve seen, lower taxes is one of the utmost criteria for best retiree places to live. Myself, I’d rather have my base of operations in a state with good services – which means taxes are likely to be higher. And generally, in places that look after their residents better, the cultural, educational, and economic aspects are better also.

        That’s why it’s nice to visit towns and cities located in Arizona, Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico – especially for several weeks at a time during the winter. But living year-round in a low-tax/low services locale? Fuhgedaboudit.

      • QuietBlue

        I think the premise itself — that there’s an objective best place to live for everyone — is inherently flawed. People have so many different individual criteria and deal-breakers that it’s not possible to identify a place as the best for everyone.

  • J Allen

    When you retire a lot of things can change in your life, so it does make sense to rank cities for retirees separately.

    • Like what?

      • J Allen

        The biggest one is that you don’t have to work, hopefully, so you’re no longer tied to where your job is. You also, again hopefully, will have more time and enough money to spend on the things you enjoy. You might also want to do something completely different with your life than you’ve done before. And of course aging brings many changes too, with the obvious example being a desire to be someplace warmer in winter.

  • Rob

    I’ll bet that if the survey was taken after the Final Four and the first MN United game at Allianz Stadium, we’d be #5…

  • Joe

    Jobs was a major component of this, and I would imagine plays a minor (or nonexistent) role in the best places to retire. All of the things you mentioned in your blog don’t really matter either: commuting time, average wage, unemployment rate.

    • Commuting time is traffic and retired people go places. Jobs and unemployment is tax revenue to the state and that has an impact on state budget and that impacts retired people. Other categories like culture and education mostly certainly matter to retired people. And then there’s “quality of life” which is the deal that usually seals these things for Minnesota.

      The fact snowbirds go back and forth based on weather indicate that these things appeal more to them than what’s in the south.

      So for at least a few months of the year, the retirees settle for god’s waiting room.

  • Credit Warrior

    Been retired almost 9 years. Stayed in MN. Love the outdoors, the change in seasons, small town living, fishing, hunting, friends and family. Cost of living and taxes often force those on a fixed income to find cheaper places to live. I believe many retirees leave MN after retiring as the per capita taxes collected which includes income, sales, real estate are in the top 10 highest rates in the nation.

    • Yes, I think that’s right. They move to the not-best places pretty much for one reason.