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Ranking: Ann Arbor one of best places in US to live, retire

A section of the Huron River Water Trail.
A section of the Huron River Water Trail. (Credit: Destination Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – U.S. News & World Report released its 2020-21 Best Places to Live and Best Places to Retire rankings, and it comes as no surprise that Ann Arbor ranks high on both.

This year, Ann Arbor ranked the No. 7 best place to retire in the country and No. 12 best place to live. In other rankings, it was ranked the No. 1 best place to live in Michigan and No. 2 best place to live for quality of life.

In order to determine the best places to live, U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas across the country and based their rankings based on the job market, quality of life, people’s desire to live there, the value of living there and net migration.

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Its methodology in determining the best places to retire included ranking retirement scores based on the following indexes:

  • Housing Affordability
  • Happiness
  • Desirability
  • Retiree Taxes
  • Job Market
  • Health Care Quality

Overall, Ann Arbor ranked high for value and quality of life.

The city would have ranked higher on the retirement list had it not been for its mediocre affordable housing score of 5.9 out of 10. In contrast, its healthcare was ranked 8.3 out of 10.

Here’s what U.S. News had to say about Ann Arbor:

"Ann Arbor is a city of contrasts. It is at once rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech, counterculture and high society. It is best known as the home of the University of Michigan, and locals here enjoy all the trappings of a stereotypical Midwestern college town: a charming, historic main street lined with bookstores, gift shops and taverns; a healthy mix of longtime residents and shorter-term passers-through; and plentiful cultural destinations and events.

"At the same time, its proximity to reenergized Detroit, fast-growing startup scene, international community, spirit of inclusivity and high walkability give “Tree Town” a feel not unlike that of a much larger city. Aside from the university, excellent public schools, an increasingly diverse job market, a robust public parks system and low crime rates make Ann Arbor an attractive place to live for locals of all ages.

“Set amid rolling hills and bisected by the Huron River, Ann Arbor features options for outdoor recreation throughout the year, from kayaking and mountain biking in warmer months to snowshoeing and ice skating in the winter. The city was established in the mid-1800s, and the original residential areas that encircle the central business district are still full of homes from that era. Higher-density housing is common both on the city’s outskirts and, more recently, in the downtown core, where easy access to cultural, dining and entertainment destinations is attracting a growing number of full-time residents.”

On both rankings, Ann Arbor scored a 7.2 out of 10.

Here are some quick stats about Tree Town, according to U.S News:

  • Metro population: 365,961
  • Median age: 33.4
  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • Average annual salary: $55,130
  • Median monthly rent: $1,083
  • Average commute time: 24 minutes

In 2019, homes in Ann Arbor cost over $30,000 more than the national average, according to Zillow.

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