October 13, 2020
Philadelphia dropped 16 spots in U.S. News and World Report's latest "Best Places to Live" rankings, falling to No. 118.
The annual list, published Tuesday, evaluates the most populous U.S. metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and desirability. The magazine increased its 2020-21 rankings to include 150 cities, up from 125 last year, giving Philly some added competition.
Philadelphia has slipped in the ranks during the past few years, dropping from No. 77 in 2017 to No. 98 in 2018 to No. 102 last year. Now, it's fallen even lower.
The cities were evaluated using a 10-point scorecard that considered the following factors: desirability, value, job market, quality of life and net migration.
Philadelphia received an overall score of 6.2 points. It scored 6.5 in desirability, 6.2 in value, 7.0 in job market, 5.6 in quality of life and 5.7 in net migration.
Still, U.S. News' analysis was mostly positive, citing the city's sports teams, food culture and various parks, but it also noted the long driving commutes, high poverty rate and cold winters. Here's more:
"Philadelphia offers a unique setting for an eclectic mix of modern lifestyles, mingling both the edgy and the sophisticated. History and art are pervasive in the city proper. Walking through downtown, you'll likely spot murals and mosaics coating the sides of industrial warehouses and ivy climbing the walls of 300-year-old brick buildings. Culture is well-established in Philly, too, as evidenced by the array of art galleries, music venues and theaters."
Several other nearby metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania also made the list, including Lancaster, Reading and Allentown. Here's how they fared:
• No. 51, Harrisburg, 6.7Trenton, which ranked No. 111 with a score of 6.3, was the only New Jersey metropolitan area on the list.
• No. 67, Lancaster, 6.6
• No. 77, Pittsburgh, 6.5
• No. 96, Reading, 6.3
• No. 106, York, 6.3
• No. 118, Philadelphia, 6.2
• No. 119, Allentown, 6.2
• No. 126, Scranton, 6.1
U.S. News, a publication known for its consumer advice and rankings, noted the coronavirus pandemic may have impacted this years' ranking by changing what Americans desire in a home.
"After a prolonged period of staying at home, people are taking a critical look at where they live, and many are looking to find a place they can feel happier, afford more or pursue new opportunities," U.S. News real estate editor Devon Thorsby said.
COVID-19 may have altered preferences for home size and the number of rooms.
"The Best Places rankings can help people examine the details they consider important in a larger community as they seek a house with a bigger yard or a spot that makes it easier for the whole family to quarantine safely together," Thorsby added.
The entire list, with a breakdown of each city's scorecard, can be viewed here.