Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg metro again performs well on US News “Best Places” list

The beauty of the Susquehanna River and access to nature and the outdoors impressed the U.S. News judges.

The Harrisburg area is the 44th-best place to live in the country, according to the just-released annual list from U.S. News & World Report.

The editors praised Harrisburg for its affordability, easy access to outdoor activities and “small-town” atmosphere. While U.S. News analyzed the metropolitan area, much of the praise was focused on the city.

“Singles and younger residents might be more inclined to live downtown or in Midtown, near restaurants and nightlife, especially if they work downtown,” stated the entry. “Older couples and families might be more attracted to the bigger space and better schools that suburban areas like Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg and Hershey have to offer.”

U.S. News ranked 125 metro areas based on five general criteria: desirability, value, job market, quality of life and net migration. Harrisburg scored best on the “value” measure.

Last year, U.S. News also ranked Harrisburg as the 44th “best place” to live in the nation and the best metro area in Pennsylvania.

The editors were especially struck by the Harrisburg area’s affordable housing and beautiful setting near the river and mountains.

“While Harrisburg isn’t necessarily regarded as an affluent area, its housing market is exceedingly affordable,” said the entry. “That, coupled with a cost of living well below the national average, may result in a greater expendable income for Harrisburg residents than those in other parts of the country—especially given that the average annual salary in the area isn’t all that much lower than the national average.”

Like last year, the U.S. News compilers ranked Austin, Texas, as their “best place” to live for 2019. Colorado Springs, Colo., and Denver switched spots at No. 2 and 3, respectively.

Washington, D.C., fell precipitously from last year, falling to No. 19 from No. 8 in 2018.

The rankings for other Pennsylvania cities this year included Lancaster at No. 48, Pittsburgh at No. 50, Reading at No. 84, York at No. 87, Allentown at No. 93, Scranton at No. 98, and Philadelphia at No. 102.

U.S. News also ranks central Pennsylvania very highly in “best places” to retire, with Harrisburg coming in at No. 29 and Lancaster at No. 1 in the nation.

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