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D.C. Among Top Big Cities in U.S., Report Finds

The District scored high among the list of best big cities in the U.S. to live in, according to a new report.

The personal finance website WalletHub ranked America’s 62 largest cities this week based on affordability, education and health, quality of life and safety.

Washington, D.C., earned a total score of 56.81 out of 100 possible points.

The city ranked sixth in safety and 10th in quality of life. It didn’t score as well in affordability, however.

Here’s how the District ranked in each category:

Affordability: 52

Economy: 27

Education and health: 24

Quality of life: 10

Safety: 6

Here are the top 10 big cities in America to live in, according to the report:

Seattle

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Austin, Texas

San Francisco

San Diego

Honolulu

Portland, Oregon

San Jose, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

New York City

For those who eat out a lot and like variety in their food options, the authors say New York City and San Francisco are the places to be, with both ranking in the top five for restaurants per capita. The two cities also cracked the top five in most coffee shops per capita and best walk score.

If safety is a priority, Virginia Beach or El Paso is the way to go.

Detroit ranked last among the biggest cities in the study, followed by Memphis and Cleveland.

Each city WalletHub looked at has at least 300,000 residents. More than 50 factors in all were taken into account, with the highest weight given to cost of living.

Other measurements they looked at include air quality, beaches per capita, violent crime rate, life expectancy, quality of public school systems, job opportunities, unemployment rate and homeownership rate.

The sample considered only the city proper in each case and excluded cities in the surrounding metro area.

The data came from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Council for Community and Economic Research, Chmura Economics & Analytics, TransUnion, Indeed, County Health Rankings, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and Walk Score.

Information also came from The Trust for Public Land, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Road Information Program, Environmental Protection Agency, Inrix, GreatSchools.org, Renwood RealtyTrac, Yelp and WalletHub’s own research.

As with all cities, local policymakers can do more to make it a city more attractive, researchers said.

“Local policymakers have a lot of influence in attracting and retaining new residents,” said Tonya Nashay Sanders-Thach, a WalletHub expert and associate professor for city and regional planning at the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

“In hot housing markets, they can adopt inclusionary zoning so that more affordable housing units are built,” she said. “They can ensure that public transportation is an efficient way for all residents to get to job centers and other attractions. They can focus on making quality K-12 education available to all of its families and having desirable recreation facilities. These are the things that new and current residents want and what will attract and retain each, respectively.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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