Oh, look. Another website declaring itself the supreme arbiter of standards of living has issued a ranking of the best cities in the United States. Livability, a site devoted to ranking towns, cities, and states, is out with the 2015 model year edition of its 100 Best Places to Live list, and Arlington is ranked third among all small and midsize cities.
Arlington—created in 1846 when it was lopped off from the District—gets plaudits for high median household income ($102,459), along with its underground Metro stations, high-density development, and the “urban village” of Rosslyn and Ballston. But Livability also defines Arlington largely by its attachment to DC, which gives the 209,000-population county a very transient character.
“Like a giant college town, many residents come to work for an administration and leave after four or eight years when that administration is out of office,” Livability writes. “But many also choose to settle down and stay for the safety, parks, easy access to D.C. on the Metro or by joining the more than 1,000 people who bike across the bridges each day into the capital.”
Only Madison, Wisconsin—an actual college town—and Rochester, Minnesota, ranked higher on Livability’s chart.
There’s a brief nod to Arlington’s restaurant scene, but this list does not place too high a premium on Arlington’s culture. Being ranked the third-best place to live is nice, but it doesn’t do too much to fend off New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s recent admission that she moved her family across the river to Capitol Hill to escape Arlington’s “soulless” suburban doldrums.
The Washington region did well in Livability’s top 100 small and midsize cities, which is quite an accomplishment, considering this is from the same website that brought us equally weighty rankings like Ten Unique Popsicles Summer and Where to Find Them. Rockville is number 19, Alexandria is number 63, and Silver Spring is number 72. Tysons Corner and North Bethesda made the list, too, though not Bethesda proper.
Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.