Have a good job and house? Chances are you often have a hell of a commute. Or if you have a good commute and quality job, your apartment likely costs a lot. Finding a balance between all 3 things is pretty tough. But a new study from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis says you and your family can have it all. What’s the catch? You have to move to Des Moines, Omaha, or Oklahoma City.
Lehner and a team of researchers compared the quality of life, affordability, and economic strength of 100 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. using extensive data from the Census Bureau, the American Community Survey, the Bureau Of Economic Analysis, and others (which you can find here). Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma were the only states with cities that had all 3, but only 15 cities scored well overall. Cincinnati was affordable with a high quality of life, whereas Houston’s affordability came with a side of economic advantages – and ideally, barbecue.
Boise, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland had a high quality of life (not that kind of high, Seattle and Portland) and strong economies. But if those aspects are the most important to your family, it comes at a cost. That’s mostly due to market forces. “People want to live in cities with a strong economy and high quality of life,” says Lehner. “Increased demand for housing leads to higher prices and lower affordability.”
The good news (and bad news) is that the opposite is true as well. If affordable housing is a priority, you might have to move a metropolitan area that’s a bit of a fixer-upper in other areas, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. Once you’ve done your job, you can always leave. Right, Kevin Durant?