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Three Texas cities top list of downtown living experience by study

The study delved into metrics like cost of living, apartment options, entertainment life, and other urban features.
Credit: AP
FILE - This Jan. 14, 2011, file photo shows highway IH-30 traffic with the Dallas skyline in the background. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

DALLAS — A new study has named Dallas as the nation's best place for downtown living.

The study, conducted by StorageCafe, took the 30 most-populous cities and matched the zip codes for each (treating each New York City borough as an independent city), then ranked them based on the following criteria and their respective weightings: 

  • Rent-to-income ratio — 12.5% (Yardi Matrix, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey: 2021)
  • Total number of apartment units — 12.5% (Yardi Matrix)
  • Apartment living space/person — 7.5% (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey: 2020)
  • Percent of apartments located in green properties — 7.5% (Yardi Matrix)
  • Percent of fitness centers within rental complexes — 7.5% (Yardi Matrix)
  • Percent of apartments located in luxury properties — 7.5% (Yardi Matrix)
  • Crime rate — 10% (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • Cost of groceries — 7.5% (Council for Community and Economic Research)
  • Electric vehicle public charging stations — 5% (U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Restaurants/1,000 people — 5% (U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns by Industry: 2020)
  • Theaters/1,000 people — 5% (U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns by Industry: 2020)
  • Retail stores/1,000 people — 5% (U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns by Industry: 2020)
  • Percent of educated population (holding a BA degree or higher) — 7.5% (U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey: 2021)

After all was said and done, Dallas came out on top. Austin was ranked second. Houston was ranked seventh. 

"Downtown Dallas’s unique range of features and amenities helped it get crowned as the best central area in the country for urban life enthusiasts," the report stated. "A city that traditionally embraced sprawl as urban design, it’s been recently focused on adding density in an effort to increase housing options and foster walkability. This only increases downtown’s appeal for both locals and new residents, who can now enjoy a great mix of lively streets, culture and a reasonable cost of living."

The report said downtown Dallas was the best in the nation in terms of access to workout centers (95% of units) and spacious apartments, offering over 995 square feet of space per person on average.

Here is the a look at the overall top 10:

  1. Dallas, Texas
  2. Austin, Texas
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Nashville, Tennessee
  7. Houston, Texas
  8. Columbus, Ohio
  9. San Diego, California
  10. Phoenix, Arizona

Here is how Dallas ranked in each of the 13 categories: 

  • Rent-to-income ratio: 5th
  • Total number of apartment units: 2nd
  • Apartment living space/person: 1st
  • Percent of apartments located in green properties: 11th
  • Percent of fitness centers within rental complexes: 1st
  • Percent of apartments located in luxury properties: 2nd
  • Crime rate: 20th
  • Cost of groceries: 10th
  • Electric vehicle public charging stations: 13th
  • Restaurants/1,000 people: 8th
  • Theaters/1,000 people: 8th
  • Retail stores/1,000 people: 17th
  • Percent of educated population: 5th

For a look at the study, click here.

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