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Florida cities slip; southern city gets crowned as the best place to live in the US in 2022-23

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This year’s list of the best places to live in the United States by U.S. News & World Report brought some surprises when released on May 17, 2022. Perhaps, the biggest one is that after a long run, Florida did not have any cities listed in the top slots this time.

Per News-Press, Florida took hits on affordability and even desirability. Climate, both weather and sociopolitical, was also a contributing factor. The list, used by marketing companies and tourism agencies to attract people to these areas, named Huntsville, Alabama, the best place to live in the United States. This top spot was awarded based on the affordability of housing and the high quality of life. Colorado Springs, Colorado, reclaimed second place after 2018, and the Lambeau Leap of Wisconsin came in third.

Devon Thorsby, the U.S. News real estate editor, attributed this year’s shift to changing preferences. He noted that “people are focusing more on quality and affordability than the job market.” He added that employment opportunities are no longer a deciding factor as remote work options are becoming more commonplace.

Sarasota, Florida, retained its ranking of number nine on the list. Every other metro area in the state dropped except two, and Daytona Beach only moved up by one step. Last year, 11 cities in the Sunshine State were in the top 75, but only seven made it into that bracket this year. The cities which saw the most significant drops were Orlando, due to its higher cost of living, and Fort Myers, which took a loss in desirability.

Natural elements also played a role in Florida losing its crown as experts warned of more powerful hurricanes and crippling heat and humidity. The ten hottest cities in the nation are located in the state, which sees an average of 25 dangerous heat days every year. This means a heat index of 105 degrees. By 2050, Florida could see an exponential increase of 130 such days in a year.

The high-profile battle between the state government and Walt Disney World over a controversial law has had an impact too. A majority of Americans on both sides of the political fence have stated that they are uncomfortable with the free speech implications which have arisen from the situation.

Thorsby touched on this as he admitted that stereotypes and stigmas could impact a locale’s desirability score. This is one of the factors that knocked Florida cities from their long-held top rankings.

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