Denver nudges out Colorado Springs on U.S. News’ Best Places list, taking back state’s top spot

Last year, Colorado Springs sneaked up to grab the second spot from Denver on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Places.

Denver dropped from second to third. But its days of looking at Colorado Spring’s backside didn’t last long. Denver has reclaimed the second spot, while Colorado Springs dropped to third in the latest ranking. Both continue chasing Austin, which remains the defending champion among the nation’s 125 most populated metros.

“The fact that both Colorado Springs and Denver rank so highly and are within easy driving distance of each other shows that they are able to benefit from each other’s successes,” said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News.

Effectively the two cities are riding like cyclists in tandem as they seek to stay on top of the list. in 2016, Denver ranked first on the list.

“If desired, residents can live in Colorado Springs and commute to Denver for work, or a company located in Denver can easily travel to Colorado Springs for meetings, where the defense industry is more concentrated,” she said.

Thorsby notes that Denver’s population is growing faster, but that Colorado Springs has lower home prices and rents. Denver has a stronger economy, but Colorado Springs ranks higher in desirability among outsiders.

U.S. News looks at five broad categories to determine the best places to live. They include the strength of the employment market, based on job growth and salary levels; and the quality of life, based on the health of the population, quality of the schools, availability of health care services, commute times and crime rates.

The report also considered migrations and weighed a survey that asked people in other areas their views of a location. Colorado Springs ranked second on that measure and Denver also ranked highly. Denver’s job market ranked eighth best in the country, while Colorado Springs ranked 43rd.

A separate survey from AreaVibes ranked metro Denver as the fifth most dynamic economy in the country. Austin also ranked tops on that list, which examined GDP growth, population growth, unemployment rates, poverty rates and the percentage of the population with internet access.

Boosting Denver’s score was a relatively low poverty rate, strong access to technology, and a higher percentage of working adults in relation to its retired population.

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