Sarasota named No. 5 on ‘U.S. News & World Report’ list of Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Sarasota remains No. 1 on Florida list

After landing at No. 9 in the 2022-2023 list, the city of Sarasota this year has jumped to the No. 5 position on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in the U.S. list for 2023-2024, city staff noted this week.

Sarasota remains No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report’s Florida list, the rank it attained in 2022, a city news release pointed out.

“The list evaluates metro areas based on quality of life, job market, value and desirability,” the news release explains.

“Sarasota has a distinct vibe that’s different from Florida’s relative coastal cities, with its own vibrant arts scene, beachy atmosphere and burgeoning food culture,” the report points out. “People who choose Sarasota as their home are generally called by its unique charm,” the report adds. “As Americans in the workforce seek cities for the quality of life and not just job opportunities, Sarasota is becoming increasingly popular,” the city news release notes.

U.S. News explains that it analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to create the list. The “rankings are intended to help readers make the most informed decision when choosing where to settle down,” the publication says. “Metro areas in the rankings are evaluated using data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. News‘ own internal resources. This data was categorized into the four indexes … and evaluated using a methodology determined by Americans’ preferences. The percent weighting for each index follows the answers from a March 2023 public survey in which people from across the country voted for what they believed was the most important factor to consider when choosing where to live,” U.S. News adds.

The publication gave Sarasota an overall rating of 6.8 out of 10, with “Desirability” put at 7.8, “Quality of Life” at 7, and “Job Market” at 6.1.

On its website, U.S. News explained that, in the methodology it used to create the list, the Quality of Life Index accounted for 36% of each municipality’s score — the largest percentage accorded to the factors weighed.

The Quality of Life Index took into account the following, U.S. News added:

  • “Crime Rates (25%): We measured each metro area’s murder, violent crime and property crime rates per 100,000 people, as determined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.
  • “Quality of Education (19%): Using data from the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, we determined the availability of a quality education by calculating the average college readiness score of all public schools in each metro area and comparing it with that of all the other ranked metro areas.
  • “Well-being (19%): We used the composite score from Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index (which analyzes resident satisfaction in the following areas: purpose, social, financial, community and physical) as a representation of whether residents of each metro area are generally happy with their day-to-day lives.
  • “Commuter Index (16%): The Commuter Index used the U.S. Census Bureau’s calculation of average commute time, which is a composite of the time spent traveling door to door, whether by foot, public transit, car or bicycle.
  • “Quality and Availability of Health Care (9%): Using data from the U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, we measured the availability of quality health care by determining the quantity of ranked facilities within 50, 100 and 250 miles of each metro area.
  • “Air Quality Index (AQI) (7%): We utilized the most recent monthly average air quality index from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • “Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Risk Index (5%): We used FEMA’s National Risk Index to determine a metropolitan area’s risk to natural hazards (18 hazard types) and community risk factors, including social vulnerability and community resilience.”

“Growing up in Sarasota, then living in many different cities and returning home to Sarasota, I can confirm wholeheartedly this is one of the best areas in the U.S.,” said Mayor Kyle Battie in the city news release. “This is a special place with a unique blend of world-class amenities and natural beauty that makes it very desirable. We’re working every day to make Sarasota the top place in the nation.”

“Sarasota also landed on two other top-10 lists from U.S. News & World Report, ranking No. 2 among Fastest-Growing Places in the U.S and No. 7 on the list of Safest Places to Live in the U.S.,” the release points out.

“Sarasota is a gem,” said City Manager Marlon Brown in the release. “This year’s ranking by U.S. News & World Report highlights once again that we are on the right track with the city’s vision. Thank you to everyone who makes Sarasota an exceptional place.”

The complete list and more information may be viewed online.

Green Bay, Wis., won the top spot on the national list, while Huntsville, Ala., was No. 2 and the Raleigh-Durham metro area in North Carolina was No. 3. Boulder, Colo., was placed fourth; Naples, sixth; Portland, Maine, seventh; Charlotte, N.C., eighth; Colorado Springs, ninth; and Fayetteville, Ark., 10th.