Sarasota named No. 9 among Best Places to Live in the nation, ‘U.S. News & World Report’ announces

Publication ranked metro areas on variety of factors, including quality of life and desirability

This is the banner for Sarasota on the U.S. News & World Report webpages for its Best Places to Live list. Image from U.S. News & World Report

Sarasota has won reaffirmation as one of the top 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for 2022-23, and it moved up to No. 1 in Florida, as U.S. News & World Report has noted in its latest rankings.

The Sarasota area is No. 9 overall on the annual Best Places to Live list, which ranks metro areas on the basis of quality of life, job market, value and desirability, a City of Sarasota news release points out.

“People who choose Sarasota as their home are generally called by its unique charm,” the report says. “This metro area of just over 800,000 people has a renowned opera house, a number of rooftop bars and the popular beach of Siesta Key,” the report adds.

“There was once a time when Sarasota was dismissed as a playground for retirees,” the report continues, “but that reputation is slowly changing as more young professionals begin to make it their own.”

The report further notes, “One of the city’s up-and-coming neighborhoods is the Rosemary District, where eclectic murals decorate storefronts and modern condominiums and hotels sit near casual breakfast cafes.”

Elizabeth Djinis, a former Sarasota Herald-Tribune reporter who is based in St. Petersburg, wrote the U.S. News article about the city of Sarasota.

This is the second consecutive year Sarasota has ranked No. 9 on the list, the city release points out.

The Sarasota Opera House is lit up for a nighttime performance. It is one of the city’s amenities to get a ‘shout-out’ in the U.S. News & World Report article. Photo from Google Maps

On its website, U.S. News explains that it used data from such sources as the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor and its “own internal resources” in comprising its list. The data was categorized into five indices and then “evaluated using a methodology determined by Americans’ preferences,” U.S. News adds. The weight attached to each index “follows the answers from a March 2022 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,” the website points out.

The five indices involved quality of life (32.5%), housing affordability (25%), the job market (20%), desirability (17.5%), and net migration (5%), which is a measurement of whether people are moving into or away from each metro area, the website explains.

U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live,” the publication adds on the website with the new rankings.

“We’re pleased Sarasota once again has been aptly recognized as a top place to live in the entire nation and now No. 1 in Florida,” said Mayor Erik Arroyo in the release. “Our world-class amenities, including the cultural arts, natural beauty, extensive public park spaces and newly extended Legacy Trail, thriving original restaurants, unique shopping, walkable downtown and recent micro-mobility options combine to create a very desirable city. We have our eye on the No. 1 ranking in the U.S. and we’re working hard every day to make Sarasota a special place to live,” Arroyo added in the release.

“We appreciate the accolades and national recognition for Sarasota being a standout,” said City Manager Marlon Brown in the release. “Congratulations to all who strive day in and day out to make Sarasota a great place.”

The Circus Playground at Payne Park is among the amenities highlighted via photos accompanying the U.S. News article. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Sarasota has landed on several other top-10 lists released by U.S. News & World Report. It ranks No. 1 among Best Places to Retire, it is the No. 1 Best Place to Live in Florida, it is No. 3 among Fastest-Growing Places, and it is No. 7 on the list of Safest Places to Live in the U.S., the city release says.

U.S. News does note on the Best Places to Live webpages that the median age of a Sarasota resident is 52.9, and the average annual salary is $48,180. The unemployment rate is 6.9%, U.S. News adds.

Further, it points out that the average high temperature is 81.73, and the average low is 64.05, with average annual rainfall of 53.01 inches.

The publication also says, “For a metro area of its size, Sarasota is not a cheap place to live. In fact, average rental prices for an apartment are even slightly higher in Sarasota than in nearby metropolitan areas like St. Petersburg and Tampa.” (See the related article in this issue.)

Huntsville, Ala., was named the No. 1 Best Place to Live, the list shows. Colorado Springs was in second place. Naples landed at No. 12, the highest of any other Florida city behind Sarasota.

The complete list and more information may be viewed online.