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Northwest Arkansas is the No. 4 best place to live in the country, up four spots from last year, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-2022 ranking released July 13. 

Fayetteville and the surrounding metropolitan area have ranked highly in the U.S. News report and others for years, securing this year’s spot thanks to its affordability, job prospects and desirability during a year of COVID-19. 

“This year we’re looking at how the most populous metro areas in the U.S. fared for much of the coronavirus pandemic, and seeing how far they’ll need to come to recover,” said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that many metro areas that saw unemployment levels skyrocket in 2020 fell in the rankings, but those with greater employment stability tended to fare well.”

The ranking highlights the importance of work by the Northwest Arkansas Council and many corporate and community partners to keep up with the region’s exceptional growth while maintaining infrastructure and quality of life. Boston, San Diego and other major cities fell precipitously in the rankings because of high unemployment and housing costs. 

“Northwest Arkansas is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live in the country due to its incredible job opportunities, low cost of living and world-class quality of life amenities,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “In order to maintain this success, we must continue to invest in education, workforce development and infrastructure, and ensure there is adequate and affordable housing for our growing workforce. Most importantly, we must do everything we can to keep our community a place where all are welcome and included.”

U.S. News & World Report is the global authority in rankings and consumer advice. The 2021-2022 Best Places to Live were determined based on a methodology that factored in job market, value, quality of life, desirability and net migration ratings. They were determined in part using a public survey of thousands of individuals throughout the U.S., as well as data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sharecare, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. News high school and hospital rankings.

Learn what other cities made the list here.

Special thanks to our major investors for their support of the Northwest Arkansas Council and our work in the region: