Report Ranks Best and Worst Big Cities to Live In

Of the 62 cities listed, Chicago ranked No. 48

Chicago may not be the best big city to live in, according to a new report, but its residents may be better off than those in other Midwestern cities.

The personal finance website WalletHub rated all U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000 and fashioned a list of the "best" and "worst" cities to live in. The metrics were based on livability, education, health and the local economy and taxes.

Of the 62 cities listed, Chicago ranked No. 48. The city's highest ranking was in the "education" category (No. 22), while its lowest was in "local economy and taxes" (No. 61). Only New York was behind Chicago in the latter category.

Several other Midwestern cities fared worse than Chicago, however. Detroit took last place in the ranking, and Milwaukee, St. Louis, Wichita, Indianapolis and Cleveland all ranked lower than Chicago.

The report showed that cities on the West Coast and in the South generally ranked highest.

The No. 1 best city to live in is Austin, Texas, according to WalletHub. Austin is followed by Raleigh, N.C.; Colorado Springs; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; San Diego, Calif., Denver, Colo.; San Francisco; Lexington, Ky.; and Virginia Beach, Va.

Although living space in big cities is often tighter than it is in surrounding suburbs or in smaller towns and the cost of living is higher, big cities across the country are growing rapidly. In 2011, the rate of population growth in urban areas outpaced the rate of growth in the suburbs for the first time in nearly a century, WalletHub reports.

Reasons for the spike in urban population include increasingly livable downtown areas, a change in lifestyle preferences and shifting demographics, according to WalletHub.

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