Colorado cities took four of the top five spots in the U.S. News and World Report listing of the Best Places to Live in the country in 2020-2021.
Boulder took the top spot in the annual list, with Denver coming in second place, and Colorado Springs and Fort Collins taking the fourth and fifth spots respectively, according to the rankings.
The publication analyzed the “150 most populous metro areas to find the best places to live,” according to survey authors. “To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market and a high quality of life.”
As for No. 1 Boulder: “This blissed-out enclave attracts young professionals, families, academics, scientists, transplants from both coasts, old guards who insist it was way cooler in the 1970s and, above all, lovers of outdoor recreation,” according to Katy Marquardt, who wrote the city’s profile and is described as a “local expert.”
Boulder received a 7.8 overall score out of a maximum score of 10. The city also received an 8.3 quality-of-life score.
“The city of Boulder is honored to be recognized as the best place to live in the US,” Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver said when asked about the accolade. “Considering the other cities on the list, all of which are thriving and beautiful, we are glad to be in their company. We are proud of the people in our community and their passion for nature, arts, science and entrepreneurship. This is a very meaningful recognition for us.”
At No. 2, Denver is noted for its “easygoing crowd of ambitious, progressive-minded fitness fanatics and nature lovers who are eager to push the envelope on everything from civil rights to drug laws,” writes Katie Hearsum.
Denver has an overall ranking of 7.4, according to the survey.
“I’m thrilled but I’m not surprised,” said Kelly Moye, a Colorado Association of Realtors spokeswoman who is a realtor concentrating on the Boulder and Denver markets.
With more people working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado real estate market is “on fire,” Moye said.
“What people are starting to see is that quality of life is extremely important,” Moye said. “If you can work remotely, why not move here?”
Moye cites schools, open spaces, job opportunities and the economy as driving forces for Colorado. She believes the rankings are a reflection of both time and place.
“Realtors, we are slammed right now,” Moye said. “We have more buyers than we know what do with — (because of) the demand to live here — that’s what this story is picking up on.”