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Best places to live? Dayton ranked on Top 100 list

The magazine ranks Dayton as the 69th best place to live and the 62nd best place to retire in its new rankings, released for publication Tuesday. The city was ranked the 82nd best place last year.

U.S. News said it analyzed 125 metro areas “based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people’s desire to live there.”

Cincinnati was ranked 39th and Columbus 51st on the listing.

Weighing variables such as median home price and average annual salary, as well as weather, the study has Dayton ranked higher than Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Tucson, Ariz. — and lower than Rochester and Buffalo in New York.

“Dayton offers both a revamped downtown area full of unique activities, and suburbs that provide close-knit communities for the many who call the region home,” the report said in its entry on Dayton.

The city’s segment refers to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and says Ohio’s sixth-largest metro area is “rich in aviation history.”

“Aviation enthusiasts will appreciate the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Wright Brothers National Memorial,” the study says.

The magazine also refers to nearly 20 different metro parks and more than 330 miles of paved biking trails. “Several historic neighborhoods and districts, a bike-share program and about a dozen craft and microbreweries add to Dayton’s cultural jewels.”

The city gets an overall “best places to live” score of 6.5 out of 10. As a place to retire, Dayton ranked 6.5 out of 10.

Overall, the key variables were job market index (with a 20 percent weight), value index (25 percent), quality of life index (30 percent), desirability index (15 percent), which asked people if they want to move to a place, and net migration (10 percent), which factors whether people have been moving to a city.

Austin, Texas, was ranked the best place to live for the second year in a row. Lancaster, Pa., was ranked as the best place to retire.