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Top 50 for Milwaukee in the new U.S. News & World Report city rankings. (PHOTO: milwaukeedowntown.com)

Milwaukee leaps up 25 spots in new U.S. News & World Report city rankings

If I've said it once, I've said it 5,000 times: "a city is only as good as the stories it tells." And Milwaukee has great stories to tell. We all have share in the responsibility to tell them, and when we do, good things happen.

Today is no different as I share this good story.

According to the new U.S. News & World Report "Best Places to Live" rankings, published Tuesday, Milwaukee is one of "3 Up-and-Coming Places to Live" and in the top 50 of places to live in the country.

Writer Miriam Weiner says Milwaukee is one of "three metro areas (that) are building reputations as great places to settle down." Others on this list are Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut. Weiner says this about Milwaukee:

Like Syracuse, Milwaukee sees winters that aren't for the faint of heart, and it, too, climbed 25 places to crack the top 50 on the 2017 list of the Best Places to Live. In addition to offering residents a more reasonable cost of living than its neighboring metro area to the south, Chicago, Milwaukee saw an increase in its Quality of Life score, which measures the area's crime rate, commute time, quality of education and health care, and overall resident well-being, as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

"Milwaukee has a strong combination of quality-of-life amenities, including a respected symphony orchestra, a ballet company, a renowned art museum, Major League Baseball along with NBA basketball, an annual music festival that is among the world's largest, big ethnic and cultural festivals, a top-notch zoo, a beautiful park system, miles of river walks through the downtown area, and natural resources including a long, publicly accessible Lake Michigan shoreline," says Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Milwaukee fosters a thriving artistic community anchored by institutions like the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. And locals are proud of the metro area's prominent beer scene. Additionally, the downtown area is experiencing new development, from a new streetcar line to a new NBA stadium.

"With $3.4 billion in private and public development completed in the past decade, another $1.7 [billion] under construction and $930 [million] in the pipeline today, we are transforming the work, live and play landscape across downtown," says Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

The metro area also has a strong and stable economy with numerous opportunities in the manufacturing sector at companies like Harley-Davidson and GE Healthcare. "Milwaukee's economy is diversifying, too," Barrett says. "Insurance, finance, health care, higher education and corporate headquarters for retail are all prominent in the local economy."

Overall, Milwaukee leaped up 25 spots in just one year, from 72 in 2016 to 47 this year. At No. 47, MKE places just ahead of Kansas City and behind Honolulu. With an overall score of 6.6, Milwaukee scored very well in the Quality of Life category (7.0). Brew City's Quality of Life score ranked as high or higher than many cities in the Top 10 like Denver, Austin, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and Washington, D.C.

All in all, a great showing for Milwaukee. We still have a ways to go, but at 47 we rank higher than Atlanta (50), Cincinnati (53), Indianapolis (55), Columbus (57), Pittsburgh (58), St. Louis (65), Philadelphia (77), New York City (80) and Chicago (83).

Madison was the only other Wisconsin city to make the list, coming in at No. 18. Austin, Texas, by the way, topped the list, which can be found here.


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