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Northwest Arkansas is the one of the nation’s best regions in the country, according to a new ranking by a highly regarded publication

U.S. News & World Report placed the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (Northwest Arkansas) at No. 4 on its 2019 list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 5 last year, and the publication put the region in the Top 5 for the fourth consecutive year. The ranking was made public today by U.S. News & World Report and leading media outlets are publishing stories about the U.S. News ranking.

It’s considered a huge success for Northwest Arkansas to be included among the best places as the other cities and regions are recognized as some of the nation’s finest places. They include No. 1 Austin, No. 2 Denver, No. 3 Colorado Springs and No. 5 Des Moines.

Devon Thorsby, the real estate editor for U.S. News & World Report, gives an overview of the 2019 ranking in a Wealth of Knowledge podcast.

To arrive at its overall Best Places to Live ranking this year, U.S. News compared the largest 125 of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas. It looked at the job markets, giving weight to unemployment rates and average salaries.

Other factors included what U.S. News called a Value Index, combining the median household income and the cost of living.

The region’s quality of life, which took into consideration such factors as crime rate, the quality of education and health care, was a third primary factor.

Finally, U.S. News looked at how many people are moving to the region compared to those who move away (net migration) and then the publication created a Desirability Index, using an online poll to ask people where they’d most like to live and using the responses to rank desirability.

What’s interesting about the 2019 list is how strong the representation is from regions that aren’t on the East Coast or West Coast.

In addition to Austin, Colorado Springs, Denver, Des Moines and Northwest Arkansas, other middle America places in the Top 25 include Minneapolis-St. Paul; Dallas-Fort Worth; Huntsville, Ala.; Madison, Wisc.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Nashville; and Boise, Idaho.

Pictured at the top: Northwest Arkansas includes some exceptional downtown areas, and the Bentonville Square is considered one of the best.