Mesa beats out Phoenix in 2018 rankings of best big cities to live in

Jul 24, 2018, 4:54 AM | Updated: 3:56 pm

(Facebook Photo | City of Mesa)...

(Facebook Photo | City of Mesa)

(Facebook Photo | City of Mesa)

PHOENIX — Mesa is Arizona’s best big city to live in and No. 15 in the United States, according to a new study.

WalletHub ranked livability in the nation’s 62 largest cities, using a population of 300,000 as a cutoff.

The rankings were based on data from 52 metrics that were condensed to five categories: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life and safety.

Mesa earned its highest score in the affordability category, ranking fourth.

“It’s an honor for our city to be named one of the best big cities to live in,” Mayor John Giles said in a statement.

“It comes as no surprise to me. as I’ve always believed Mesa is the best place to live and raise a family. I’m thrilled that Mesa can represent the State of Arizona on this list.”

Safety (12th), education (18th) and health and economy (24th) were all strong areas for the East Valley suburb. However, Mesa finished 60th in quality of life.

“Mesa had one of the highest incomes in the country, and that’s also one of the reasons why it has the second-highest homeownership rate,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

Only Virginia Beach, Virginia, had a higher rate of homeownership than Mesa.

Gonzalez said the average income in Mesa was $64,000, considerably more than the $51,000 figure in Phoenix.

Phoenix finished in the top half of the rankings at No. 27. Its highest score came in the affordability category at No. 11.

The state’s largest city may have ranked higher if it had more restaurant options; Phoenix had the second-fewest restaurants per capita on the list, beating only Aurora, Colorado.

Tucson, the only other Arizona city among the nation’s 62 most populous, was No. 37 overall. Its best ranking was No. 27 in quality of life.

Seattle took the top spot on the list, followed by Virginia Beach and Austin, Texas. Detroit brought up the rear.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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Mesa beats out Phoenix in 2018 rankings of best big cities to live in