Ranking It

Here's where Houston ranks among the best-run cities in America

Houston lands right in the middle of a new ranking of the country's best-run cities. Photo by Shobeir Ansari, Getty Images

While the spotlight might be on national politics, most people see the work of the government best at the local level. It's in that spirit that a new study ranks the best- and worst-run cities in the country, placing Houston in the middle of the pack.

Personal finance website WalletHub compared 150 of the largest cities in the U.S. to determine which are the best and worst managed for 2019, ranking Houston 73rd nationally.

The site measured each city's operating efficiency by looking at its total budget per capita and the quality of its city services (broken down into six categories). Houston comes in at No. 71 for budget and No. 86 for services.

Among the individual quality of service categories, H-Town ranks 44th in education, 59th in health, 61st in infrastructure and pollution, and 67th in economy. But it's near the bottom for safety (106th) and financial stability (117th).

The best-run city in Texas is Arlington at No. 27, followed by Fort Worth at No. 51. Texas' other major cities land lower. Austin ranks 72nd nationwide, just ahead of Houston, while San Antonio comes in at No. 89 and Dallas places at No. 93. When looking only at the quality of city services, however, Austin ranks first in Texas and 10th in the nation.

The best-run city in the country is Nampa, Idaho. Last on the list, ironically, is Washington, D.C.

---

This story originally appeared on CultureMap.

The report dug into Houston colleges' affordability, social environment, and academic and economic opportunities. Courtesy of Rice University

As high school seniors decide where to attend college, they examine degree programs and campus amenities, calculate job prospects, assess school spirit, and consider location. To help make the decision a bit easier, personal finance website WalletHub crunched the numbers on more than 400 cities across the U.S. to determine 2020's Best & Worst College Towns & Cities in America — and Houston appears near the top of the class.

The report, released on December 9, examined 415 cities across the U.S. and broke them down into three categories: large city (more than 300,000 people), midsize city (125,000 to 300,000 people), and small city (less than 125,000).

To determine the best and worst college cities, WalletHub used 31 metrics, each assigned a different weight, in three key areas: academic and economic opportunities (50 points), wallet friendliness (25 points), and social environment (25 points).

Houston, with a score of 56.89 ranked No. 18 among big cities and No. 30 among all cities. Houston's highest marks came in social environment, where it earned No. 27. Houston ranked 72nd in wallet friendliness and a surprisingly low 254th in academic and economic opportunities.

The title of best college city in Texas — and the U.S. — goes to Austin. The Capital City not only took the top spot among large cities, it also ranked first on the overall list.

With a score of 66.49, Austin's best grade, unsurprisingly, came in social environment, where it ranked No. 2. (With its beaches and perfect weather, only San Diego fared better.) Austin scored a rather middling 196 in wallet friendliness, but it ranked a solid 54th in academic and economic opportunities.

Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas ranked No. 23 among big cities and No. 55 on the overall list. Big D had a total score of 54.89. Its highest grade came in social environment (46), followed by academic and economic opportunities (186) and wallet friendliness (236).

Neighboring Fort Worth earned the 86th spot overall, 36th among big cities. Fort Worth earned an overall score of 53.4 and clenched the 125th spot in social environment, 126th in academic and economic opportunities, and 256th in wallet friendliness.

San Antonio earned a score of 54.37, securing the 65th spot overall and the 29th spot among big cities. It earned high scores in social environment (24) and wallet friendliness (83) but fell hard in the academic and economic opportunities category (343).

Joining Austin on the combined list are Orlando (No. 2); Scottsdale, Arizona (No. 3); Tampa (No. 4); Ann Arbor, Michigan (No. 5); Seattle (No. 6); San Diego (No. 7); Las Vegas (No.8); Salt Lake City (No. 9); and Provo, Utah (No. 10).

So where is the worst college town? That unpleasant distinction goes to Germantown, Maryland. The Washington, D.C. suburb is joined by Kendall, Florida (No. 414); Shreveport, Louisiana (No. 413); Bridgeport, Connecticut (No. 412); and New Rochelle, New York (No. 411).

------

This article originally ran on CultureMap.