RelocateAmerica.com has opened the voting for its 14th annual Best Places to Live poll and Austin is among the 100 finalist cities. According to a story in the Austin Business Journal, Round Rock and Cedar Park also make the list of finalists. The finalists were chosen by a process that included nominations and evaluating the cities based on those factors that are most important when relocating. Now, the top 10 will be determined by popular vote.
That makes this particular poll a little more interesting than most others. Generally, when Austin places in a Top 10 list of some sort, the rankings are determined by a group or individual who weighs their decisions based on their own criteria, without input from the public. Some might think that by turning this into a popularity contest, that the results are not indicative of a true Best Places list. However, having civic pride for the city in which you live is a very telling statistic. Those who live in cities that made the list of finalists will respond based on their individual feelings, so positive association with their location will result in more votes. Because the poll is being conducted online, it also skews the data towards the more technologically savvy cities and those with a younger average age as internet usage is higher for younger citizens than older residents.
Perhaps the poll would be more accurately named if it were called the Most Popular Places to Live, but the value of the results is still worthy of consideration.
It also remains to be seen if having Round Rock and Cedar Park as their own entries will hurt Austin’s results. Had those two cities not been included, it can be presumed that some of the residents of those cities would have cast their votes for Austin instead, since they are still a part of our overall metropolitan area.
Last year, Austin placed third in the RelocateAmerica.com poll.