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Like many large urban areas and capital cities throughout Texas and the United States, Austin is something of an oasis for liberals — a weird little blue island surrounded by the vast red sea of conservatism that stretches across pretty much all the rest of the state.

However, apparently our fair city is even more appealing to left-leaning persons than we thought. According to a study conducted recently by SmartAsset, a New York-based financial consulting company, Austin, Texas ranks as the second best U.S. city for liberals to call home.


SmartAsset’s team calculated their results first by examining factors such as the local economy, cost of living, population growth, education growth, upward mobility, political ideology score. They then averaged these statistics, which they got from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Equality of Opportunity Project, and the American Ideology Project, giving equal weight to each value.

Seattle, WA topped the list, racking up a perfect index score of 100.0 thanks to its high median income ($40,412) and upward mobility (43.20) rates, its strongly liberal ideology score (-0.868), and its low unemployment rate (6.5%). Compare those numbers to Austin’s and it’s pretty clear why we almost took gold.

Apparently, we’ve got a left-leaning ideology score of -0.531, a median income of $30,982, an unemployment rate of 6.8%, and an upward mobility rate of 40.41. And interestingly enough, while many may consider our fair city to be an expensive place to live, Austin’s cost of living fell onto the lower half of the spectrum among all of the top 25 cities compared in the study.

“Austin is the highest-scoring liberal city in Texas,” wrote SmartAsset on their website. “While it is not quite as liberal as some other cities in our study, it does have a strong economy (5th lowest unemployment rate) and a very highly educated local population (5th highest percentage of residents with a Bachelor’s degree at 33.86%).”

In other news, the study classifies San Francisco, CA as the third best city for liberals, followed by Denver, CO and Fargo, ND, while three other Texas cities made it into the top 25. Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas took 15th, 18th, and 21st, respectively.

Be sure to check out the full breakdown of SmartAsset’s published results here.


Featured photo: Flickr user Stuart Seeger, CC licensed



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