Peoria, a city traditionally highly regarded in the realm of American living standards, faced a significant tumble down U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Live index for 2023. Previously seated comfortably at position 50, the city now sits at the 70th rank. Nevertheless, Peoria’s fellow Illinois City, Quad Cities, holding a locale straddling the Iowa border inclusive of Rock Island, holds a superior 54th position.
Last year’s listings saw Peoria acclaimed as the premier living destination within Illinois, outranking Rock Island, which was positioned at 53rd nationwide. Other Illinois cities such as Chicago and Rockford also suffered a decline, with Chicago plunging from 79th to 123rd, and Rockford descending slightly from 127th to 133rd in the 2023 listings.
U.S. News & World Report’s Multi-Dimensional Ranking System
The esteemed report undertook a comprehensive analysis of 150 cities, distributing separate rankings for distinct categories: the best places to live, the best places to retire, and the most affordable places to live. Despite its drop in the general rankings, Peoria received commendable ratings in the latter two categories, securing a 7th spot as the most affordable city (an improvement from last year’s 9th spot), and a 79th place for the best place to retire, also up from 97th in the previous year’s rankings.
Peoria Mayor Retains Optimism Amid Changing Ratings
Despite Peoria’s less-than-ideal overall ranking this year, Mayor Rita Ali voiced satisfaction and optimism regarding the city’s place in the 2023 rankings.
With evident pride, Mayor Ali noted, “It brings me immense joy to know Peoria remains recognized as one of the best places to live and retire in America. We still offer one of the most competitively priced housing markets, our entertainment scene is flourishing, and a wealth of opportunities exists for education and career advancement. Our score may have seen a small setback from last year, but I fully expect a resurgence in the coming year. There are plenty of positive developments underway in Peoria.”
Methodology and Detailed Assessment of Peoria’s Living Standards
The rankings were established through a comprehensive assessment of public data and user feedback, considering key elements such as the job market, the housing market, and other crucial factors tied to the satisfaction of residents like crime rate, education level, and air quality.
The analysis of Peoria, penned by Mike Bailey, former opinion editor of the Journal Star, provides an in-depth look at various aspects of the community, covering everything from housing to entertainment. Bailey’s write-up paints a vivid picture of the city, highlighting its affordability, diverse cultural offerings, and robust community spirit.
Peoria’s report does acknowledge some of the city’s challenges, notably that its violent crime rate exceeds the national average. However, this is offset by a property crime rate lower than the national average, and exceptionally reasonable real estate prices — an average housing cost of $116,650 is significantly lower than the national average of $365,616. This affordability has made Peoria a strong contender in the rankings despite its overall slip. Thus, while the rankings for 2023 indicate a fall in Peoria’s standing, the city still holds strong in several significant areas, setting the stage for potential growth in future rankings.