THE MONITOR EDITORIAL BOARD Mar 2, 2016
We know it’s pretty great to live in McAllen but it sure is nice to get national recognition by being named this week among the top 100 “Best Places to Live in the USA,” by U.S. News & World Report.
The magazine on Wednesday morning announced that McAllen is ranked No. 89 — one of only six Texas cities to make the list. Austin is No. 2; Houston is 17; Dallas/Fort Worth is 21; San Antonio is 23; and El Paso is 71.
We were the only Rio Grande Valley city named and ranked one notch above Chicago and just edged out New Orleans and Miami. It’s a serious honor, especially to be named among big-time cities, and we got there based on our quality of life, job market, the value of living and people’s desire to live here.
Overall, the magazine ranked McAllen a 5.9 out of a possible 10 with our highest score, 7.7, rated to our quality of life here. Our lowest score, 4.4, came from our current available job market.
“Despite its reputation as a mere border town, McAllen, Texas, is a very vibrant metro area and a major center for retail, international trade, tourism and manufacturing. A high quality of life, an abundance of medical facilities and young, bicultural communities are additional draws,” the magazine stated. “McAllen is one of the least expensive cities to live in the nation. Residents spend less than the national average on home purchases and monthly rents, as well as everyday expenses like food, transportation and heath care.”
In addition, the city was commended for several green and environmentally-friendly programs, like its new electric buses and bike-sharing program. As well as the airport expansion and popular La Plaza Mall, calling us “the retail center of Southern Texas and Northern Mexico.”
“Obviously any time you get ranked in the top 100 that’s an exciting position and I think it speaks well to McAllen and all the great things that are happening in McAllen,” McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Ahlenius told us. “I’d like to see us get in the top 20.”
So would we and in order to do that we agree with Ahlenius that we need to increase jobs and healthcare facilities and improve educational opportunities. Which we all know is quite doable.
“McAllen has a lot of those programs in place that will put us in a very competitive position as far as those rankings in the future,” he said.
Denver, which was ranked No. 1, had a rating of 7.8 for its job market and an average annual salary of $58,060. The average salary in McAllen is $33,260, according to the magazine, which shows the kind of pay bump we all crave and need here.
But we know we can do it especially with increased trade opportunities, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its new medical school. We also know that other Valley cities are poised to make the list also in future years.