A national nonprofit group lauded Austin’s emergency management efforts Friday, certifying its program meets 64 industry standards.
Austin is just one of three Texas cities, along with Dallas and Arlington, to win accreditation from the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program.
“Emergency management accreditation represents a significant achievement,” said EMAP Commission Chairperson Robie Robinson in a statement. “We applaud the City of Austin’s leadership and we recognize the dedication to the safety and security of the residents that it represents.”
The city’s 15-member Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management plans and prepares for emergencies, educates the public about preparedness, and manages grant funding to improve homeland security and public safety. The agency co-manages the Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center.
We get it, we get it: Austin isn’t always like the rest of Texas. Certain folks love to call the city “the People’s Republic of Austin,” due to its liberal policy bent and undying embrace of the strange. Though we’re not likely to implement a Maoist political structure at City Hall anytime soon, comrades, the Live Music Capital of the World does actually have enough people to encourage dreams of statehood.
Austin’s population is so large that if it were a state, it would be the 45th largest in the U.S., according to a study by LawnStarter, a local lawn care service. Why grass-cutters are concerning themselves with comparative demographics, I’ll never know. Nonetheless, the company used city and U.S. Census data to count Austin’s teeming masses at 943,795 people, higher than those of Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. Poor Wyoming only has 585,501.
The study is quick to point out that land-wise, these beautiful states are all massive compared to ATX. If you plopped 326-square-mile Austin in the middle of Alaska (a sprawling, 656,424-square-mile snow beast), it would look like one of those little birds hitching a ride on a hippo. Even delicate, syrup-drenched Vermont is 30 times larger than Austin when it comes to area, at 9,615 square miles.
Now, there are much larger cities in the U.S. Austin is only the 11th largest, and Houston, Dallas and San Antonio all pack more people in than we do. However, the entire Austin metro area is the country’s fastest growing, and it recently hit the 2-million-people mark. Factor in our distinct cultural identity and the fact that even the European Union sees potential for us to stand on our own feet, and we could basically start shopping for our own constitution.
But take heart, those of you who rent homes or apartments in Austin: At least you weren’t paying the area’s highest rent prices this past month. That honor goes to Leander, our neighbor to the northwest. That’s right, it was cheaper to rent a domicile in Austin than it was in Leander, at least, according to rental site Zumper.
Zumper released a report this week detailing the drop in rent prices throughout the Austin area, a swath of land that includes all the way from Georgetown to San Marcos. The report found that for the month of March, Austin had a median one-bedroom rent of $1,080 a month, while renting the same domain in Leander would set you back $1,110. Both are still much higher than the $887 state median, however.
The cheapest rent in the Austin area for March belonged to San Marcos, at $860 a month for a one-bedroom.
Recently, Austin has also been named super cool, hard working and—um—romantic, but this just solidifies what many Austinites already knew: That Austin is the best place to live in America. Or at least a pretty great place if you don’t count Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., New Orleans or any of those other Southern cities the magazine ranked above Austin. At least it’s the only Texas city on the list.
The travel company ranked 21 cities, giving points based on attributes like the availability of a Lyft ride, the amount of farmer’s markets in the city, low crime rating, music/arts/food/drink festivals and population age.
Austin was the only Texas city to make the cut. It scored a 26 out of a possible 28 points by Expedia’s scale, and the company found plenty to like about the Lone Star State’s capital city.
“The only uncool thing about Austin can be the weather, and it takes care of that with awesome watering holes (ahem, Barton Springs), cool places to crash (hotels like Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt), and killer cold treats (Lick Ice Cream, anyone?),” Austin’s description on the list reads.
Other highlights of living in Austin, according to Expedia:
A crime rating of 35 out of 100, according to Sperling’s Best Places
A great restaurant scene
South By Southwest Festival, Art City Austin and the Mexican Experience
However, some parts of Austin aren’t that “cool” to the people who live here. A recent New York Times article says that “the coolness factor” that drives many startups and hip bars to build in East Austin is what’s leading to the rapid gentrification of the city’s east side.
Austin might be the fabled home to the hippies and slackers, but a recent study by a personal finance website placed the Texas capital in the top 20 of “2017’s Hardest-Working Cities in America.”
The WalletHub study ranked Austin No. 17 on the list, which was topped by Anchorage, Alaska. Austin fell short of industrious Plano (No. 2), Irving (No.5) and even Corpus Christi (No. 8), but was well ahead of San Antonio (No. 44) and Lubbock (No. 93).
(Coming in last place among the 116 largest cities was Burlington, Vermont.)
A new study by education data site Niche compiled a ranking of the state’s 60 safest college campuses using the most recent data available from students and the U.S. Department of Education. The study ranked the universities based on reported campus and local crime rates and reported alcohol, drug and sexual assault arrest rates.
UT Austin’s campus is ranked 49th out of 60, but that ranking is a bit misleading. According to the findings, there are no reported crimes per 1,000 students; no reported residence hall date violence incidents per 1,000 students; no reported residence hall rapes per 1,000 students; and only one instance each of drug and alcohol-related arrests per 1,000 students. And these studies only take into account reported events and can’t calculate how students feel currently (just yesterday a town hall was held on the school’s supposed toleration of racism and discrimination.)
Texas Southern University, in last place, only had one crime reported, one alcohol-related arrest and two drug-related arrests.
Compare those rankings to Baylor University, at No. 35, with a student-reported safety ranking of 4/5, a local crime rate grade of C+, and no reported instances of residence hall date violence incidents or reported residence hall rapes. Baylor has been embroiled in sexual assault scandals, and recent court filings say head football coach Art Briles and his staff cast a blind eye toward players’ misbehavior and allegedly tried to sweep sexual assaults and other criminal deeds under the rug.
It’s also worth noting that 90 percent of all sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, and 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Also, the University of Houston-Victoria landed at No. 31, but as a former Victoria resident, I wouldn’t feel safe walking alone at night on some of those streets where those residential areas are located. So the rankings are all relative, it seems. The best bet for everyone is to always keep an eye out for your safety at all times.
Other University of Texas campuses landed on the lists, including the medical branch in Galveston (No. 12), UT-Dallas (No. 16), UT-El Paso (No. 21), UT-Rio Grande Valley (No. 27), UT-Permian Basin (No. 29), UT-San Antonio (No. 44), and UT-Arlington (No. 53).
Another new study from Property Shark reveals it’s even harder to buy a home in Austin if you’re buying one alone — that is, if you’re unmarried or otherwise unattached (or if you don’t have a friend or family member to go halfsies with on a new home).
The organizers of the study gathered information on home prices and rents across the 50 largest cities in the United States and compared that information to the average incomes of men and women in the city. Then the study used the housing industry “rule” of spending no more than 30 percent of income on either mortgage payments or rent to determine whether single men and women could afford a home in each city.
It resulted in what Property Shark called a “rather bleak picture of the urban housing market,” with women disproportionately affected due to the fact that women earn significantly less than men, making it more difficult for women to afford living alone.
However, the study revealed that neither gender can afford to buy a home in Austin, one of 14 cities that have priced out single men and women completely. It’s bad news for renters, too — the study showed neither gender can afford to rent their own one-bedroom apartment in Austin either, according to the 30 percent rule (though we’re aware that many Austinites break this rule).
Austin was the only Texas city on the list to have completely rendered single men and women unable to buy a home, but Fort Worth and Houston were among the nine cities with the biggest difference in average income between genders, making it easier for men to buy homes than women.
So what are the best U.S. cities to find an affordable home? Atlanta, Las Vegas and the three largest cities in Arizona – Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa – are good for both genders, the study says. For women buying homes, Detroit comes in first place, with homeowners spending only 4 percent of their income on monthly payments, followed by Witchita, Kan. and Indianapolis, Ind. Arlington, Texas is sixth on the list of most affordable cities for women.
If there’s any good news in all of this, it’s that rental rates are stabilizing in Austin, providing relief for those who rent apartments. The average monthly apartment rent in Austin is about $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,300 for a two-bedroom apartment.
Shortly after Austin was named the “best place to live in America” by U.S. News and World Report, the city has landed atop another list of best places to live.
Austin is the nation’s best state capital to live in, according to WalletHub. Their online study compared all 50 capital cities in America and graded them based off of 42 key indicators of affordability, economic strength, quality of education and health, and overall living standards.
Those key indicators included things like cost of living, K–12 school-system quality and the number of attractions in the city.
Austin ranked 1st in two categories, the highest number of millennial newcomers (guilty) and lowest premature death rate; and ranked fourth for highest median household income (adjusted for cost of living) and ranked third for “most attractions.” The only two capitals to beat Austin in that last category were Honolulu and Boston, which…OK, that’s fair. One has the beach and the other’s got Fenway Park.
Austin also ranked 6th in the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher. (It’s also a great place for single ladies to find a man with a Bachelor’s degree that’s marriage material, according to one study.)
Happy Valentine’s Day, Austin — we’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news: All the single ladies in Austin are in luck, because according to a new study, Austin is one of the best places in the country to find a man who’s “marriage material.” That may mean different things for different people, but according to Trulia, your potential husband is a man who is in his 30s, has a college degree and works at least 40 hours a week. Austin is the fourth-best city to find such men, behind San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.
Even though there are plenty of guys meeting this criteria in Austin, your odds of bagging one aren’t great: According to the study, there are more single women than single men in Austin.
The bad news: Single male Austinites aren’t as fortunate as the women. In fact, you’ll probably have to move to the Eastern Seaboard — somewhere like D.C. suburb Silver Springs, Md., Atlanta or Raleigh, N.C. — to find a marriage-material woman. The study claims the woman of your dreams is in her 40s, has at least a graduate degree, works at least 40 hours a week and may have been married before (but you don’t mind).
The study goes on to break down, city-by-city, the number of single adults in different age groups (20s, 30s and 40s), the number of single adults who work more or less than 40 hours a week, the number of single adults who have gone to college or graduate school and the number of single adults who have never been married.
So if you’re wondering why you’re still single, blame the data — or you can use the data to your advantage to up your odds of finding love. You can even take a quiz and answer a few questions to find out where you can find the man or woman of your dreams, if the criteria listed above aren’t your thing.