Opinions about what makes a city a great place to live vary from person to person. If you boiled it all down, though, you’d see some patterns emerge. For most people, the must-haves involve three key things: a strong economy, great quality of life and affordable housing. Most cities aim for that, too, but few score well in all three.
This phenomenon has been dubbed the housing trilemma. Essentially, some of the major cities in the U.S. succeed in one or two areas, but lack in the other(s). So if a city’s economy is thriving and it’s culturally rich, for instance, people tend to flock to it, driving housing prices up. It’s so difficult to achieve the trifecta that only eight of the 100 major cities in America rank in the top half for all three.
The fact that Omaha is one of those cities? No surprise to us here at the Greater Omaha Chamber. We see every day what a great area this is. And we’ve got more numbers to back it up, too.
Our recently released 2016 Barometer Report shows how we’re doing when compared to nine competitor and peer regions across the country. In short, things are going well. The whole report is worth a look if you’re interested in learning more about Omaha, but three key areas stand out:
1. Quality of Life
We really are living the good life in Omaha. With a cost of living 12 percent lower than the national average and a median house price of $160,400, homeownership is more attainable than other metro areas. Also consider that, compared to 2015, “Greater Omaha saw an increase in private wages per job, which reflects improvement in the standard of living.”
Add to that short commute times (20 minutes on average) and access to arts and culture and it’s clear why Omaha made the short list. Fun fact: Greater Omaha employs more workers in arts and culture than any other region measured in the Barometer Report, including Nashville.
(Want to get an idea of what there is to see and do? Read “Insiders Guide: 16 Things to Do in Omaha.”)
2. Low Cost of Doing Business
The expenses involved with keeping the doors open can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. Omaha ranks well in this one because of factors like the cost of business space and industrial energy. Business properties are affordable in Omaha, and utilities are too. Need more evidence? A KPMG study shows that business costs in Omaha are 6 percent below the U.S. base.
That’s part of the reason why we’re home to four Fortune 500 companies (Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and Mutual of Omaha), five Fortune 1000 companies and 40+ successful startups. Affordable space and labor costs make Omaha the perfect place to grow a business big or small. That makes it one of the best cities to work in, too.
This is a core strength of the region, and Omaha is 14 percent above average among other cities measured in the Barometer Report. The report says it best: “Not only is there a strong concentration of entrepreneurs in Greater Omaha, but those who choose that path are more profitable – 22 percent above the national average, in fact.”
All of this is good news for businesses and employees alike. Strong businesses make strong economies, and we have both. That’s what makes it one of the best cities to live in, and why we feel so excited about what’s to come for the metro. Join us and stay tuned.
P.S. Looking for a tech job? We’ve got those, too.