There’s a new way of thinking as Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley have undergone an identity transformation, but this hasn’t come without its challenges. The latest setback involves General Motors announcing it would close the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant, affecting as many as 1,500 jobs. Sure, we’ve endured hardships and experienced decades of economic decline, and relocating elsewhere may seem like the only viable option, but really, better days are ahead and are taking shape in the form of new opportunities in business, entertainment and redevelopment.
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Youngstown as one of the best places to live in the United States. Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley came in at No. 108 out of the 125 largest metropolitan areas ranked on the list of 2018 Best Places to Live, beating out the likes of Memphis, Tennessee, New Orleans, Louisiana and even Miami, Florida. See, life isn’t always better at the beach.
U.S. News & World Report conducted thousands of individual surveys to find out exactly what qualities people consider important to where they live in addition to analyzing data from the top metro areas. From there, a list was compiled of the top 125 metro areas and scored from 0-10 featuring key factors such as affordability, job prospects and overall quality of life.
So, how did we do? Youngstown scored very well with earning a quality education. Youngstown State University is home to more than 12,000 students and ranks as one of the best universities to attend in the Midwest. Plus, this area is one of, if not the most affordable place to live in terms of utilities, food expenses, healthcare and home costs.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. The median home price in Youngstown is just over $97,600. Compared to the national average of $266,700, and you can see the area offers a way better value that allows you to stretch your dollar even more here. However, it’s no secret our low cost of living is the result of lower incomes and higher unemployment rates.
For example, national unemployment is at 4.1%. Locally, it’s 6.6%. The average annual salary in Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley is $40,440 compared to the national average of $49,630. However, these numbers will improve over time as more development comes to fruition.
Okay, so we don’t have the best winters, but Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley are in a unique spot. Where else can you go and be within an hour drive of not one, but two major metros with Cleveland and Pittsburgh? Let’s not forget about Mill Creek MetroParks, which is the gem of the area and also the second largest municipal park system in the entire country. While our past may be strong, our future is even stronger as we journey through this cultural and economic renaissance reshaping our image and mindset.