Fayette County

Why do rankings say living in Lexington is a smart choice?

Turns out you were right when you chose to make a home in Lexington. A slew of recent rankings heaped praise on the city, including it in listings of the best places to live.

Various consumer and business websites regularly cull through data collected from public and private agencies — Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Bankrate, FBI and more — to make rankings and comparisons. If you feel like there’s a new listing every month, you’re not wrong.

Lexingtonians enjoy their city for many reasons — University of Kentucky sports, Keeneland horse racing, picturesque horse farms, bourbon distilleries in every direction and a plethora of local eateries for the foodies. But several rankings highlight more practical benefits of living in Lexington.

NerdWallet.com ranked cities by quality of life and used data such as average weekly hours worked, average travel time to work and unemployment rates to find Lexington the 12th-best city to live in, out of the 177 reviewed in the study.

Madison, Wis., and Sioux Falls, S.D., topped its rankings.

A study from 24/7 Wall St. created a list of more than three dozen socioeconomic measures — including median home value, poverty rate and percentage of citizens with at least a bachelor’s degree — for its own ranking of the country’s best cities to live in.

Aided by a top-25 ranking for the percentage of citizens with a bachelor’s degree and benefits from the horse-racing industry, Lexington came in 31st overall..

Carmel, Ind., a suburb of Indianapolis, was ranked the highest by 24/7 Wall St.

And for those UK students looking for their next venture after graduating, Lexington is a good place to stay, according to a study from SmartAsset.com.

In the website’s rankings of best cities for college grads, Lexington ranked seventh, which was 11 spots higher than last year. In its grade of Lexington, the website cited a lower unemployment rate, higher salaries and rent affordability.

If you want to stay close to Lexington following college, you have plenty of friendly options. Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville lead SmartAsset’s rankings of best destinations for post-grads.

While renting is fine, some of those college grads might want to look at owning a home as they progress in their careers. According to a study from SmartAsset and Quicken Loans, closing costs for owning homes in Lexington is the ninth cheapest in the country, with an average cost of $2,165. The nationwide average is $3,226.

The same study also shows Lexington below the national average in annual property taxes and average mortgage payment, but relatively high in homeowner’s insurance.

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson