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Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. For good reason, turns out.
The rankings are compiled by using data on things like quality of life, desirability and housing affordability among others. The ranking is the sixth straight inside the top 10 for Fayetteville. Little Rock was ranked 87th on the list.
The population of the region grew by 24.2% since 2010 to more than 546,000. The population growth of the state as a whole grew by 3.3% since the 2010 census.
Fayetteville is the highest-ranked town among all cities in the SEC, as well. Here’s a look at the SEC (or future SEC) locales inside the Top 100.
7th - Fayetteville, University of Arkansas
Nov 12, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; An Arkansas Razorbacks spirit squad member runs the Razorbacks flag across the field after a touchdown during the second quarter of the game agains the LSU Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. LSU won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Overall score: 6.7
Quality of life: 6.8
Fayetteville places high on the list in large part due to one of the lowest costs of living in the country for an area of its size.
13th - Austin, University of Texas
Runningback Bijan Robinson celebates a long kick return during Texas’s game against Louisiana at Darrell K. Royal Stadium on Sept. 4, 2021.
Aem Ut Louisiana 30
Overall score: 6.6
Quality of life: 6.6
Austin gets big marks for enticing younger working adults and families. Its cost of living is actually higher than many similar sized in the state, however.
25th - Nashville, Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Ken Seals. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Overall score: 6.5
Quality of life: 6.1
One of the most popular Southern cities in the United States, Nashville remains fairly affordable for a city of its size.
33rd - Knoxville, University of Tennessee
Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel during a game Tennessee and Missouri at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021.
Kns Tennessee Missouri Football
Quality of life: 6.1
Knoxville is a blend of outdoors and urban, attracting visitors from across the country. Those who stay find a great cost of living relative to others.
34th - Lexington, University of Kentucky
Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) flexes after scoring over Kansas during the second half of Saturday’s game inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Quality of life: 6.9
Lexington is one of the most unique cities in the SEC as its blend of the South and the Midwest create a fun dichotomy.
80th - Columbia, University of South Carolina
Dec 30, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Juju McDowell (21) runs for a touchdown as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Cedric Gray (33) defensive back Tony Grimes (20) defend in the second quarter during the 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Overall score: 6.2
Quality of life: 5.9
Trees dot the streets everywhere in this Southern city and they’re gorgeous. It’s one of the smallest regions in the SEC (although Fayetteville proper is a smaller city) which keeps the costs down.
93rd - Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University
Oct 10, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Myles Brennan (15) throws a pass against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Quality of life: 6.0
Baton Rouge is the top-ranked city in Louisiana and its relatively low cost of living gives it high marks.