Once again, Wichita Falls is noticed as one of the best places to live in the United States.
In a list by Business Insider, the metro area was noted as one of the top 19 Southern regions to live after the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, the online site announced the top 30 places to live in the entire U.S. after the virus is under control.
In the previous study, researchers looked at metrics such as pre-COVID unemployment rate, population density and percentage of jobs that can be done at home.
In the U.S. study, Springfield, Illinois, came out on top due to their low unemployment rate before COVID (3.5 percent) and nearly 43 percent of jobs which can be done from home.
For July the Business Insiders focused on best places in the South to live after the pandemic.
Huntsville, Alabama, came out on top for the Southern list with about 42 percent of jobs that can be done from home. The city also had an above average population of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree (40.3 percent).
Wichita Falls came in 12th on the list and was noted for having a low population density at 57.7 people per square mile – the sixth smallest population density in the Southern metro areas. Researchers also highlighted the areas low cost of living, which is 12.4 percent less than the national average.
Our Oklahoma neighbor Lawton also made the list, coming in ninth. Lawton stood out for their short weekly commute time of a total of three hours and 13 minutes. Their metro area also has a population density perfect for social distancing with only 74.3 people per square mile.
A recent survey showed about one-third of Americans are thinking about moving to a less densely populated area.
Moody’s Analytics data analysis showed less densely populated areas that also had a high share of jobs that required a bachelor’s degree or higher were more likely to recover sooner from the economic impact of COVID-19.
During stay-at-home orders in most of the country this spring, as much as 62 percent of Americans were working at home. Even after shelter-in-place orders are lifted, surveys show many workers want to continue working from home, at least part of the time.
A Gallup poll in April showed 53 percent of respondents would were forced to work at home wanted to continue to work remotely as much as possible and 47 percent planned to return to the office.
Measures considered for great places to live post-coronavirus included ability to work at home, population density, affordable housing, monthly household costs, cost of living, weekly commute time, educational spending per student, and share of residents over age 25 with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Claire Kowalick, a senior journalist for the Times Record News, covers local government, military and MSU Texas. If you have a news tip, contact Claire at [email protected]