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Jonesboro ranks high in a national study of cities for early retirement, according to a financial website that ranked 217 cities based on cost of living, quality of life and employment opportunities.
MagnifyMoney, a price comparison website for financial products, determined that Jonesboro scored fifth nationally using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Conference of State Legislatures and other sources, according to a report on CNBC.
“We keep seeing these studies and analyses that rank Jonesboro remarkably well, and this is another fine example,” Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said. “One says Jonesboro is the best place to work, the next says it’s the best place to live, the next says it’s the best place for early retirement. They all add up to one thing: This is a great time to be in Jonesboro.”
Jonesboro scored 76 out of a possible 100 points – the best in Arkansas and tied for fifth nationally with Wichita Falls, Texas – and two points behind top-ranked Knoxville, Tenn., which scored 78. Three cities tied for second with 77 points: Memphis, Tenn.; Sherman, Texas, and Benton Harbor, Mich. Rounding out the top 10 were Cleveland, Tenn.; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Evansville, Ind. (all 75); and McAllen, Texas (74).
In the MagnifyMoney report, Jonesboro scored 97 in cost of living, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and other services. It graded 75 in employability – unemployment rate, the minimum wage, commute times and state income tax. Jonesboro scored 40 in quality of life – average annual weather and number of sunny days, access to arts and entertainment, and walkability.
MagnifyMoney executive editor Mandi Woodruff said the top of the list included many Southern and Midwestern cities because cost of living is critical to early-retiree lifestyle. Half of the study’s scoring formula is based on cost of living, 30 percent on quality of life and 20 percent on employment opportunities.