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The forthcoming apartments dubbed “The Commodore” in Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington has seen the greatest growth in people living alone of 342 U.S. cities.

That’s according to a new study by the website SmartAsset, which examined census data between 2016 and 2021.

Arlington is No. 1 on the list and neighboring Alexandria is No. 2, at a 3.54x and 2.98x increase of people living alone, respectively. In Arlington, about 42% of households only had one resident as of 2021.

“The rate of single people who live alone is rising dramatically in some U.S. cities,” a SmartAsset spokesman wrote. “Our findings show Arlington and Alexandria ranked among the top five cities where households changed the most.”

More from SmartAsset’s findings:

On average, the rate of single people living alone jumped to 28%. Five years prior, that figure was 24%. In Arlington, VA, which had the most drastic increase, the proportion of people living alone jumped from 11% to 41%.

Single people make up nearly half of households in these cities. The largest single populations across men and women are Washington, D.C. (48.23%); St. Louis, MO (47.49%); Alexandria, VA (46.52%); Richmond, VA (46.23%); Cincinnati, OH (46.20%); and Cleveland, OH (46.20%).

In the D.C. area, more than 25% of households are single women. Single-woman households are most prominent in Richmond, VA (28.00%); Washington, D.C. (26.74%); and Alexandria, VA (26.23%). These areas also saw the largest increases in the proportion of single women living alone over five years, with greater than 15% of households added to this cohort. Other areas with large bachelorette populations include St. Louis, MO (25.70%); New Orleans, LA (25.70%) and Cincinnati, OH (24.63%).

It’s perhaps worth pointing out that the end year of the study period, 2021, was in the midst of the pandemic — which might have prompted some to exit roommate situations.

2023 rankings for “Increase in People Living Alone in U.S. Cities” (via SmartAsset)
Apartment buildings that make up The Highlands development (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington is “most desired city by renters” in the United States for the second month in a row, according to a rental website.

From’s August Rental Activity Report:

Arlington, VA, is August’s most sought-after city by renters looking for an apartment for rent on, the same as last month. Apartment listings in the city attracted a significantly higher number of engagements compared to this time last year.

Specifically, traffic on Arlington listing pages more than doubled year-over-year, while renters favorited 72% more apartments and saved 38% more personalized searches. This continued (and growing) interest from apartment seekers in Arlington listings also helped the city keep its top spot for another month.

Arlington was followed on the top of the list by a trio of midwestern cities: Kansas City, Minneapolis and Cincinnati. Neighboring D.C. ranked No. 15, falling two spots.

The popularity comes at a cost, however. One- and two-bedroom rents were up 6% year-over-year as of May, according to a report from another rental website, Zumper, which ranked Arlington County as the 10th priciest rental market in the U.S.

At least some of that rising demand is being met by new development. Large apartment projects are underway or planned in neighborhoods including Pentagon City, Crystal City and Courthouse.

August 2023 rental activity rankings (via
Parents and kids celebrate the last bus drop off of the school year with a water balloon fight in the Yorktown neighborhood (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Out of more than 130 municipalities, Arlington is the third best place to raise a family, according to a new rankings report.

Arlington was evaluated alongside nearly 140 cities nationwide based on factors such as, cost of living, housing, the local economy and quality of life for renting families, according to RentCafe, which analyzes rental data and trends.

Arlington ranked near the bottom for cost of living but clinched second place for “Local Economy” and third for “Quality of Life,” which boosted its overall score – surpassed only by Plano, Texas and Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Arlington provides the ultimate combination of budget-friendly options, a growing job market, and high quality of life,” per the report, which called the county “a place teeming with history, but still keeping up with the younger crowd.”

With a cost of living 40% above the national average, the county ranked 128th in the “Cost of Living & Housing” category. In addition to having the 10th highest rental rates in U.S., RentCafe says renters looking to “upsize” for a growing family can expect to pay, on average, $645 per additional room.

While that “may not be so appealing for many renter families,” the report notes, “Arlingtonians can rest assured that they are raising their children in one of the finest locations in the U.S.”

RentCafe highlighted that 85% of apartments in Arlington are situated “in prime locations” near “excellent schools” and family-friendly spots, including parks and museums.

The reported also noted Arlington has one of the highest child school enrollment rates nationwide, at 92%, and the second lowest percentage of children living below the poverty line, at 6.8%.

In terms of its economy, RentCafe highlights that 76% of Arlington residents possess a higher education degree, ranking it second-highest. Additionally, there’s been a 1.6% uptick in job growth and a mere 2.9% unemployment rate, marking the lowest among the top 10.

“The city proves that it knows how to both play hard and work hard,” the report said.

The list of the top 10 municipalities is below:

  1. Plano, Texas: Top-ranked for its balance of urban and suburban life, high-quality schools, and spacious apartments.
  2. Scottsdale, Arizona: Offers upscale living, stunning views, and over 330 sunny days a year.
  3. Arlington, Virginia: A history-rich city with a youthful vibe, boasting excellent economy and quality of life.
  4. Marietta, Georgia: Provides a low cost of living, large apartments, and excellent schools.
  5. Sunnyvale, California: Heart of Silicon Valley, offering diverse kid-friendly activities and top-notch schools.
  6. Round Rock, Texas: Known as the “Sports Capital of Texas,” it’s perfect for active families who love their space.
  7. Austin, Texas: A cultural hub with a vibrant entertainment scene and an appealing cost of living.
  8. Fayetteville, Arkansas: Leads in cost of living and housing, blending small-town charm with ample family apartments.
  9. Raleigh, North Carolina: A perfect blend of Southern charm and a busy college town, perfect for raising a little scientist.
  10. Ann Arbor, Michigan: A renter’s paradise with dense forestation, great schools, and a thriving cultural scene.

Arlington secured the number one spot as the “fittest city” in the nation — for the sixth year in a row.

The new 2023 rankings were released yesterday (Tuesday) by the American College of Sports Medicine and Elevance Health Foundation.

The rankings found that Arlingtonians not only tend to make health-conscious decisions — eating vegetables, not smoking and biking to work — but also have access to an abundance of parks, trails and wide sidewalks to stay active.

“I am very impressed with Arlington for getting this spot for the sixth year in a row, however, I won’t say I am surprised. The county has done well with creating the assets needed to have a healthy community,” chair of the American Fitness Index Advisory Board Dr. Stella Volpe told ARLnow yesterday. “Arlington has resources for making the healthy choice the easy choice for its residents.”

Arlington County and 99 other cities and municipalities were evaluated based on 34 evidence-based health indicators, such as recreational facilities and how often residents work out. It ranked in the top 10 cities for 16 of these criteria.

The county topped both the “personal health” category, which measures individual fitness choices and health outcomes, and the “community-environment” category, which measures indicators such as access to recreational facilities, a press release said.

“Getting a title like this is a great honor for Arlington,” Volpe said. “The city is on a great roll and is certainly doing things right. It is something to be happy about.”

Arlington scored the highest in the nation for the percentage of residents who had exercised in the last month, landing at 89.9%, and had the lowest score in the nation for the percentage of residents with diabetes, at 5.8%.

The report noted that Arlington had not had any pedestrian deaths in the most recent federal data available, from 2020, but there have been some fatalities since then.

D.C. and Seattle fell just behind Arlington, ranking in second and third place overall.

“Residents are almost forced to be active in Arlington which is part of the reason why the city keeps winning,” Volpe said.

2023 Fitness Ranking infographic (courtesy American College of Sports Medicine)

The press release about the rankings release is below.

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(Updated at noon) It’s not even the highlight of the Arlington eatery’s menu, but the burger at Sloppy Mama’s has been named one of the best in the D.C. area.

That’s according to Washington Post food critic Tim Carman, who sampled 45 burgers around the region and compiled a list of the top 10. Many of the top burgers were at restaurants in the District which specialize in burgers.

But not Sloppy Mama’s, the barbecue joint at 5731 Langston Blvd.

The $6 cheeseburger is a recent addition to a menu that’s more focused on brisket than burgers. Nonetheless, it placed No. 3 on Carman’s list.

“The first time I tried the cheeseburger at Sloppy Mama’s, it was during the pandemic,” Carman wrote. “I had ordered a variety of smoked meats for takeaway — back when we were keeping the world at arm’s length — and owners Joe and Mandy Neuman tossed in a couple of burgers as a thank you. They had just put the burgers on the menu, one more hedge against an uncertain future for restaurants at the time. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d even try one.”

But the burger blew him away, perhaps due to the meat that’s used.

“[Joe Neuman’s] patties are made with the trimmings from prime briskets,” Carman noted, adding that the taste “probably boils down to animal fat, and lots of it. These burgers are not afraid to revel in the richness that can only come from good beef.”

Only one other Arlington restaurant was mentioned in the article, as an honorable mention: Bob and Edith’s Diner and its B&E burger.

The RiverHouse apartments at 1111 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City (staff photo)

Arlington is the tenth priciest market for rental housing in the United States, according to an updated set of rankings.

Rental website Zumper released its latest national rent report, which lists Arlington at No. 10 and neighboring D.C. at No. 9. New York City tops the list.

Zumber notes that Arlington rent grew at a faster pace over the past month than the national median, though its place in the rankings held steady.

“Zumper’s National Index showed one-bedrooms increasing 0.6% to $1,504, while two-bedrooms rose 0.8% to $1,856 in May. Both bedroom types are up about 6% year-over-year,” a spokesperson told ARLnow. “The price of one bedroom units in Arlington increased 1.3% to $2,300 last month, while two bedroom units grew 2.6% to $3,100.”

On a year-over-year basis, median one- and two-bedroom rents in Arlington are up 4.5% and 5.8%, respectively, this month.

Continued rent growth in Arlington contrasts with the falling rents earlier in the pandemic.

The report, meanwhile, notes that some less-expensive interior U.S. cities — like Columbus, Ohio and Colorado Springs — are seeing a surge in rental interest from those moving from more expensive coastal areas of the country.

Top 10 markets for median rental prices in May 2023 (via Zumper)
The new, public Metropolitan Park in the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After reaching No. 3 among local park systems last year, Arlington County has fallen a couple of spaces in the national “ParkScore” rankings.

The county was ranked No. 3 in the U.S. on the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore index in 2022, after several years of being stuck at No. 4. This year, the county is No. 5.

A PR rep for the Trust for Public Land said the change was less about Arlington and more about two other park systems.

“It’s mostly because Irvine and Minneapolis opened new parks that pushed them ahead — not because of problems in Arlington,” said Matthew Kagan.

D.C. repeated as No. 1 in the nation this year. St. Paul, Minnesota is No. 2.

Last year, after ranking in the top 3, the county touted that 99% of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk to the park.

“Our parks and recreation opportunities are a key contributor to quality of life in Arlington County,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in 2022. “From livability, bikeability, fitness, health and more, our community benefits from our parks.”

Arlington got lower marks, however, for overall and median park acreage.

2023 ParkScore rankings (courtesy Trust for Public Land)

The full press release about this year’s rankings is below.

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Hundred dollar bills / money (Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash)

A family needs to make a bit over $84,000 to be considered middle class in Arlington.

That’s according to a new list compiled by the financial website SmartAsset. To be in the upper income tier, a household needs to make more than $250,000.

SmartAsset used Census data and the Pew Research definition of middle-income households to figure out the bounds of middle income in all 50 states and the 100 largest localities in the U.S.

At $251,302, Arlington has the third-highest upper bound of middle income in the country, according to the list. The median household income in Arlington, meanwhile, is just over $125,000.

Arlington is comparable to No. 2 San Jose, Calif., in Silicon Valley, which has an upper bound of $252,754. Topping the list is another Silicon Valley locality, Fremont, at $311,936. Fremont, home to a major Tesla manufacturing plant, has a lower bound is $104,499, making it the only city on the list where you can make six figures and be considered lower-income.

Middle class household income bounds, by locality (via SmartAsset)

SmartAsset said education and proximity propelled Arlington into the top 3.

Arlington, situated on the banks of the Potomac River, benefits from its proximity to Washington D.C. and a highly-educated workforce. Over 76% of residents 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, more than double the national average. The federal government is Arlington’s top employer, with the Department of Defense and a number of other agencies based there. Middle class households here earn up to $251,302 per year, while those earning less than $84,186 miss the threshold.

“A family income of $200,000 once felt like a milestone salary, but today, that qualifies as ‘middle class’ in several parts of the country,” a spokesperson for the site said.

This week the GazetteLeader reported that the average single-family home price in Arlington has reached $1.37 million.

The top 5 localities on the SmartAsset list are all tech-centric to some degree. Arlington, of course, is the home of Amazon’s HQ2 and numerous startups. No. 4 San Francisco needs no introduction and No. 5 Seattle is host to Amazon’s main headquarters.

On a statewide level, Virginia has a middle income lower bound of $54,245 and an upper bound of $161,926. That compares to $60,359 and $180,176 for D.C., $60,436 and $180,406 for Maryland, and $34,336 and $102,496 for West Virginia.

Flowers in bloom near the Netherlands Carillon with the Rosslyn skyline in the background (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington has ranked among the 15 most “eco-forward cities and towns” in the nation.

Specifically, Arlington is No. 5, behind No. 1 Somerville, Mass. and No. 3 Jersey City, N.J. (The latter being, arguably, Arlington’s New York metro area doppelgänger and long-time rival in various rankings.)

The list was compiled by Opendoor, the online home-buying company that you might receive frequent solicitous letters from if you own a house in Arlington. The company’s methodology looked at factors like bicycle parking, bicycle rentals, bicycle shops, electric vehicle charging, recycling, transit, second hand shops and the local government’s sustainability efforts.

“The cities and towns on our list, like Arlington, are putting a concerted effort into making eco-minded practices and solutions the norm, and specifically, Arlington is the first LEED Platinum certified community and is recognized as a leader in creating a sustainable environment,” Jennifer Patchen, a real estate broker for Opendoor, said in a statement. “Arlington has a long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and home buyers looking to plant roots in a ‘green’ community should consider Arlington.”

An Opendoor PR rep also noted: “78% of U.S. consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them and that they’re prioritizing eco-conscious details and design in their home.”

The full list is below.

  1. Somerville, MA

  2. Emeryville, CA

  3. Jersey City, NJ

  4. Boulder, CO

  5. Arlington, VA 

  6. Portland, OR

  7. West Hempstead, NY

  8. Carrboro, NC

  9. Salt Lake City, UT

  10. Santa Monica, CA

  11. Temple Terrace, FL

  12. Fort Collins, CO

  13. Dearborn, MI

  14. Phoenix, AZ

  15. San Diego, CA

In addition to homeowners, Arlington’s eco bonafides have been a draw for employers.

In 2018, prior to Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, we famously reported that an internal Amazon webpage was sending thousands of views to an ARLnow article headlined “County Wins Top Environmental Award from U.S. Green Building Council.”

Cherry blossoms in Colonial Village (staff photo)

Arlington’s Colonial Village neighborhood is the No. 2 “Best Place to Live in America,” according to a recent set of rankings.

Two other Arlington neighborhoods, meanwhile, ranked in the top 25.

Colonial Village is best known for its historic garden-style apartments and condos, built between 1935 and 1940. Lush, landscaped and tree-lined, the community is both verdant and urban — it’s in easy walking distance to Courthouse and the Courthouse Metro station.

From Niche, which ranked neighborhoods across the United States:

Colonial Village is a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia with a population of 2,895. Colonial Village is in Arlington County and is one of the best places to live in Virginia. In Colonial Village, most residents rent their homes. In Colonial Village there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many young professionals live in Colonial Village and residents tend to be liberal. The public schools in Colonial Village are highly rated.

The website released its annual rankings late last month. It’s the same set of rankings that found Arlington to be No. 2 among the “Best Cities to Live in America.”

Other notable local findings from Niche:

The Rosslyn skyline in the spring (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington County is the second best “city” to live in the U.S., according to a new set of rankings.

The school-and-place ranking website Niche is out with the 2023 edition of its Best Places to Live in America, and Arlington is second only to Cambridge, Massachusetts — home of Harvard and MIT — on the cities list.

“Living in Arlington offers residents an urban feel and most residents rent their homes,” Niche writes about Arlington. “In Arlington there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many young professionals live in Arlington and residents tend to be liberal. The public schools in Arlington are highly rated.”

Arlington is also No. 3 on Niche’s list of Best Cities to Raise a Family in America and No. 5 on its list of Best Cities for Young Professionals in America.

Arlington received “A+” grades for public schools, nightlife, health and fitness, and family friendliness, plus an A for diversity, outdoor activities and commute. It received a B for weather, C+ for housing and a C for cost of living.

Niche puts Arlington’s median home value at $755,800, compared to a national median of $244,900, while the median monthly rent is $2,094 compared to $1,163 nationally.

Arlington was No. 1 on Niche’s best cities list for five years straight, but fell to No. 2 in 2021.

A press release about the rankings release is below.

March 20, 2023  PITTSBURGH – Niche, the leading platform connecting students and families with colleges and schools, has just published the 2023 Best Places to Live in America rankings. In the ninth consecutive year that Niche has produced these rankings, 228 cities and 17,932 towns and neighborhoods were included. Millions of people each year use Niche rankings and profiles to help with key life decisions such as where to live and where to go to school.

This year, for the first time ever, Cambridge, Mass., has been named the #1 Best City to Live in America. Chesterbrook, Pa., a neighborhood in the Philadelphia area, keeps its title as the #1 Best Place to Live in America for the fourth year in a row.

Niche creates the annual Best Places to Live rankings by using data from sources such as the U.S. Census, FBI, Bureau of Labor Statistics and CDC combined with millions of resident reviews. The company considers factors such as affordability, the local housing market, neighborhood diversity, area public schools, walkability and more.

“For almost ten years now, our Best Places to Live rankings have helped people find a new neighborhood to call home based on what matters most to them, whether that’s affordable housing, easy access to amenities or excellent local schools,” said Luke Skurman, CEO and founder of Niche. “We are proud to be a trusted resource for families, homebuyers, professionals and retirees alike in their research. Families wondering about an area’s school district can also use our comprehensive school profiles and rankings to get a feel for their child’s potential school.”

In addition to the national rankings, users can view the Best Places, Suburbs or Neighborhoods to Live rankings by state, metro area or county. Specialized lists include Best for Families, Young Professionals, Homebuyers, Retirees and more.

2023 Best Places to Live in America:

  1. Chesterbrook, PA
  2. Colonial Village, VA
  3. Ardmore, PA
  4. Hyde Park – Spanishtown Creek, FL
  5. Penn Wynne, PA

2023 Best Cities to Live in America:

  1. Cambridge, MA
  2. Arlington, VA
  3. The Woodlands, TX
  4. Naperville, IL
  5. Columbia, MD

To explore the full Places to Live rankings, visit:

To read more about the rankings methodology, visit:

For families looking to find out more about schools within a city, see our K-12 school rankings:

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