National publications, economists and university researchers recognize Northwest Arkansas as one of the nation’s most successful regions. They are consistent with their praise of Northwest Arkansas, its counties and cities, its economy and businesses, and its quality of life. It's worth saying many publications and researchers' lists show the city of Fayetteville as the place that's being ranked, but the statistics used to determine the rankings make clear that the ranking is based on the success of the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan statistical area (the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA) rather than any one city. Here are some examples of the praise that's been heaped on Northwest Arkansas, its individual cities and its schools.

REgional rankings

Most Dynamic Metros

Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 2 among medium-sized metropolitan areas and No. 17 overall on a list of the nation’s Most Dynamic Metropolitans. The report by former Milken Institute researcher Ross DeVol, who now works for the Walton Family Foundation, was published in June 2019 by the foundation.

Best cities to launch a career in mid-2017 created a list of the 10 Best Cities to Launch a Career. Northwest Arkansas  joined far larger middle America regions on the list, including Dallas, Kansas City and Nashville. Among the places listed, only Kansas City had a lower median home price.

Best Affordable Places to Live

U.S. News & World Report put Northwest Arkansas at No. 4 on its April 2019 ranking of the 25 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. The region was No. 8 on the list in the previous year.


Forbes put the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA at No. 2 on its list of Best Midsize Cities for Jobs. The ranking was published in May 2018. The publication noted the region's job count is up 20 percent since 2012.

Best cities for jobs

Northwest Arkansas in 2017 sat at No. 6 in a ranking of the nation's Best Cities for Jobs, according to The publication put Northwest Arkansas at No. 2 on its list of Best Medium-Sized Cities for Jobs. All the midsize cities had 150,000 to 450,000 nonfarm jobs in their metropolitan area.


Best-Performing Cities

The Milken Institute, which published a new report in January 2019, put the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area's economy at No. 27 among large metropolitan areas. The region was especially strong in job growth and wage growth.

Best Places to Live

U.S. News & World Report put the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (Northwest Arkansas) Metropolitan Statistical Area at No. 4 on its 2019 list of Best Places to Live in the U.S. Northwest Arkansas has stayed in the Top 5 for four consecutive years.

Best Places for Bikes

PlacesForBikes, a program of PeopleForBikes, put four Northwest Arkansas cities among its Top 25 city ratings among U.S. cities. The list, which included Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale and Bella Vista, was made public in May 2019.


Best Places to Retire

In December 2018, Magazine publisher Where To Retire included Northwest Arkansas on its list of America’s 100 Best Places to Retire.

Money Magazine in 2015 listed Northwest Arkansas as one of 25 Best Places to Retire. Northwest Arkansas offers a wealth of year-round outdoor outlets.

Best Suburb to Purchase a Home

According to Realtor Magazine's June 2015 issue, Centerton in Northwest Arkansas was ranked by online publication Niche at No. 3 for best places in the nation to purchase a home with an average home price of $133,400. Niche recently ranked America's suburbs, factoring in home values, property taxes, housing costs, and age of new homebuyers.

Fastest-Growing Economy through 2022

The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (Northwest Arkansas) economy will continue to advance in big ways, according to a report by IHS Markit for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and The Council on Metro Economies and the New American City. The report made public in mid-2018 show the region's economic growth rate will remain solid through 2022. Northwest Arkansas and just nine other metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. will maintain economic growth above 3 percent annually from 2019-22. The report predicts a 3.7 percent annual growth rate in the region’s gross metropolitan product.


Bella Vista

The city on the northern end of the Northwest Arkansas region was selected as one of the nation's 25 Best Places to Retire in 2017 by Forbes. The affordability of housing was a significant factor in the ranking.


Money put Bentonville at No. 7 on its list of Best Places to Live, published in September 2919. The magazine limits its list to no more than four cities per state and no more than one per county, and other Northwest Arkansas cities have been included in previous versions of the Money list.

NerdWallet put Bentonville at No. 9 on its list of Best Small Cities for Families, publishing the list in October 2017. The online publication ranked cities with populations between 25,000 and 75,000 residents. Bentonville was the only Top 10 city that isn't a suburb to one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.

Jetsetter put Bentonville in its list of America's Coolest Southern Towns, describing three of trhe city's best attributes: Crystal Bridges, 21c Museum Hotel and The Hive, an outstanding restaurant inside the hotel. The list was published in September 2017.

National Geographic in May 2017 selected Bentonville as one of America's 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns. Mountain bike trails at Slaughter Pen in Bentonville, Lake Atalanta in Rogers and Mount Kessler in Fayetteville were mentioned as part of the recognition on National Geographic's website.

Thrillist in May 2016 put Bentonville in its list of "25 Best Small U.S. Cities to spend the weekend." Thrillist is a website focused on food, drink and travel.

Outside Magazine in March 2016 ranked Bentonville on its list of "28 Best Trips of 2016," noting the region's growing interest in and places for mountain biking.

Yahoo! Travel in June 2015 has identified Bentonville as one of 10 Newest Hipster Neighborhoods. According to Yahoo! Travel, great things are happening in some relatively unknown neighborhoods across the U.S.  The opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art21c Museum HotelScott Family Amazeum and the recent Bentonville Film Festival attended by many of Hollywood's royalty, has identified Bentonville as a hub for art and culture.



Livability in March 2019 announced that Fayetteville ranked No, 42 among the nation’s 100 Best Places to Live.

Money magazine in February 2018 selected Fayetteville as No. 1 on its ranking of Best Places for Singles Right Now.

Money magazine put Fayetteville and three other Northwest Arkansas cities in the Top 70 in its September 2017 ranking of Best Places to Live. Fayetteville led the way at No. 43, but Rogers (No. 45), Springdale (No. 58) and Siloam Springs (No. 68) were each ranked, too. The ranking was for cities with 10,000 to 100,000 residents.

Ranked by Southern Living at No. 11 in its list of The South’s Best College Towns, Fayetteville was cited for “a slew of music venues and bars” but also noted that Dickson Street is the “town’s life force on the weekends” and connects the University of Arkansas to “the revitalized downtown, where streets are blocked off on Saturdays for the 60-stall Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.”

Fayetteville was identified by Flipkey as one of Six Amazing Small Cities for a Family Vacation in November 2016. The other five were Chapel Hill, N.C.; Columbia, Mo.; Rockville, Md.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Sioux Falls, S.D.


The city came in at No. 14 on Money Magazine’s 2018 list of Best Places to Live. Fayetteville was No. 45 on the same list.


The city ranked No. 29 on Money Magazine’s 2019 list of Best Places to Live. The list was made public in September 2019.

SmartAsset in September 2018 identified Springdale as one of the nation’s Best Minor League Baseball Towns. It noted the city’s high quality of life as well as the team’s 2010 Texas League title.

WalletHub ranked Springdale at No. 24 on a list of the Fastest-Growing Cities in America among the small cities evaluated. The list was published in October 2018.

Springdale sits at No. 45 on a list of America's 50 Best Cities to Live as ranked by 24/7 Wall St. The website evaluated 590 cities with populations over 65,000 residents. Data was collected in nine categories, including crime, health, housing and infrastructure.


preLaw Magazine

The National Jurist and preLaw magazines ranked the University of Arkansas School of Law as the nation's No. 7 "Best Value in Legal Education" in 2017. The law school is often ranked among the nation's best in terms of cost. It's the fifth consecutive year that the university's law school has ranked in the Top 10.

The National Jurist and preLaw magazines in their Winter 2018 issues ranked the University of Arkansas School of Law No. 16 in the Public Defender/Prosecutor list of its “Best Schools for Public Service.”



CNBC published a story in 2017, citing Arkansas as the No. 4 least expensive state to live in. It noted that energy bills in the Natural State are roughly half as expensive as they would be in Boston.