Compare Austin to Where I Am Currently Living?Austin is not particularly "sprawled" out, compared to many Texas cities. Though there are smaller cities surrounding Austin, such as Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Dripping Springs, Manor, Buda, and Kyle, Austin itself is fairly compact and easy to navigate. Compared to cities such as San Antonio and Houston, Austin's major roads are few and well-located. Some say Austin needs even more roads, however (see "What is Austin traffic like?").
As of 2011, Austin was rated as the 13th most populous city in the U.S. with New York, L.A., and Chicago being the top three, Houston being fourth, San Antonio seventh, and Dallas ninth. According to City of Austin demographic data, the population of the Austin area has risen from 846,227 in 1990 to 1,763,487 in April 2011, which is a 108% increase. The many technical companies in Austin have contributed to this growth, primarily during the 1990s.
Austin has been rated as #2 among best places to live by Money magazine. It's been rated as one of the "greenest" cities in the country (and hence one of the worst cities for allergy sufferers.) It has also been called one of the "fittest" cities in the country (which may be why a non-smoking ordinance for public places in Austin passed). It has been called "one of the best places to live," "one of the best places for singles," "one of the best places for young professionals", "one of the cleanest cities," and is relatively low in violent crime (according to austintexas.org and bestplaces.net).
Overall, Austin compares very well to other cities for liveability, cost of living, crime rate, and beauty.