Society

Best Cities To Live In By Livability Score

Madison in Wisconsin, Rochester in Minnesota and Arlington in Virginia round of the top 3 cities to live in the United States

Each year, Livability researches and publishes a list of the top 100 places to live in the United States. While many people tend to think their own hometown is the best place to live, lists such as these can help validate whether or not one’s hometown bias is well-founded or not. In some cases, closer inspection may reveal that your home isn't actually all you’ve cracked up to be. Read on, and see if any of these most attractive locations surprise you.

Methodology

In compiling the list, the research team at the Martin Property Institute conducted an extensive survey comparing what people valued within the communities of each location studied. Over 2,000 cities were analyzed through this study, and then ranked accordingly. Since the list is released each year, you may find that some cities move up or down in the rankings while some disappear altogether as newcomer emerge. The reason for these changes may be due to changing demographics, people's perspective on what makes a great place to live, or changes in how the survey is conducted. The research goal is to provide the most up-to-date information each year in a consistent, unbiased manner.

Guiding Principles

There are four primary principles which can make or break a city’s bid to earn a position on the list. Access to amenities is one of them, as every city needs to have basic facilities such as schools, hospitals, airports, and a reasonable climate to be attractive. Affordability is the second criteria. This doesn't entail that a location has to be cheap, but researchers consider factors such as cost of living relative to average income to be very important. Recreational choices constitute the third principle, since people like having a variety of options in terms of schools, parks, and other public spaces. Finally, utilization rounds out their criteria list. Lifestyle variables aren't as easy to understand, but this principle is designed to pinpoint cities that are livable for most people in general.

Midwestern Reign

Cities in the Midwest have come to dominate the list, with Madison, Wisconsin achieving the number one place. Other cities like Rochester, Michigan and Overland Park, Kansas ranked highly as well. What makes these cities such as great choice? Allures that Midwest locales tend to have in common are lower costs of living, along with good healthcare infrastructures and education systems. These areas also tend to have a more laid-back and friendly atmosphere, which plays a significant role in their rankings as well.

How are things on the West Coast?

Many cities in California approached the top of the list. Palo Alto and Berkeley, California filled the 5th and 6th spots, respectively. As anyone who's been to California knows, it's an expensive place to live. Nonetheless, California’s excellent schools, beautiful weather, and excellent amenities make it very attractive. From jobseekers to astute academics to young vacationers just wanting to have a good time, California has a little bit of something for everyone.

A Lack of Southern Charm

Few well-known southern cities made the list. Most of the larger cities in the South weren't highly ranked, primarily due to poor public transportation and a high cost of living. However, mid-size cities like Sandy Springs, Georgia and Greenville, South Carolina fared much better on the list. They tend to have a lower cost of living and proffer multiple amenities appealing to a wide range of people.

This list certainly doesn't include every American city where you might want to live, but it's certainly offers a good assortment of prime choices. If you've ever wondered where you might want to move in the U.S., choosing from among any of the top places will likely leave you satisfied.Livability researches and publishes a list of the top 100 places to live in the United States. While many people tend to think their own hometown is the best place to live, lists such as these can help validate whether or not one’s hometown bias is well-founded or not. In some cases, closer inspection may reveal that your home isn't actually all you’ve cracked up to be. Read on, and see if any of these most attractive locations surprise you.


Best Cities To Live In By Livability Score

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RankCityLivability Score
1Madison, Wisconsin705
2Rochester, Minnesota685
3Arlington, Virginia680
4Boulder, Colorado679
5Palo Alto, California679
6Berkeley, California672
7Santa Clara, California671
8Missoula, Montana668
9Boise, Idaho665
10Iowa City, Iowa665
11Bozeman, Montana664
12Asheville, North Carolina663
13Ann Arbor, Michigan662
14Bellevue, Washington660
15San Mateo, California660
16Santa Barbara, California656
17Overland Park, Kansas655
18Salt Lake City, Utah655
19Rockville, Maryland655
20Eugene, Oregon654
21Pasadena, California651
22Fargo, North Dakota651
23Ventura, California650
24Fort Collins, Colorado647
25Sunnyvale, California645
26Mountain View, California645
27St. Louis Park, Minnesota645
28Santa Monica, California644
29Durham, North Carolina644
30Ames, Iowa639
31San Rafael, California638
32Frederick, Maryland637
33Greenville, South Carolina637
34Lakewood, Colorado636
35Provo, Utah636
36Sandy Springs, Georgia635
37Lincoln, Nebraska634
38Miami Beach, Florida634
39Quincy, Massachusetts634
40Cambridge, Massachusetts633
41Sioux Falls, South Dakota633
42Towson, Maryland632
43Tempe, Arizona632
44Portland, Maine632
45Alameda, California632
46Renton, Washington632
47Bellingham, Washington631
48Beaverton, Oregon631
49Fullerton, California631
50Columbia, Missouri631

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