America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

Print Email

30. Franklin, Tennessee

> Population: 70,613
> Median home value: $335,000
> Poverty rate: 5.9%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 58.2%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 359.7

With just 70,613 residents, Franklin is a relatively small city. As is the case with many other cities with the best living conditions, the Franklin area has a high barrier to entry — it is an expensive place to live, especially compared to the rest of Tennessee. The typical home in the area costs $335,000, well more than double the state’s median home value. Households in Franklin are well-off financially, with a median income of over $80,000. The city’s poverty rate of 5.9% is also considerably lower than both the state and national rates, at 18.3% and 15.5% respectively.

Area residents and their children are also relatively well educated. More than 58% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, and area students perform 70% better on standardized tests than their peers statewide.

29. Pembroke Pines, Florida

> Population: 164,625
> Median home value: $218,600
> Poverty rate: 8.7%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 30.0%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 72.3

With the Everglades to the west, Fort Lauderdale to the north, and Miami to the south, Pembroke Pines is one of the most livable cities in the country. Average temperatures in Pembroke Pines range from 69 degrees in the winter months to 84 degrees in the summer. Although cost of living in the city is about 19% higher than it is on average across the country, the typical household earns about $61,495 annually, significantly more than the $53,657 the typical American household earns. Like many of the country’s most liveable cities, Pembroke Pines is relatively safe. About 169 violent crimes are reported per 100,000 residents annually, significantly less than the 541 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents across the state.

28. Alexandria, Virginia

> Population: 150,575
> Median home value: $520,300
> Poverty rate: 9.8%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 62.8%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 257.7

Alexandria is one of two high-income suburbs in the Washington D.C. metro area that are among America’s best places to live. The typical household in Alexandria makes $86,809 annually, over $30,000 more than the national median income. While income is certainly high, real estate prices are higher. A typical U.S. home costs about 3.4 times more than the national median household income. In Alexandria, the typical home costs $520,300, or six times higher than the area’s median household income — making it the least affordable city on this list.

The city’s proximity to the nation’s capital — about eight miles — shapes its workforce . The U.S. Department of Commerce, headquartered in D.C., is one of Alexandria’s largest employers. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is also one of the area’s largest employers, and nearly one-fourth of workers commute using public transit. The southeastern city is highly educated. Almost 63% of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, more than double the country’s comparable educational attainment rate.

ALSO READ: Cities With the Fastest Growing Economies

27. Cape Coral, Florida

> Population: 169,855
> Median home value: $170,400
> Poverty rate: 12.5%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 21.9%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 116.0

Cape Coral, a city on Florida’s Gulf coast, is one of the best places to live in the country. One of the biggest draws to the city of roughly 170,000 people — apart from the beach-lined coast — is the city’s economic expansion. Between 2012 and 2014, employment grew by more than 10%, the fifth-largest growth of any U.S. city. Cape Coral’s violent crime rate is also half that of the national average violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 people. Though the cost of living is about 3% higher that it is nationally, the city’s poverty rate of 12.5% is lower than the national rate of 15.5%.

26. Chino, California

> Population: 84,743
> Median home value: $373,800
> Poverty rate: 9.4%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 17.2%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 174.6

A typical household in Chino, part of the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, earns nearly $80,000 annually, well above the national median income and 1.28 times California’s median. Chino has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, with a 6.3% employment growth between 2012 and 2014. The city also has a poverty rate of 9.4%, much lower than the national rate of 15.5%.

As is the case with many of the most livable cities, Chino’s population has grown substantially recently. From 2005 through 2014, the number of people living in Chino increased by 21.5%, more than double the national population growth rate over that time.