Over 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. That is up from just over 60% in 1960. This has triggered a large number of problems, among them the stress they put on infrastructure, which includes roads. The need for services like police, fire and emergency services costs cities huge amounts of their budgets. This migration also has changed the face of America. The number of people who live on farms is down to 1% of the total U.S. population.
Some cities have had little to combat years of decay, which has completely changed them over the past half-century. Great industrial cities like Detroit have lost half their population since 1950 as the companies that built them either disappeared or moved elsewhere. An unusually large number of the residents who remain live in poverty. Property tax revenue for city services has plunged.
Some cities have done outstanding jobs to support highly positive environments for their residents. To identify the best city to live in, 24/7 Wall St. used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create a weighted index of 25 measures across four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life and community.
The cities considered are concentrated in just a dozen states. California dominates the list, with 20 of its cities making the list, followed by Massachusetts with seven and New Jersey with six. Additionally, most of the cities reviewed are typically just outside major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston or Chicago. Their residents have access to the high-paying jobs in those cities but can avoid issues that often come with living in major cities, like higher crime rates and housing costs.
The analysis reveals that the best city to live in America is Burlingame, California. Here are the details:
- Population: 30,576
- Five-year population change: +3.2%
- Median household income: $128,447
- Five-year unemployment rate: 4.7%
Burlingame ranks as the best city to live in America. Located between San Francisco and San Jose along the San Francisco Bay, it has a median household income more than double the U.S. median of $62,843. Both poverty and unemployment are relatively uncommon.
Burlingame residents have among the highest quality of life ratings and tend to make healthy lifestyle choices. Just 15.6% of residents get no leisure time exercise, compared to 22.7% of all Americans. Chronic health issues are generally uncommon, and nearly all residents have a place to exercise.