35. West Jordan, Utah
> Population: 110,917
> Median home value: $227,300
> Poverty rate: 8.6%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 23.1%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 153.3
Unlike most U.S. cities with the best living conditions, West Jordan’s population grew by 5.6% over the five years through last year, slower than the national growth rate of 6.5% over that period. Still, with low unemployment and poverty, as well as a relatively healthy housing market, the city is one of the best places to live. Just 3.6% of workers are unemployed, and only 8.6% of people live in poverty, each significantly below the respective national rates. The median home is valued at $227,300, well above both the state and national median home values. Relative to area incomes, housing affordability is just in line with the national home value to income ratio.
34. St. George, Utah
> Population: 78,509
> Median home value: $224,800
> Poverty rate: 15.2%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26.5%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 256.0
Located in southern Utah, along the state’s border with Arizona, St. George is just a short drive from Zion National Park. Aside from proximity to a global destination with rich archeological history and natural beauty, St. George has many amenities that improve the quality of life for its 78,509 residents. The city is home to about 256 eateries, 26 fitness and recreational sports centers, four museums and five movie theatres for every 100,000 residents. Only 16 cities in the United States have more movie theatres per capita than St. George.
Though the city has plenty to offer in terms of entertainment, it lags behind the state in several economic measures. The typical household in St. George brings in about $48,000 annually, while the typical household in Utah earns about $61,000 a year. A higher poverty rate accompanies lower median household income in St. George. About 15% of St. George residents live below the poverty line compared to 11.7% of Utah residents.
The city’s economy has grown by leaps and strides in recent years, however. The number of jobs in St. George grew by over 10% over the two years through 2014, nearly the fastest employment growth in the country.
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33. Henderson, Nevada
> Population: 277,458
> Median home value: $243,600
> Poverty rate: 9.7%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31.6%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 239.0
A suburb of Las Vegas, Henderson is one of America’s best places to live. The median household income in Henderson is $62,592 a year, and when adjusted for the city’s low cost of living, it is about $600 higher. Low property tax also helps keep money in Henderson residents’ pockets. Residents pay just 0.74% of their home value in property taxes, one of the lowest rates in the country.
Nearly one-fourth of the city’s labor force works in the arts and entertainment industry, and three casinos are among the top five employers. Henderson is also a fairly safe place. Just 165 violent crimes were reported per 100,000 people last year, more than 200 fewer per 100,000 than in the rest of the country. Located in the Mojave Desert, Henderson has a hot desert climate and gets about a quarter inch of rain per month on average.
32. Roseville, California
> Population: 128,593
> Median home value: $366,500
> Poverty rate: 9.7%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 39.1%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 338.3
Located just 20 miles from the state capital, Roseville is one of the most liveable cities in the United States. Though cost of living is about 15% higher in Roseville than it is on average across the country, the city’s poverty rate is only 9.7%, significantly lower than the national poverty rate of 15.5%. Area high school students score about 35% higher than students statewide on standardized tests. This may reflect a high quality of public education, which helps attract new families to the city. Over the five year period through last year, the area’s population grew by 11%, faster than the national growth rate of 6.5% over that time.
Roseville residents also have no shortage of nearby options for outdoor activities year round. There are about four ski resorts and 14 golf courses for every 100,000 area residents.
31. Temecula, California
> Population: 109,446
> Median home value: $369,000
> Poverty rate: 6.3%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 33.7%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 240.3
Temecula is not an inexpensive place to live. A typical home costs $369,000 — 4.6 times the median household income. This is the case despite the fact that Temecula’s median annual household income is more than $80,000 — well above the national median of $53,657. However, compared to the state of California, Temecula is more affordable. The typical home in the city costs about 90% of the price of a typical California home, and Temecula residents make 1.3 times what the typical state resident does.
Temecula is growing faster than most U.S. cities. The city’s population grew by 24.5% over the decade through last year, versus the national growth rate of 10.6%. Many Americans relocating to the city likely came looking for jobs, which the city has been adding at a healthy clip. The number of jobs in Temecula grew by 7.0% between 2012 and the end of 2014, well above the nationwide employment growth of 1.8%.
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