Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

15. Overland Park, Kansas

> Population: 184,524
> Median home value: $235,000
> Poverty rate: 6.0%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 55.6%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 330.6

Over the 10 years ending with 2014, Overland Park’s population has expanded by 14% to its current size of 184,524 residents. While the poverty rate across Kansas is 13.6%, only 6.0% of Overland Park residents live in poverty. Also, at 3.8%, the unemployment rate is nearly a full percentage point lower than it is across the state. Low poverty and unemployment in the area may be partially explained by high educational attainment. More than half of the adults who live in Overland Park have earned a bachelor’s degree.

The city’s high school students outperform students across the state on standardized tests by about 11%, suggesting the quality of schools is relatively high.

14. Farmington Hills, Michigan

> Population: 81,440
> Median home value: $215,800
> Poverty rate: 7.9%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 54.0%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 386.8

Farmington Hills is located in Oakland County, about 25 miles from Detroit. While Detroit has been riddled with economic problems for years, Farmington Hills residents are doing relatively well. The city’s 7.9% poverty rate is less than half the 16.2% poverty across the state. Additionally, the typical Farmington Hills household earns about $70,757 annually, significantly more than the national median household income of $53,657. While incomes in the city are high, cost of living is relatively low. Across the board, goods and services cost about 6.3% less in Farmington Hills than they do on average in the United States. With about 116 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, Farmington Hills is also a relatively safe place. In Michigan, the violent crime rate is 427 incidences per 100,000 residents.

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13. Arvada, Colorado

> Population: 113,775
> Median home value: $267,400> Poverty rate: 5.7%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35.9%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 236.4

Located in the Denver metro area, Arvada is one of America’s best places to live. The typical household in Arvada makes $72,031 a year, well above the national median income of $53,657. Residents also pay some of the lowest property taxes of any city, amounting to just 0.66% of the home value. Arvada is close to Denver and Boulder, where most of the workers are employed. Commuting time is is just around 28 minutes, which is actually slightly longer than average compared to other cities on this list. Arvada is also home to some of the best hospitals in the country, with some of the lowest rates of preventable hospitalizations and patients readmission of any city.

12. Virginia Beach, Virginia

> Population: 450,980
> Median home value: $261,800
> Poverty rate: 8.2%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34.6%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 225.1

In the 10 years ending in 2014, Virginia Beach’s population has grown by 4.7% to more than 450,000 people. It is now the second most populated city in Virginia. Located along the Atlantic Ocean in the southeast corner of the state, the climate in Virginia Beach is mild. Average temperatures are around 43 degrees in the winter months and 78 degrees in the summer.

The city also does well by several economic measures. At $68,816, median household income in Virginia Beach is about $4,000 higher than the annual income of the typical Virginia household. The city also has a lower poverty rate. Only 8.2% of Virginia Beach residents live in poverty compared to the statewide poverty rate of 11.8%.

ALSO READ: The Most Unusual Ancestry in Each State

11. Bismarck, North Dakota

> Population: 67,666
> Median home value: $195,800
> Poverty rate: 10.8%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34.9%
> Amenities per 100,000 residents: 193.6

In Bismarck, the typical resident makes $60,752. However, when adjusted for the North Dakota capital’s low cost of living, this figure increases by about $9,000 to $69,678. The typical home costs $195,800, barely over three times the median income, making Bismarck one of the most affordable cities. Thanks in part to North Dakota’s recent oil boom, Bismarck also has the lowest unemployment rate of any city in the country at just 2.5%. The city’s workforce also has the shortest commute of any city at an average of just 14 minutes. The city also has the best air in the country, with 99.4% of days with good air quality.

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