Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

Source: Kevin Ekmark / Flickr

5. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
> Population: 112,436
> Median home value: $446,300 (top 10%)
> Poverty rate: 3.1% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 65.6% (top 10%)

Colorado’s population tends to be healthy, and Highlands Ranch has one of the healthiest populations in both the state and the country. A small number of preventable hospitalizations is a sign of both good health habits within a population and an efficient health system. Highlands Ranch, which is located about 40 minutes outside of Denver, only has about half as many preventable hospitalizations per capita as the nation as a whole. Similarly, the city’s hospital readmission rate, another indicator of public health and quality of healthcare, is one of the lowest of any major city.

Health is often a byproduct of affluence, and Highlands Ranch is one of the wealthiest cities in the country. The typical household earns $114,288 a year, or about double the national median household income.

Source: Jason Grindle / Shutterstock.com

4. Johns Creek, Georgia
> Population: 83,884
> Median home value: $372,000 (top 25%)
> Poverty rate: 4.9% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 63.3% (top 10%)

The importance of a quality education is well documented — it can have wide-reaching effects on the lives of individuals both in terms of financial prosperity and personal well-being. Johns Creek has one of the best educated populations in the country. While 31% of U.S. adults have a bachelor’s degree, well over 60% of Johns Creek adults do. High schoolers in the Atlanta-region city also have the highest average test scores of any city in Georgia.

People living in Johns Creek also have access to a large number of amenities in the area. The city has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants, recreational centers, and movie theaters in the United States.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Arvada, Colorado
> Population: 117,308
> Median home value: $342,700 (top 25%)
> Poverty rate: 5.4% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 37.2%

A high violent crime rate can undermine the quality of life in any city. Arvada, Colorado is one of the safest cities in the country, with only 27 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2016. In comparison, there were 386 violent crimes for every 100,000 people nationwide that year. Area residents are also largely financially secure. Only 5.4% of the Arvada population lives below the poverty line, well below the U.S. poverty rate of 14.0%.

As is the case with many cities on this list, Arvada residents have easy access to the jobs and cultural amenities of a major city. Downtown Denver is less than half-hour drive from Arvada.

Source: Michael McLean / Flickr

2. Centennial, Colorado
> Population: 109,935
> Median home value: $393,200 (top 25%)
> Poverty rate: 2.7% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 55.3% (top 10%)

Based on a range of socioeconomic measures, Centennial is the most livable city in Colorado and the second most livable in the United States. The city’s population has grown by 7.1% in the last five years, nearly double the U.S. population growth rate over that time. A low cost of living and high incomes contribute to widespread prosperity in the area. The typical Centennial household earns $102,200 a year, and only 2.7% of the population lives in poverty. In comparison, the typical American household earns only $57,617 a year, and some 14.0% of Americans live in poverty.

Centennial is also one of the safest cities in the United States. There were only 22 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2016, a fraction of the U.S. violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Source: Lindasj22 / Shutterstock.com

1. Carmel, Indiana
> Population: 90,533
> Median home value: $315,200 (top 25%)
> Poverty rate: 3.9% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 69.7% (top 10%)

According to 24/7 Wall St.’s analysis, there is no better city to live in the United States than Carmel, Indiana. People who live there are healthy, wealthy, and well educated — almost 70% of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree. Carmel is also one of the safest places in the country. Nationally, there are 386 violent crimes and 2,451 property crimes reported for every 100,000 residents. In Carmel, there are just 28 violent crimes and 887 property crimes per 100,000 people.

Carmel is also relatively inexpensive, making the already high incomes of its residents go even further. The typical household earns $113,194 per year, but because goods and services cost only about 90 cents on the dollar in Carmel compared to the national average, the effective median household income is equivalent to more than $125,000 when adjusted for cost of living.

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