Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

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30. Weston, Florida
> Population: 70,023
> Median home value: $455,700 (top 10%)
> Poverty rate: 7.2% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 59.3% (top 10%)

Weston, Florida, located on the far western edge of the Fort Lauderdale metro area adjacent to the Everglades, is a planned city. It is also an expensive place to live compared to average U.S. costs. Goods and services on the whole cost about 19 cents more on the dollar compared to the national average, and utilities are roughly double the cost.

However, Weston residents are, on the whole, more than capable of covering the additional expenses. The typical household earns over $100,000 annually, well above the $57,600 median household income nationwide. Even when adjusting for living costs, Weston’s median income is still considerably higher than that of most metropolitan areas.

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29. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
> Population: 109,439
> Median home value: $160,900
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (bottom 25%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35.3%

The best city to live in in Oklahoma, Broken Arrow also has the state’s fastest growing population. Broken Arrow’s population has increased by 18.6% in the last 10 years — more than double the comparable U.S. population growth over that time. Residents of Broken Arrow likely appreciate the area’s relative safety. While much of Oklahoma is at high risk of tornadoes, Broken Arrow has the lowest risk of natural disaster of any other major city in the state. Violent crime is also relatively uncommon. There were only 154 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2016, nearly a third of the statewide violent crime rate.

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28. Eagan, Minnesota
> Population: 66,431
> Median home value: $274,400
> Poverty rate: 6.0% (bottom 10%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 51.2% (top 10%)

Compared to the country as a whole, Minnesota has relatively little poverty. The state’s poverty rate of 9.9% is fifth lowest of U.S. states. In Eagan, which is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, just 6.0% of the population live at or below the poverty line. Eagan has a well-educated population, with over half of the city’s adults holding at least a bachelor’s degree. The city’s high school students also score better on standardized tests than students in the vast majority of Minnesota cities.

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27. Metairie, Louisiana
> Population: 143,475
> Median home value: $231,100
> Poverty rate: 9.6% (bottom 25%)
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 37.1%

One of the poorest states in the country, Louisiana’s poverty rate of 20.2% is nearly the highest of any state. However, serious financial hardship is far less common in some parts of the state. In Metairie, the most liveable city in the state and one of the most liveable cities in the United States, the poverty rate is less than half the statewide rate.

For those with disposable income in Metairie, the city boasts a dense concentration of cultural amenities and entertainment venues. There are far greater concentrations of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, and sports teams in Metairie than is typical nationwide.

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26. Charlotte, North Carolina
> Population: 842,029
> Median home value: $201,500
> Poverty rate: 13.4%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 44.1% (top 25%)

Charlotte is one of two cities in North Carolina with populations expanding at a near nation-leading pace and are among the 50 best places to live. Charlotte’s population increased by 24.7% over the past 10 years, more than three times the U.S. growth rate and the most of any city in North Carolina other than Raleigh or Cary.

Charlotte’s rapid growth is largely supported by a prosperous economy. North Carolina was one of the first states to allow banks to operate multiple branches within a single state, a regulation that led to banks rapidly expanding throughout Charlotte and the surrounding region. Today, Charlotte is home to the headquarters of Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo. Financial services is one of many sectors leading employment growth in the city, which was more than double the U.S. employment growth rate from 2014 to 2016. Charlotte is also home to numerous entertainment amenities including an NFL team, an NBA team, and the Carowinds amusement park.

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