Special Report

Best Cities to Live in Every State

Source: Michael McLean / Flickr

6. Colorado
> Best city to live: Centennial
> Population: 109,935
> Median home value: $393,200
> Poverty rate: 2.7% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 55.3% (highest 25%)

Based on a range of socioeconomic measures, Centennial is the most livable city in Colorado and the second most livable in the country behind only Carmel, Indiana. The city is relatively new, only incorporating in 2001, and it has been growing at a healthy rate. The city’s population has increased 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 $102,237 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 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.

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7. Connecticut
> Best city to live: Danbury
> Population: 85,008
> Median home value: $297,600
> Poverty rate: 8.9% (lowest 25%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31.3%

Located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Danbury is one of the most expensive places in the United States. Goods and services cost an average of 30.8% more in the area than they do nationwide. Though the median household income in Danbury is nearly $13,000 higher than it is nationwide, the bigger paychecks are not enough to offset the area’s high cost of living.

Despite the high cost of living, based on a range of socioeconomic measures, Danbury is the most livable city in Connecticut and one of the most livable in the United States. Danbury boasts a higher concentration of restaurants, sports teams, and theater companies than is typical nationwide. For physically active residents, the city also has a relatively high concentration of recreation centers, golf courses, and nature parks.

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8. Delaware
> Best city to live: Wilmington
> Population: 71,455
> Median home value: $145,600
> Poverty rate: 27.7% (highest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 25.6%

As the only large city in Delaware, Wilmington technically ranks as the best city to live in the state. Based on most major socioeconomic measures, Wilmington is a less-than-ideal place to live, comparing poorly with the typical American city. For example, the city’s poverty rate of 27.7% is nearly double the national rate of 14%. Unemployment, often a major factor in poverty, is also a relatively high 6.4%, compared to the national annual unemployment rate of 4.9%.

Crime can have an impact not just on the direct victims, but also on entire neighborhoods by deterring business and contributing to greater stress among residents. Wilmington’s violent crime rate of 1,798 incidents per 100,000 residents is the fifth highest violent crime rate of any major city in the country.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Florida
> Best city to live: The Villages
> Population: 71,350
> Median home value: $274,600
> Poverty rate: 5.8% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 40.4% (highest 10%)

Several of the cities to make this list are planned communities. The Villages largely consists of the master-planned, age-restricted community by the same name. An estimated 91% of The Villages population is 60 years and older, The Villages’ elderly population enjoys nearly the highest quality of life of any city. Although more than half of households subsist on retirement income, the typical household earns $61,220 a year, or nearly $4,000 more than the national median household income. The community is also home to numerous amenities. It has more than twice as many nature parks per capita as the country as a whole and among the most golf courses per person of any city.

Source: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

10. Georgia
> Best city to live: Johns Creek
> Population: 83,884
> Median home value: $372,000
> Poverty rate: 4.9% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 63.3% (highest 25%)

Education 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 city also have the highest average test scores of any city in Georgia.

Johns Creek residents also have access to a large number of amenities. The city has one of the highest concentrations of restaurants, recreational centers, and movie theaters in both Georgia and the United States as a whole.

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