Special Report

Best Cities to Live in Every State

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11. Hawaii
> Best city to live: East Honolulu
> Population: 47,957
> Median home value: $859,000
> Poverty rate: 3.7% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 56.1% (highest 25%)

Hawaii residents enjoy a higher quality of life than a majority of states. Hawaii has the second lowest poverty rate among U.S. states at just 9.3% of residents, compared to the national poverty rate of 14.0%, and the state’s median household income of $74,511 a year is the fifth highest in the country. In East Honolulu, Hawaii’s best city to live in, conditions are even more favorable. The city’s poverty rate is just 3.7%, and the median household income is $114,122.

In addition to earning higher incomes, adults with a college degree are more likely to make healthy choices, have improved self-esteem, and report an overall higher quality of life. East Honolulu’s residents are among the most likely in the country to benefit from a college education, as 56.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to the national bachelor’s attainment rate of 31.3%.

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12. Idaho
> Best city to live: Meridian
> Population: 95,627
> Median home value: $236,200
> Poverty rate: 6.2% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 36.7%

The population of Meridian, Idaho increased by 24.6% over the last five years — faster than in all but a handful of U.S. cities and many times faster than the U.S. population growth rate of 3.7% over the same period. Many new Meridian residents likely moved to the city for economic opportunities. Total employment in Meridian climbed 8.7% from 2014 through 2016, more than twice the comparable job growth rate nationwide. Also, only 3.3% of Meridian’s workers were out of a job as of 2016, compared to the 3.8% state and 4.9% national unemployment rates.

Rapid job growth and low unemployment are often characteristics of relatively safe places, and Meridian is no exception. The city’s violent crime rate of 110 incidents per 100,000 people is less than half the statewide rate and less than one third the U.S. violent crime rate.

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13. Illinois
> Best city to live: Naperville
> Population: 148,063
> Median home value: $421,400
> Poverty rate: 4.1% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 69.2%

Naperville’s population is one of the most well educated of any U.S. city. Naperville high schoolers test better than students in any city in Illinois other than Arlington Heights, and 69.2% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree — more than twice the 31.3% of adults nationwide with similar education. Many of the city’s most educated residents likely commute to high-paying jobs in neighboring Chicago. The typical Naperville household earns $116,482 a year, nearly the most of any city nationwide.

Naperville is largely free of the violent crime that plagues much of the Chicago metro area. There were just 62 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Naperville in 2016, far less than the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans and among the least of any U.S. city.

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14. Indiana
> Best city to live: Carmel
> Population: 90,533
> Median home value: $315,200 (highest 25%)
> Poverty rate: 3.9% (lowest 10%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 69.7% (highest 25%)

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 Americans annually. 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, and 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.

Source: Thinkstock

15. Iowa
> Best city to live: Cedar Rapids
> Population: 131,118
> Median home value: $137,900
> Poverty rate: 11.9%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35.5%

One major reason that Cedar Rapids ranks as the best place to live in Iowa is the large incomes of area residents. At $57,135 a year, the median household income in Cedar Rapids is at least $7,500 more than any other major city in Iowa. The city’s poverty rate of 11.9% is also the lowest in the state.

Not only does the Cedar Rapids population make more money residents of any other city in the state, but they also get more bang for their buck, as the cost of living as a whole is well below that of the nation. The cost of transportation and utilities in Cedar Rapids is less than anywhere else in Iowa and ranks near the bottom of all U.S. cities.

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