Special Report

Best Cities to Live in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

26. Montana
> Best city to live: Billings
> Population: 110,314
> Median home value: $215,500
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (lowest 25%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 33.7%

Residents of Billings, Montana are much less likely to be jobless or live in poverty than anywhere else in the state. Just 8.6% of people in Billings live in poverty, compared to 13.3% of people the state. Also, the city’s unemployment rate of 3.5% is lower than Montana’s 4.1% annual unemployment rate.

People in Yellowstone County, where Billings resides, also spend less on utilities than almost anywhere else in the United States. In Yellowstone County, people spend just 65.9 cents on utilities per dollar spent by the average American.

Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

27. Nebraska
> Best city to live: Lincoln
> Population: 280,369
> Median home value: $160,600 (lowest 25%)
> Poverty rate: 13.7%
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 40.3%

Nebraska’s unemployment rate of just 3.2% is one lowest in the nation. In Lincoln, Nebraska’s capital city, the labor market is doing even better — just 2.8% of the city’s labor force is unemployed. Lincoln is also home to the University of Nebraska, which could explain why more than 40% of the city’s adults have a college degree. Nationwide, 31.3% of American adults have a bachelor’s degree.

Lincoln’s violent crime rate of 359 incidents per 100,000 residents is higher than Nebraska’s violent crime rate of 291 incidents per 100,000 people. However, in Nebraska’s only other qualifying city, Omaha, the violent crime rate is well above Lincoln’s at 566 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Source: Jonathan Sloan / Flickr

28. Nevada
> Best city to live: Enterprise
> Population: 139,509
> Median home value: $269,000
> Poverty rate: 7.8% (lowest 25%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 29.2%

With an 80% population growth in the last 10 years, Enterprise, Nevada is the second fastest growing city in the United States. Several factors may have contributed to the city attracting so many new residents. The city is slightly less expensive the nation as a whole and both housing and health care cost about 6% less than the average comparable costs nationwide.

Poverty is also relatively low in Enterprise. The city’s 7.8% poverty rate is the lowest among Nevada’s larger cities and well below the 13.8% state rate.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

29. New Hampshire
> Best city to live: Nashua
> Population: 87,889
> Median home value: $256,800 (highest 25%)
> Poverty rate: 9.1% (lowest 25%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31.3% (highest 25%)

Residents of Nashua, New Hampshire benefit from a strong economy and a high concentration of cultural amenities and entertainment venues. For example, only 3.3% of the local labor force is out of work, well below the 4.9% annual U.S. unemployment rate. And many workers are also well compensated. The typical area household earns $69,769 a year, which is over $12,000 more than the typical American household but still below the state’s median income of $70,936.

Nashua residents have plenty of options when it comes to spending their disposable income. There are 223 restaurants and cafes for every 100,000 residents — far more than the typical concentration nationwide.

Source: S.Anwer S.Razvi / Wikimedia Commons

30. New Jersey
> Best city to live: Clifton
> Population: 85,847
> Median home value: $345,100
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (lowest 25%)
> Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34.1%

Many of the best cities to live in the United States are relatively expensive, and Clifton, New Jersey is no exception. The cost of living in the city is about 28% higher than it is nationwide. However, the area’s expensive goods and services are largely offset by high incomes. The typical area household earns $77,923 a year — about $20,300 more than the median income nationwide. As is the case in many of the most livable American cities, serious financial hardship is relatively uncommon in Clifton. Only 8.6% of area residents live below the poverty line, below both the statewide poverty rate of 10.4% and the U.S. rate of 14.0%.

A part of the New York City metro area, Clifton residents have easy access to the cultural amenities of the country’s largest city, including easy access to transportation. The New York metro area boasts the most airports and the nation’s highest public transit usage rate.

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