Special Report

Best City to Live in Every State

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41. Pierre, South Dakota
> Population: 13,959
> 5 yr. population change: +2.2%
> Median home value: $164,900
> Median household income: $54,868

Most American homeowners spend more than $12,000 per year on housing. In Pierre, South Dakota, most spend less than $8,500 annually. Overall, the cost of living is lower in Pierre, as goods and services are 15% less expensive than they are on average nationwide.

Pierre, South Dakota’s capital, is home to many outdoor amenities largely thanks to its proximity to the Missouri River. Nearby Farm Island and LaFramboise Island offer residents the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities like swimming and hiking.

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42. Atoka, Tennessee
> Population: 8,917
> 5 yr. population change: +11.9%
> Median home value: $172,400
> Median household income: $87,047

Many cities and towns on this list are in close proximity to a major metropolitan area. About 25 miles northeast of Memphis, Atoka is one of them. In addition to attractions and amenities in Memphis, Atoka itself has several parks featuring playgrounds, sports fields, picnic areas, and a fishing pond.

A safe community, Atoka’s violent crime rate of 152 incidents per 100,000 people is less than half the national violent crime rate. Safe streets and proximity to a major city make Atoka an attractive place for new residents and families, and in the last five years, the city’s population expanded by 11.9%, triple the comparable 3.9% national growth rate.

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43. West University Place, Texas
> Population: 15,318
> 5 yr. population change: +4.0%
> Median home value: $917,800
> Median household income: $220,868

A wealthy suburb of Houston, West University Place ranks as the best city to live in Texas. A wealthy city, the median household income of nearly $221,000 a year is nearly four times the income the typical American household earns. A dollar also goes far in the city as goods and services are about 5% less expensive than they are nationwide on average. In addition to entertainment and culture in nearby Houston, West University has a far greater concentration of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, museums and theatre companies than is typical nationwide.

West University is also a safe city with a strong job market. The city’s violent crime rate of 64 incidents for every 100,000 people is among the lowest in the nation, as is the five-year average unemployment rate of 2.7%.

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44. Woods Cross, Utah
> Population: 10,930
> 5 yr. population change: +15.5%
> Median home value: $226,200
> Median household income: $78,750

Just north of Salt Lake City, Woods Cross provides easy access to Utah’s largest city, as well as the Great Salt Lake to the west and Grandview Peak to the east. The proximity to Salt Lake City affords Woods Cross residents a short commute to the city, which may help bolster the city’s labor force participation rate. More than three quarters of Woods Cross adults, 77.4%, participate in the labor force, the most of any Utah community.

This high labor force participation likely helps drive up the median household income. The typical Woods Cross household earns $78,750 each year, well ahead of Utah’s $62,518 median household income.

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45. South Burlington, Vermont
> Population: 18,704
> 5 yr. population change: +6.2%
> Median home value: $271,900
> Median household income: $66,728

Sitting along Lake Champlain, South Burlington is adjacent to Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. With access to a number of nearby colleges, including Champlain College and the University of Vermont, South Burlington’s population is well educated. Over half of all the city’s adult residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 30.3% national bachelor’s degree attainment rate. There are a range of employment opportunities in the area, including the University of Vermont Medical Center. Just 2.0% of workers in South Burlington were unemployed in 2017, below both the 3.0% state and 4.4% national unemployment rates.

A strong job market bolsters the financial security of area residents. Just 6.2% of South Burlington’s population live in poverty, less than half the 15.1% national poverty rate.

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