Special Report

America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

Source: BOB WESTON / Getty Images

10. Le Mars, Iowa
> Population: 9,861
> 5 yr. population change: +1.0%
> Median household income: $58,063
> Five-year unemployment rate: 2.0%

Le Mars, Iowa, is among the most affordable cities in the United States. Goods and services in the city cost about 15% less on average than they do nationwide. So although the median household income that is slightly above the comparable U.S. median, Le Mars residents have more purchasing power than those in most other U.S. cities.

The city also has its share of attractions. Home to a Blue Bunny ice cream manufacturing plant, Le Mars churns out more ice cream from a single city than any other company, earning the nickname “The Ice Cream Capital of the World.”

Source: myfoxmilwaukee / Flickr

9. Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
> Population: 14,099
> 5 yr. population change: +0.3%
> Median household income: $111,069
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.5%

Whitefish Bay, a village close to Milwaukee along the shore of Lake Michigan, ranks as the best place to live in Wisconsin. The high quality of life in Whitefish Bay is partially the result of a strong job market. The area’s average unemployment rate over the last five years is just 1.5% — less than half the comparable nationwide rate of 4.1%.

Whitefish Bay is also one of the safest communities in the country, with a violent crime rate of just 36 incidents per 100,000 people. For reference, there were 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people nationwide in 2017.

Source: Rocky89 / Getty Images

8. Hanover, New Hampshire
> Population: 8,495
> 5 yr. population change: -1.3%
> Median household income: $97,422
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.2%

Hanover has numerous advantages over other places in New Hampshire and the country as a whole. Its median household income of $97,422 is nearly $40,000 higher than the U.S. median. Hanover is also the best educated place in the country as 81.7% of adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

With a population of 8,495, Hanover is a smaller city. As such, many residents are able to walk to and from work. Walking not only provides numerous health benefits, but it also helps decrease road traffic and reduce pollution. Nearly 38% of Hanover residents commute by walking — one of the highest shares among U.S. cities.

Source: Courtesy of the City of Ladue, Missouri

7. Ladue, Missouri
> Population: 8,591
> 5 yr. population change: +0.8%
> Median household income: $203,250
> Five-year unemployment rate: 0.7%

One of the wealthiest cities in Missouri, Ladue’s median household income of $203,250 a year is almost quadruple the national median income of $57,652. Not only is Ladue a wealthy city, but it is also inexpensive. Goods and services are 11% cheaper on average in Ladue than they are typically nationwide.

With easy access to jobs in nearby St. Louis, Ladue residents who want a job generally have no trouble finding one. Over the last five years, unemployment stood at just 1.8% in the city, a fraction of the national rate of 4.1%. In addition to cultural attractions and entertainment venues in St. Louis, Ladue residents enjoy a greater than typical concentration of restaurants, fitness and recreation centers, and movie theaters within their own city limits.

Source: Drumguy8800 / Wikimedia Commons

6. University Park, Texas
> Population: 24,692
> 5 yr. population change: +6.2%
> Median household income: $211,741
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.8%

University Park is a college town — home to Southern Methodist University — in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Nearly everyone in the city who wants a job can get one, as the city’s 1.8% unemployment rate is less than half the comparable 4.1% national rate. University Park is also a safe city with only 44 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in 2017, compared to the U.S. violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

Like many other American college towns, University Park boasts a wide range of amenities and cultural and entertainment options. There is a greater than typical concentration of restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters per capita in the city.

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