Special Report

America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

Source: Idawriter / Wikimedia Commons

5. Grove City, Pennsylvania
> Population: 8,123
> 5 yr. population change: -1.9%
> Median household income: $46,792
> Five-year unemployment rate: 0.9%

Grove City, Pennsylvania, is a small borough of roughly 8,100 people in the western part of the state. The borough is one of the most affordable places to live in the country, with goods and services costing about 80% of average prices across the country. Unemployment in the borough is one of the lowest in the country, with a five-year average of 0.9%, compared to the national five-year unemployment rate of 4.1%.

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4. Montecito, California
> Population: 8,984
> 5 yr. population change: +5.2%
> Median household income: $146,250
> Five-year unemployment rate: 4.1%

Americans with a college degree tend to lead healthier lives, have higher incomes, and be more steadily employed than their peers with less education. In Montecito, 71.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 30.9% of adults nationwide. Montecito, an unincorporated community just east of Santa Barbara, has a median household income nearly triple the national figure and a poverty rate of 8.0%, which is just over half the national rate.

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3. Pella, Iowa
> Population: 10,243
> 5 yr. population change: -1.2%
> Median household income: $64,527
> Five-year unemployment rate: 2.4%

Pella which can be found southeast of Des Moines near Lake Red Rock, ranks as the best city to live in Iowa and one of the best in the country. The city has an annual violent crime rate of 186 incidents per 100,000 people, less than half the national violent crime rate of 383 incidents per 100,000 people. The property crime rate in Pella is also low.

The typical household income in Pella is about $6,800 higher than the national median household income, and the cost of living is quite low. Adjusting for the cost of living, the typical household in Pella earns about $20,000 more than the typical American household.

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2. Beverly Hills, California
> Population: 34,506
> 5 yr. population change: +0.9%
> Median household income: $103,698
> Five-year unemployment rate: 3.5%

Beverly Hills is synonymous with glitz, glamour, and wealth. It has inspired movies, TV shows, and songs about what a great place it is, so it should come as no surprise the city ranks as the second best place to live in America. The Southern California city is wealthy and highly educated. More than 62% of residents 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree, and the median annual household income is over $103,000. Nationwide, about half of adults have a bachelor’s degree, and the median income is just over $57,000.

The economy of Beverly Hills caters to people with plenty of disposable income. The city has several times more movie theaters, museums, rec centers, hotels, and restaurants per capita than the typical American city.

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1. West University Place, Texas
> Population: 15,477
> 5 yr. population change: +4.1%
> Median household income: $243,226
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.4%

A wealthy suburb of Houston, West University Place ranks as the best city to live in Texas and the United States. A wealthy city, the median household income of over $243,000 a year is over four times the national median. 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 Place 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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