Special Report

America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

Source: Courtesy of the City of Edgewood

40. Edgewood, Kentucky
> Population: 8,688
> 5 yr. population change: +0.4%
> Median household income: $93,958
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.5%

The best city to live in in Kentucky, Edgewood, is both wealthy and affordable. The typical household earns $93,958 a year, nearly double the median income of $57,652 across the state as a whole. Additionally, goods and services are about 11% less expensive in Edgewood than they are nationwide, on average.

Edgewood has two large public parks and an easily accessible hospital and medical care center within city limits, factors contributing to quality of life. Located about 7 miles south of Cincinnati across the Ohio River, Edgewood — like many cities on this list — is within commuting distance of a major metropolitan area.

Source: davidwilson1949 / Flickr

39. Stevens Point, Wisconsin
> Population: 26,526
> 5 yr. population change: -0.6%
> Median household income: $44,333
> Five-year unemployment rate: 3.5%

Stevens Point, Wisconsin, located in the central part of the state, is within close proximity to a relatively high number of attractions for a city of its size. The city in particular has an above average concentration of fitness and recreation centers, hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Stevens Point is also one of the safer communities in the country, with a property crime rate well below the national figure and a violent crime rate less than half the national rate. The relatively safe streets may be one reason so many residents choose to walk to work. Nationally, 2.7% of commuters walk to their places of employment, but in Stevens Point, 14% walk to work.

38. Andover, Kansas
> Population: 12,661
> 5 yr. population change: +8.0%
> Median household income: $85,655
> Five-year unemployment rate: 2.3%

Andover is the only Kansas city to rank among America’s 50 best places to live. It compares better than the majority of U.S. cities in a number of economic indicators. The city’s median annual household income of $85,655 is nearly $28,000 higher than the U.S. median. Andover residents are likely better qualified for high-income jobs because of their high educational attainment rate. More than 48% of residents over 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Not only are incomes higher in Andover, but also a dollar goes farther in the city than on average nationwide. The cost of living is more than 10% lower than it is nationwide.

Source: Chevsapher / Wikimedia Commons

37. Riverton, Wyoming
> Population: 11,113
> 5 yr. population change: +4.4%
> Median household income: $51,102
> Five-year unemployment rate: 3.1%

Riverton, Wyoming, is one of America’s most affordable cities. Goods and services cost, on average, 13.5% less than they do on average nationwide. The city also has a strong job market with an unemployment rate below the national figure and total employment growth of 12.2% in the past five years, double the rate of nationwide growth in the same time period.

Riverton ranks as a good city to live in also because residents generally do not have to deal with long commutes as many Americans do. The average commute time for Riverton residents is less than 15 minutes, about half as long as the average American commute time.

Source: American007 / Wikimedia Commons

36. North Liberty, Iowa
> Population: 17,721
> 5 yr. population change: +32.9%
> Median household income: $80,426
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.0%

North Liberty is a small city of about 17,700 people located just south of Cedar Rapids. Over half of all residents have a bachelor’s degree, well above the national degree attainment rate of 30.9%. The high share of adults with a college degree may be in part due to the city’s close proximity to the University of Iowa, which is just to the south of the city. People with a college education are much more likely to have higher incomes and lead healthier, longer lives.

Highly educated adults are more likely to have steady employment, and in North Liberty, virtually the entire workforce is employed. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate has averaged around 1%, compared to a national average unemployment rate of 4.1%.