Special Report

America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

Source: User Bobak on en.wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

15. Bentonville, Arkansas
> Population: 44,601
> 5 yr. population change: +25.2%
> Median household income: $79,259
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.7%

Bentonville, Arkansas, is perhaps best known as the home of Walmart, America’s largest private employer. The massive retail chain provides close to 22,000 jobs in Bentonville, both in its stores and at the corporate level, and is likely part of the reason the city’s unemployment rate is so low, at 1.7%.

Bentonville’s job market has improved dramatically over the last five years. The total number of people with jobs in the city increased by 31.0% from 2012 to 2017 — more than five times the employment growth rate in the U.S. as a whole.

Source: YangYin / Getty Images

14. Moorhead, Minnesota
> Population: 41,801
> 5 yr. population change: +9.7%
> Median household income: $56,516
> Five-year unemployment rate: 2.2%

The population of Moorhead, a city immediately to the east of Fargo, has increased by nearly 10% in the past five years, roughly three times the national population growth over the same period.

A growing population is often a sign of a healthy economy, and Moorhead’s five-year average unemployment rate of 2.2% is about half the national unemployment rate over the same period. Employment in the city has increased by about 10% over that period, compared to a national employment growth of 6.1%.

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13. Winnetka, Illinois
> Population: 12,504
> 5 yr. population change: +2.4%
> Median household income: $216,875
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.3%

Winnetka is a small village that sits on the shores of Lake Michigan about 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. One of the wealthiest cities in the country, the typical Winnetka household earns $216,875 a year. Winnetka residents working in Chicago have options when it comes to transit, and over one-quarter of commuters use public transportation — an alternative most Americans do not have.

Winnetka boasts several beaches, a boat launch, parks, a tennis center, a golf course, and an ice rink, all open to the public.

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12. Paradise Valley, Arizona
> Population: 13,961
> 5 yr. population change: +7.2%
> Median household income: $175,673
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.4%

Most houses in Paradise Valley, Arizona, are worth over $1.4 million, more than seven times the U.S. median home value. Paradise Valley residents are able to afford such expensive houses because of their relatively high incomes. The typical household in the city earns $175,673 a year, one of the highest median household incomes in the country.

Paradise Valley lives up to its name as a popular destination to relax. The town is home to several resorts and a number of golf courses. Located just north of Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is also known for its high-end dining and nightlife.

Source: afiler / Flickr

11. West Fargo, North Dakota
> Population: 33,089
> 5 yr. population change: +28.3%
> Median household income: $76,925
> Five-year unemployment rate: 1.2%

West Fargo, which borders North Dakota’s largest city of Fargo, provides residents with access to a wide range of jobs in the city, and many of them are high paying. The median annual household income in West Fargo is nearly $77,000, and after factoring in the area’s low cost of living, the median income is equivalent to over $88,000.

Like many other North Dakota cities, the number of jobs available to West Fargo residents is skyrocketing. From 2012 to 2017, the employed population grew by 23.5%, as compared to a 6.1% increase nationwide.