Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

Samuel Stebbins

40. Lone Tree, Colorado
> Population: 14,209
> 5 yr. population change: +22.5%
> Median household income: $115,746
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 3.1%

Lone Tree is a small Colorado city located about 20 miles south of downtown Denver. A relatively wealthy area, the typical Lone Tree household earns $115,746 a year, nearly double the national median of $60,293. The high income level is likely due in part to the area’s tight labor market. An average of just 3.1% of Lone Tree’s labor force was unemployed in the last five years, about one-half the 5.9% national rate.

Like many cities and towns on this list, Lone Tree is growing rapidly. Between 2014 and 2018, the city’s population grew by 15.3%, well above the 2.8% national population growth rate.

Source: photoquest7 / Getty Images

39. Denver, Colorado
> Population: 693,417
> 5 yr. population change: +12.0%
> Median household income: $63,793
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.0%

With a population of over 690,000, Denver is by far the largest city to rank on this list. Denver residents benefit from a higher than typical concentration of cultural attractions and entertainment options like bars, restaurants, museums, movie theaters, and recreation centers.

Many Denver residents also have options when it comes to the daily commute. Some 14.5% of the commuters in the city use transportation other than a personal vehicle, well above the 9.5% share nationwide.

Source: Dual Freq / Wikimedia Commons

38. Mahomet, Illinois
> Population: 8,327
> 5 yr. population change: +12.3%
> Median household income: $115,619
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 2.8%

Mahomet is a small village in Illinois, just outside the city of Champaign. Area residents benefit from a healthy job market — between 2014 and 2018, overall employment climbed 24.1% and an average of just 2.8% of the labor force were unemployed in the last five years, compared to the 6.5% national job growth and 5.9% five year average unemployment rate nationwide.

The healthy job market has likely contributed to relative financial security for many area residents. Just 2.2% of Mahomet residents live below the poverty line, compared to 14.1% of the U.S. population. Additionally, the median household income in the area of $115,619 is nearly double the national median of $60,293.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

37. Palm Beach, Florida
> Population: 8,667
> 5 yr. population change: +1.7%
> Median household income: $133,026
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 2.3%

Palm Beach is a small town located on a barrier island along Florida’s Atlantic coast. A tourist destination, Palm Beach has a higher than average concentration of marinas, golf courses, and movie theaters than most of the country. Palm Beach’s amenities and ocean front real estate contribute to high housing prices. The typical home in the town is worth $1.1 million. Nationwide, the median home value is $204,900.

Palm Beach is also a relatively safe place. The town’s violent crime rate of 147.1 incidents per 100,000 people and property crime rate of 1,109.0 incidents per 100,000 are each well below the respective national rates of 380.6 per 100,000 and 2,199.5 per 100,000.

36. Canandaigua, New York
> Population: 10,348
> 5 yr. population change: -1.8%
> Median household income: $49,198
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.4%

Located on the northern end of the New York state Finger Lake with the same name, Canandaigua is a popular regional destination and has a far higher than typical concentration of bars, restaurants, hotels, marinas, golf courses, and museums. Canandaigua is also a relatively safe place. There were just 24 violent crimes committed in the city in 2018, equivalent to 234.1 for every 100,000 people, well below the national violent crime rate of 380.6 per 100,000.