Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

35. Buda, Texas
> Population: 14,503
> 5 yr. population change: +69.5%
> Median household income: $84,011
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 2.6%

Buda is a small Texas city located about 15 miles from downtown Austin, the state capital. In commuting distance of a major city, the labor force in Buda has access to a wide range of employment options, and partially as a result, the city’s jobless rate is low. An average of just 2.6% of workers in Buda were unemployed in the last five years, less than half the comparable 5.9% national rate.

People living in Buda also benefit from a low cost of living, as goods and services are about 3.1% less expensive in the city than they are nationwide. Not only does a dollar go further in Buda than in much of the rest of the country, but the area is also relatively high-income. The typical household in the city earns $84,011, nearly $24,000 more than the national median.

Source: CT757fan / Getty Images

34. Traverse City, Michigan
> Population: 15,474
> 5 yr. population change: +3.6%
> Median household income: $53,871
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.9%

Traverse City, located in northwestern Michigan on the south end of the Grand Traverse Bay is one of two cities in the state to rank among the best places to live. The city boasts a far higher than typical concentration of entertainment and recreational venues like restaurants, bars, sports centers, and golf courses. Additionally, it is located in Grand Traverse County, where 87.4% of the population have easy access to places for exercise like parks and recreation centers, a larger share than the 84.0% of Americans nationwide.

City residents also benefit from a slightly lower than average cost of living. Goods and services in Traverse City are 6.5% lower than they are on average nationwide.

33. Kendallville, Indiana
> Population: 9,522
> 5 yr. population change: -5.0%
> Median household income: $42,278
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 5.3%

Kendallville is a small city in northeastern Indiana. One reason Kendallville ranks among the best places to live is its affordability. Goods and services in the city are about 14.5% less expensive than they are nationwide on average. Housing is especially affordable. The typical home in Kendallville is worth 2.3 times as much as the city’s median household income. Meanwhile, the median home value across the country is 3.4 times higher than the median household income.

While Kendalville’s median household income of $42,278 is well below the national median of $60,293, area residents are less likely than most Americans to face serious financial hardship. Just 12.1% of Kendallville residents live below the poverty line compared to 14.1% of people nationwide.

32. Beachwood, Ohio
> Population: 11,704
> 5 yr. population change: -1.5%
> Median household income: $89,706
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 2.7%

Beachwood, a small city about 10 miles east of downtown Cleveland, is one of three cities in Ohio to rank among the best places to live. Beachwood is located in Cuyahoga County, where 97.2% of the population have easy access to places for physical exercise like parks or recreation centers. Beachwood also has a higher than typical concentration of places like bars, restaurants, museums, and movie theaters for residents to enjoy.

Like other Ohio cities on this list, and many other Midwestern cities, Beachwood has a low cost of living. Goods and services are about 8% less expensive in Beachwood than they are nationwide on average.

Source: Jesse Beam / Getty Images

31. Wyomissing, Pennsylvania
> Population: 10,452
> 5 yr. population change: -0.2%
> Median household income: $82,600
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 3.7%

Wyomissing is a small borough in eastern Pennsylvania, just across the Schuylkill River from Reading. Like the other Pennsylvania cities on this list, Wyomissing is relatively affordable. Goods and services are about 7% less expensive in the area than they are on average nationwide. Incomes are also relatively high in Wyomissing. The typical Wyomissing household earns $82,600 a year, about $22,000 more than the typical U.S. household.

High incomes are likely due in part to a tight labor market. An average of just 3.7% of the Wyomissing’s labor force were unemployed in the last five years, compared to the 5.9% national jobless rate.