Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

Samuel Stebbins

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15. Key Biscayne, Florida
> Population: 13,054
> 5 yr. population change: +3.9%
> Median household income: $133,958
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.4%

Key Biscayne, a small town on a barrier island just south of Miami ranks as the best place to live in Florida and 15th best nationwide. One of the safest communities in the country, Key Biscayne’s violent crime rate of 37.6 incidents for every 100,000 people is only about a tenth of the national violent crime rate of 380.6 per 100,000.

While the area has a high cost of living, with especially high housing costs, incomes are also high in the area. The typical Key Biscayne household earns $133,958 per year, more than double the national median household income of $60,293.

14. Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
> Population: 14,039
> 5 yr. population change: -0.5%
> Median household income: $117,300
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 2.1%

Whitefish Bay, a Milwaukee suburb along the shore of Lake Michigan, is one of two Wisconsin cities to rank among the 50 best places to live. The high quality of life in Whitefish Bay is partially the result of a strong job market. The area’s average unemployment rate over the last five years stands at just 2.1% — less than half the comparable nationwide rate of 5.9%.

According to the village website, area residents choose to live in the town because of the local school quality, well maintained public property, and safety. Indeed, Whitefish Bay is one of the safest places in the country. There were 71.8 violent crimes reported in the village for every 100,000 people in 2018, a fraction of the national violent crime rate of 380.6 per 100,000.

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13. Hoboken, New Jersey
> Population: 53,211
> 5 yr. population change: +4.5%
> Median household income: $136,402
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 3.4%

Hoboken, situated directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, is the only city in New Jersey to rank on this list. Within commuting distance of New York City — one of the largest and most diverse job markets in the country, unemployment in Hoboken is relatively low. An average of just 3.4% of workers in the city were unemployed over the last five years, well below the 5.9% comparable national rate.

While the cost of living in Hoboken is relatively high, incomes are also far higher than average. The typical household in the city earns $136,402 a year, more than double the national median income of $60,293.

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12. Lake Oswego, Oregon
> Population: 38,705
> 5 yr. population change: +4.5%
> Median household income: $100,461
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 3.2%

Lake Oswego is the only city in Oregon to rank on this list. Goods and services in Lake Oswego are about 7.4% more expensive than average. Still, the high cost of living is offset by higher incomes as the majority of households in the city earn over $100,000 a year, well above the national median household income of $60,293. Additionally, just 4.5% of Lake Oswego residents live below the poverty line, less than a third the national 14.1% national poverty rate.

Lake Oswego is also a relatively safe city, with a violent crime rate of 50.6 incidents per 100,000 people, a fraction of the 380.6 per 100,000 national rate.

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11. Burlingame, California
> Population: 30,459
> 5 yr. population change: +4.2%
> Median household income: $122,999
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.8%

Located less than 20 miles from downtown San Francisco, Burlingame is one of several cities in the Bay Area to rank on this list. A relatively wealthy area, Burlingame’s median household income of $122,999 is more than double the national median of $60,293. The city’s high incomes correspond with a healthy job market, as an average of just 4.8% of area workers were unemployed in the last five years, well below the 5.9% national unemployment rate.

Area residents have plenty of options for outdoor recreation, as the city boasts 18 separate parks, playgrounds, and sports fields. The city also has a higher than average per capita concentration of restaurants, hotels, gyms, and sports clubs.