Oklahoma: Broken Arrow
> Population: 107,500
> 5 yr. population change: +7.0%
> Median home value: $163,900
> Median household income: $72,686
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 4.4%
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, located about 15 miles southeast of Tulsa, is the best city to live in the state. The city’s ranking on this list is attributable in part to low crime and relative safety. There were only 142 violent crimes in Broken Arrow for every 100,000 people in 2018, a lower violent crime rate than in the vast majority of cities and towns in Oklahoma and less than half the national violent crime rate of 381 per 100,000.
Broken Arrow residents also benefit from a far higher per capita concentration of bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters than the national average. Over the last five years, the average unemployment rate in the city was just 4.4%, less than the comparable 5.9% national rate.
Oregon: Lake Oswego
> Population: 38,705
> 5 yr. population change: +4.5%
> Median home value: $603,800
> Median household income: $100,461
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 3.2%
Lake Oswego is located about 10 miles south of Portland, meaning residents have access to jobs and attractions in a major city. 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 city residents live below the poverty line, less than a third the 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.
> Population: 10,452
> 5 yr. population change: -0.2%
> Median home value: $240,500
> 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. Wyomissing is relatively affordable with a cost of living about 7% lower than the national average. Incomes are also relatively high in Wyomissing, with a household earning $82,600 a year, about $22,000 more than the typical U.S. household.
The area’s high incomes are likely due in part to a tight labor market. An average of just 3.7% of Wyomissing’s labor force was unemployed in the last five years, compared to the 5.9% national unemployment rate.
Rhode Island: Cranston
> Population: 81,196
> 5 yr. population change: +0.9%
> Median home value: $228,300
> Median household income: $66,283
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 5.4%
Cranston, a city of about 81,000 located just outside of Providence, ranks as the best city in Rhode Island, due in part to strong job growth in recent years. Overall employment climbed by 6.0% in the city from 2014 to 2018, a time when many cities and towns in the state shed jobs.
Both the job market and overall quality of life in the city are supported by a high concentration of entertainment and cultural attractions. Cranston has more restaurants, bars, gyms, theater companies, and libraries per capita than the U.S. as a whole.
South Carolina: Mount Pleasant
> Population: 83,700
> 5 yr. population change: +19.3%
> Median home value: $441,600
> Median household income: $97,176
> 5 yr. avg. unemployment: 2.7%
Mount Pleasant, a Charleston suburb of about 84,000, ranks as the most livable city in South Carolina. The town’s 2.7% five-year average unemployment rate is lower than the comparable rate in most cities and towns in the state, and well below the comparable 5.9% national rate. As is often the case in areas with economic opportunity, Mount Pleasant is also safe. The town’s violent crime rate of 154 incidents per 100,000 people is lower than the comparable rate in most cities and towns in South Carolina and less than half the national rate of 381 per 100,000.
Like many cities and towns on this list, Mount Pleasant is growing rapidly. In the last five years, the town’s population expanded by 19.3%.