Special Report

Americas 50 Best Cities To Live

10. Port Washington, New York
> Population: 15,808
> 5-yr. population change: -0.2%
> Median household income: $141,667
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.2%

Port Washington is one of two communities in New York state on this list, and the only one on Long Island. Located on the North Shore, about an hour from Midtown Manhattan, Port Washington offers residents easy access to jobs in the largest metropolitan area in the country. This may partially explain why the five-year average unemployment rate in the area stands at just 2.2% — less than half the comparable 5.3% national figure. The town also has a walkable downtown area as well as parks and beaches.

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9. Darien, Connecticut
> Population: 21,742
> 5-yr. population change: +2.6%
> Median household income: $232,523
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 4.9%

Darien is the only place in Connecticut to rank on this list but one of several places located within commuting distance of New York City. Located about an hour’s drive from Midtown Manhattan, Darien offers residents easy access to jobs, culture, and entertainment in the largest city in the United States. The town itself has a walkable downtown area and several parks and beaches along Long Island Sound.

Largely due to its location and amenities it offers, Darien is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The typical area home is worth about $1.5 million. Still, for many residents, high housing costs are offset partially by higher than average incomes. Most Darien households earn over $230,000 a year, nearly four times the median household income nationwide.

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8. Paradise Valley, Arizona
> Population: 14,362
> 5-yr. population change: +8.4%
> Median household income: $211,393
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.1%

Paradise Valley ranks as the best place to live in Arizona and one of the best nationwide. 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.

The area also has a strong job market. An average of just 2.1% of Paradise Valley’s labor force was unemployed in the last five years, less than half the comparable 5.3% national jobless figure. Like several other places on this list, Paradise Valley is growing rapidly. In the last half decade, the local population has grown by 8.4% — more than double the national population growth of 3.4% over the same period.

7. Tiburon, California
> Population: 9,144
> 5-yr. population change: +0.5%
> Median household income: $154,915
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.7%

Tiburon, California — located on a peninsula on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge — is one of several places in the state located in the San Francisco Bay area to rank on this list. Residents have access to nearby San Francisco, both by the bridge and by ferry. The city also has its own downtown area with shopping, dining, and views of the bay.

As is often the case in the places on this list, Tiburon has a wealthy and well-educated population. Most area households earn at least $154,000 a year, and over three-quarters of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For context, nationwide, most households earn less than $63,000, and fewer than one in every three adults have a bachelor’s degree.

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6. Hanover, New Hampshire
> Population: 8,508
> 5-yr. population change: +1.2%
> Median household income: $109,514
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 3.0%

Hanover, New Hampshire, located along the Connecticut River, ranks as the best place to live in the United States outside of California. Home to Dartmouth College, Hanover is a college town and has a high concentration of places like restaurants, hotels, fitness centers, golf courses, parks, museums, libraries, and theatre companies. Outdoor enthusiasts in Hanover have access to ski mountains and hiking trails in the area.

Despite being far out of commuting distance from a major urban area, Hanover has a relatively strong job market, with just 3.0% unemployment over the last five years.