Special Report

Americas 50 Best Cities To Live

50. Highland Park, Illinois
> Population: 29,628
> 5-yr. population change: -0.6%
> Median household income: $150,269
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 3.3%

Highland Park, a small city of about 30,000 in Lake County, Illinois, is one of three cities in the state to rank on this list. The affluent and well-educated neighborhood has a median annual household income of just over $150,000, and nearly three in every four adult residents have a four-year college degree or higher.

Located less than 30 miles from downtown Chicago, Highland Park offers residents easy access to one of the largest cities in the country. Highland Park itself, situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, boasts a public beach and a walkable downtown area with shops, restaurants, parks, and entertainment venues.

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49. Weston, Florida
> Population: 70,614
> 5-yr. population change: +4.5%
> Median household income: $107,908
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 4.5%

Weston, Florida, is a largely residential area. The city of about 71,000, which is situated along the Everglades, directly west of Fort Lauderdale, has 15 parks where residents have access to playgrounds, walking paths, bird watching, tennis and basketball courts, and more. The city also offers residents a wide range of shopping and dining options. Like many communities on this list, Weston is also affluent. Most area households earn over $100,000 a year, and one in five households earn over $200,000.

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48. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
> Population: 60,998
> 5-yr. population change: +4.5%
> Median household income: $73,614
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 3.4%

Home to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is one of several college towns on this list, and the only one in North Carolina. The area has about 140 restaurants, a farmer’s market, nightclubs, college bars, microbreweries, hundreds of retail stores, and a walkable downtown area.

Economic conditions are also relatively strong in Chapel Hill. Most households earn over $73,000 a year — about $11,000 more than the typical American household. Additionally, an average of only 3.4% of the labor force has been unemployed in the last five years, compared to an average of 5.3% nationwide.

47. Lafayette, Colorado
> Population: 28,742
> 5-yr. population change: +11.4%
> Median household income: $83,342
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 3.3%

The Denver suburb Lafayette ranks as the fourth best place to live in Colorado and 47th best nationwide. The town features a walkable downtown area complete with a public plaza, shopping, restaurants, a theater, and a museum showcasing the town’s mining history. The community hosts several annual events as well as a weekly farmer’s market. The town has had lower than average unemployment over the last half decade.

Like several other places on this list, Lafayette is growing rapidly. Since 2014, the local population has expanded by 11.4%, more than triple the comparable 3.4% national population growth rate.

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46. Swissvale, Pennsylvania
> Population: 8,760
> 5-yr. population change: -2.3%
> Median household income: $50,067
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 4.9%

The Pittsburgh suburb of Swissvale is the only place in Pennsylvania to rank on this list. The area has a weekly farmer’s market and a higher than average concentration of places like bars, restaurants, fitness centers, and libraries.

The most affordable place on this list, the typical home in Swissvale is worth $109,900 — just 2.2 times more than the local median household income of $50,067. Nationwide, the typical home is worth 3.5 times more than the national median household income.