Special Report

Americas 50 Best Cities To Live

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

30. Sandy, Utah
> Population: 96,127
> 5-yr. population change: +7.4%
> Median household income: $94,018
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.8%

Sandy, Utah, is the only place in the state to rank on this list. The city, located less than 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, has a relatively strong job market. Over the last five years, an average of only 2.8% of the labor force in Sandy has been unemployed, well below the comparable 5.3% national average jobless rate. Over the same period, the city has added thousands of jobs.

Sandy offers residents access to over 30 parks and a downtown area with a range of shopping and dining options as well as museums and entertainment venues.

Source: sorincolac / Getty Images

29. Ketchikan, Alaska
> Population: 8,228
> 5-yr. population change: +0.7%
> Median household income: $61,419
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 7.0%

Ketchikan is a small city in southern Alaska and the only place in the state to rank on this list. Ideal for outdoor types, the area is home to a wide range of wildlife, including black bears, wolves, bald eagles, and over 100 species of migrating birds. A coastal city, Ketchikan and the surrounding waters are also home to Orca and humpback whales, sea lions, seals, otters, and porpoises. The city also has a far higher than average concentration of places like restaurants, bars, and hotels.

28. Takoma Park, Maryland
> Population: 17,672
> 5-yr. population change: +2.1%
> Median household income: $84,591
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 5.6%

Takoma Park, Maryland, is a Washington D.C. suburb with a unique identity that has earned it the nickname “The Berkeley of the East.” The city has its own peace delegation, an annual folk festival, and a local voting age of 16. The city is walkable, and is in close proximity to reliable public transit. According to a recent survey, about 9 in every 10 local residents say that overall quality of life in Takoma Park is either excellent or good.

As is often the case among the cities and towns on this list, Takoma Park is a relatively expensive place to live. Most homes in the area are worth over $580,000, well more than double the median home value nationwide of $217,500.

Source: DPGadal / iStock via Getty Images

27. Goleta, California
> Population: 30,975
> 5-yr. population change: +2.1%
> Median household income: $98,005
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 5.5%

Goleta is a coastal city in southern California with a population of about 31,000. Goleta is also home to several beaches, parks, golf courses, and a high per capita concentration of restaurants, hotels, museums, and movie theaters.

Many of the best places to live are home to wealthy, well-educated populations — and Goleta is no exception. Most households in the area earn over $98,000 a year, and nearly half of the local adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. Nationwide, most households earn less than $63,000 and about 33% of adults have a bachelor’s degree.

26. Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
> Population: 13,972
> 5-yr. population change: -1.1%
> Median household income: $124,397
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.2%

Along with Middleton, Whitefish Bay is one of two Wisconsin cities to rank among the 50 best places to live. The village is a Milwaukee suburb located on the shore of Lake Michigan, and favorable 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 2.2% — less than half the comparable national rate of 5.3%.