Special Report

The Best City To Live In Every State

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Massachusetts: Brookline
> Population: 59,180
> 5-yr. Population change: +0.3% (state: +2.9%)
> Median home value: $933,200 (state: $381,600)
> Median household income: $117,326 (state: $81,215)
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.8% (state: 4.8%)

The Boston suburb of Brookline ranks as the best place to live in Massachusetts largely because it is a safe place with a strong job market. There were only 97 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Brookline in 2019, well below the statewide violent crime rate of 328 per 100,000. Additionally, over the last five years, an average of only 2.8% of the local labor force have been unemployed, well below the comparable 4.8% statewide average.

Brookline is also a pedestrian-friendly area with reliable public transportation. Over half of all commuters in the area either walk, bike, or take public transit to and from work — options many Americans in much of the country do not have.

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Michigan: Royal Oak
> Population: 59,195
> 5-yr. Population change: +1.4% (state: +0.8%)
> Median home value: $224,600 (state: $154,900)
> Median household income: $81,665 (state: $57,144)
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 3.2% (state: 5.9%)

The Detroit suburb of Royal Oak ranks as the best place to live in Michigan. The small city has its own downtown area with shopping, bars, restaurants, and entertainment. Royal Oak also has a farmers market every Saturday in a venue that doubles as an antique market on Sundays and also hosts weddings, food trucks, corporate events, annual festivals and performances.

Royal Oak is also a safe community. There were only 102 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the city in 2019, a fraction of the 1,965 per 100,000 people in nearby Detroit and well below the state violent crime rate of 437 incidents per 100,000.

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Minnesota: Edina
> Population: 51,746
> 5-yr. Population change: +5.7% (state: +3.3%)
> Median home value: $476,300 (state: $223,900)
> Median household income: $104,244 (state: $71,306)
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 3.1% (state: 3.6%)

The Minneapolis suburb of Edina ranks as the best place to live in Minnesota. In addition to easy access to entertainment and culture in the Twin Cities, residents have easy access to parks, bike trails, shopping, restaurants, and public art in their hometown. Home to a relatively financially wealthy population, Edina’s poverty rate is 4.9% and its median annual household income is $104,244. This compares to Minnesota’s poverty rate of 9.7% and median household income of $71,306.

Edina is also a safe place to live, with a violent crime rate of 89 incidents per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’ violent crime rate is 926 incidents per 100,000 and Minnesota’s is236 per 100,000.

Mississippi: Byram
> Population: 11,578
> 5-yr. Population change: -0.3% (state: +0.0%)
> Median home value: $141,700 (state: $119,000)
> Median household income: $66,641 (state: $45,081)
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 2.2% (state: 7.5%)

Byram is a suburb of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, and ranks as the best place to live in the state. Economic conditions are far better in Byram than they are in much of Mississippi. The local five-year average unemployment rate of 2.2% is considerably lower than the comparable 7.5% statewide average. Additionally, the local poverty rate is just 5.7%, compared to the poverty rate of 20.3% across Mississippi.

Byram is also an affordable place to own a home. The typical area home is worth $141,700, just 2.1 times more than the median annual household income in the area of $66,641. Meanwhile, across the United States, the typical home is worth 3.5 times more than median household income.

Source: Courtesy of the City of Ladue, Missouri

Missouri: Ladue
> Population: 8,601
> 5-yr. Population change: +0.6% (state: +1.3%)
> Median home value: $831,800 (state: $157,200)
> Median household income: $214,875 (state: $55,461)
> 5-yr. avg. unemployment: 1.3% (state: 4.6%)

The St. Louis suburb of Ladue ranks as the best place to live in Missouri. The city’s top ranking is due in part to its strong job market. An average of just 1.3% of the local labor force have been unemployed in the last five years, compared to the statewide five-year average jobless rate of 4.6%. Incomes are also high in the area. The typical Ladue household earns $214,875 a year, nearly four times more than the median of $55,461 statewide .

Ladue is also a relatively safe community, with an annual violent crime rate of 93 incidents per 100,000 people, a fraction of the state and national rates of 495 per 100,000 and 367 per 100,000, respectively.