Special Report

America's 50 Best Cities to Live

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50. Windsor, California
> Population: 27,447
> 5-yr. population change: +1.2%
> Median household income: $106,899
> 5-yr. unemployment rate: 4.1%

Windsor, California, which lies about 50 miles north of San Francisco, ranks as one of America’s 50 best cities to live in large part due to its favorable economic conditions. The city has a median annual household income of nearly $107,000 — well above the national median of $62,843.

Windsor also has a poverty rate of just 4.0%, a fraction of the 13.4% U.S. poverty rate. Its five-year unemployment rate is 4.1%, compared to the national rate of 5.3% over that same time period.

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49. Herndon, Virginia
> Population: 24,532
> 5-yr. population change: +1.6%
> Median household income: $111,371
> 5-yr. unemployment rate: 4.1%

Herndon, Virginia, just 15 miles west of Washington, D.C., is one of two Virginia cities to rank among the 50 best cities to live in America. The city is fairly affluent, with a median annual household income over $111,000, and its unemployment rate of 4.1% is relatively low.

Like many other affluent cities, Herndon has a low poverty rate, at just 5.9% — less than half of the 13.4% U.S. poverty rate. The city also has fairly healthy residents, with 21.1% of adults considered obese, compared to nearly 30% nationwide. Nearly all Herndon residents have access to a place where they can exercise.

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48. Healdsburg, California
> Population: 11,845
> 5-yr. population change: +3.3%
> Median household income: $96,016
> 5-yr. unemployment rate: 2.9%

Healdsburg is a town of nearly 12,000 located in Sonoma County in the heart of California’s wine country. The city has many recreation and leisure options, with more movie theaters, museums, parks, sports centers, hotels, and restaurants per capita than the typical city.

Though Healdsburg’s population increased by just 3.3% over the past five years, its workforce increased by more than 20% during that same time. The city has a low unemployment rate of under 3.0% and a high median household income of over $96,000.

47. Scotts Valley, California
> Population: 11,863
> 5-yr. population change: +1.3%
> Median household income: $108,289
> 5-yr. unemployment rate: 3.6%

Scotts Valley sits about 20 miles south of San Jose near California’s coast. That access to the Silicon Valley area has helped make residents among the more affluent in the country.

The city’s median household income of $108,289 is well above the $62,843 median nationwide, and a quarter of area households earn $200,000 or more per year. Scotts Valley also reported an average unemployment rate of just 3.6% over the last five years, well below the 5.3% rate across the country during that same span.

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46. New Rochelle, New York
> Population: 79,067
> 5-yr. population change: +0.8%
> Median household income: $81,311
> 5-yr. unemployment rate: 6.1%

New Rochelle, which sits north of New York City, ranks among the best cities to live in America. The city has a relatively low violent crime rate of 124 incidents per 100,000 residents, roughly one-third the national violent crime rate.

With its proximity to New York City, New Rochelle residents have better commuting options than residents of most other cities. Nearly one-third of New Rochelle commuters do not take a car to work, compared to less than 10% of all American commuters.

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