Everyone’s top-10 list of anything ranked will vary since we all have differing wants, needs, likes and dislikes. Whenever any top-10 list is presented, prior to trusting the rankings, always focus on the selection, inclusion and exclusion criteria.
A good example of personal preference is my own avoidance of cold climates and weather. As stated in the past, personally, a lack of cold weather is a big preference. Having been raised on a ranch in Southwestern Colorado and feeding tons of hay in the winter at sub-zero temperatures, I want to avoid any location that has material snow fall and cold — at least to live permanently. Nor could I live where there is a state or local income tax. I am an economist, after all. Thus whenever I see a city with cold and snow included in a best-of-list (other than perhaps rankings mountain towns or ski areas), there is a predetermined disagreement.
That said, take a look at Money and Realtor.com’s 2018 rankings of the Best Places to Live in America. Their methodology was based on the following:
- Minimum population of 50,000
- Only two cities per state and one per county could be included in the final list of the top 50 cities, and only one per state in the top 15
- Cities with double the national crime risk, median incomes of less than 85 percent of the respective home state, or those lacking ethnic diversity were excluded
- Inclusion metrics were: local economic health; cost of living; diversity; public education; income; crime; ease of living; and local amenities (all these points of data provided by Witlytic). Housing market and related data came from Realtor.com
- In addition, reporters interviewed local residents and evaluated intangible factors not included in the supplied metrics
The following table shows the top-10 places to live in 2018 based on the Money-Realtor.com selection criteria. Keep in mind that many of these are the preferred suburban locations within or near major metropolitan markets. Frisco, Texas is a highly desirable market in the Dallas-Ft Worth Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Highland Ranch is similar, but located 12 miles south of Denver, Colorado. The same is true for many of the other top-10 cities. Not expected (by me), given the cost of living component included in the selection and ranking criteria, were the markets where home values were so high: Dublin, California at $898,000 and Sammamish, Washington at $1.137 million. One-half of the top-10 had median home values that were more than double the $254,000 median home value in the U.S. (based on the average median home value for the prior 12-month). All of the top-10 were relatively small towns when it came to population.
To read the entire article including a list of the top-50 ranking cities in 2018 click https://time.com/money/collection/2018-best-places-to-live/
To see what home purchase options exist, take a look at current home listings, rentals and recent sales on Realtor.com at https://www.realtor.com/?cid=dsp_MoneyMag_XM_Meredith_Display_Banner_300x250_228555979
Just as with food products in which you need to read the label for contents, the same is true in selection criteria and ranking factors for these type of lists.
Guaranteed is that you will not agree with all 10 of the locales as the top-10 places to live in America. Included in my top-10 list would be Fredericksburg, Texas, a quaint German heritage town located in the Hill Country approximately one hour drive north of San Antonio and 90 miles west of Austin. Given a population of less than 12,000 in 2016, however, it would have never made the inclusion criteria. Another would be College Station-Bryan, Texas, home to Texas A&M University (and it would muster the inclusion criteria).
Email back a favorite city with at least 50,000 population that you believe should have also be included in the top-10.