Best State Capitals to Live In — 2019

State capitals are no-doubt the bastions of political power in each state – at least when the legislatures are in session.  Many of the state capitals are also home to universities and colleges and major businesses and industries.  Others (17 by count) are the largest cites in each state.  But just like all cities, each has its own unique positive and negative attributes, issues and problems.  State capitals often have the privilege of economic advantages in downturns since state governments often do not shrink when the overall economy retracts.

Where then, are the best state capitals in which to reside?  To answer this, WalletHub examined 54 metrics relating to economic well-being, affordability, quality of education and health and overall quality of life  to ascertain which capitals are the best in which to live.

Ranking was completed using the following data points and weights.  Each metric was then graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most livable state capital for each metric.

Affordability – 25 Points

  • Cost of living double weight
  • Median household income double weight
  • Housing costs 

Economic Well-Being – 25 Points 

  • Population growth rate (2017 vs 2013)
  • Income growth
  • Median credit score
  • Income inequality
  • Debt as a percent of median income
  • Percent of population living in poverty
  • Homeownership rate
  • Percent of homes underwater (negative equity)
  • Unemployment rate
  • Growth in number of businesses (2016 vs 2015)
  • Foreclosure rate
  • Bankruptcy rate
  • Building permit activity
  • Percent of state & local government employees

 Quality of Education and Health – 25 Points

  • School-system quality
  • High school graduation rate
  • Average university score
  • Number of universities in the 2019 Best Colleges & Universities ranking
  • Percent of adults with s at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Percent of population with health insurance coverage
  • Quality of public hospital system
  • Hospital beds per Capita
  • Premature death rate – double weight
  • Infant mortality rate
  • Percent of adults in good health – double weight
  • Adult obesity rate
  • Physical inactivity
  • Percent of live births having low birth weights – double weight

Quality of Life – 25 Points 

  • Percent of Millennial newcomers
  • Number of attractions
  • Nightlife options per Capita
  • Restaurants per Capita
  • Affordable restaurants with 4.5+ stars
  • Bars per Capita
  • Coffee shops per Capita
  • Movie theaters per Capita
  • Fitness centers per Capita
  • Walkability
  • Bike Score
  • Access to public transportation
  • Average commute time
  • Likelihood of traffic accidents
  • Driving fatalities per Capita
  • Average weekly work hours
  • Mildness of weather
  • Air quality
  • Sports-fan friendliness
  • Violent-crime rate —  double weight
  • Property-crime rate – double weight
  • Perception of safety )walking alone) – half weight

The following table shows the overall ranking based on the metrics and weights chosen by WalletHub.

No doubt there are disagreements as to the value of each of these metrics with-respect to the quality of life.  I am not certain that the number of coffee shops, nightlife options or bars per capita impact the overall quality of life much – but these are subjective variables.

To read the entire WalletHub Report click

Capitals are without question unique cities to live, but they are not all equal.



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