Best US Cities and Places to Live in 2010

It’s that time again – time for Money Magazine’s 100 Best Places To Live In America. Every year I cover their findings, as I think it’s really interesting to read about where people are living “the good life” in this country. Their findings are based on data about job opportunities, education, crime rates, health care, extracurricular activities, and a bunch of other factors that can make or break a town’s livability. They start with towns and cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000, then they exclude places where median income is more than 200% of the state median, then they screen out retirement communities, towns with high unemployment, etc., then they factor in additional data on the economy, followed by visits to the towns and interviews with local residents. It’s quite an exhaustive process!

I have traveled to almost every state in the country, and there are always plenty of places that I could see myself living, and discovering a few new ones in this annual list is quite interesting – it makes me want to take more road trips!

As I normally do, I will list the Top 10 places to live out of the Top 100 that they cover, and include a little info on each. Also, I live pretty close to Fort Collins, CO, and I have to tell you – it’s a very cool town, with clean air, nice people, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy year round. I highly recommend you check it out if you are ever in Colorado.

1. Eden Prairie, MN – 64,000 residents, $295,000 average home price, and average annual property taxes of $3,600
2. Columbia/Ellicott City, MD – 155,000 residents, $435,000 average home price, taxes of $6,500
3. Newton, MA – 82,000 residents, $575,000 average home price, and taxes of $5,500 (I love Newton, I grew up in that area. Fantastic city only a few miles from Boston)
4. Bellevue, WA – 124,000 residents, $542,000 average home price, and taxes of $3,700
5. McKinney, TX – 125,000 residents, $156,000 average home price, with taxes of $3,800 (What a great average home price)
6. Fort Collins, CO – 141,000 residents, $239,000 average home price, taxes of $1,400 (Incredibly low property taxes)
7. Overland Park, KS – 175,000 residents, $240,000 home price, and $2,900 in taxes
8. Fishers, IN – 69,000 residents, $140,000 average home price, and only $1,400 in property taxes
9. Ames, IA – 60,000 residents, $175,000 average home price, and taxes of $2,400
10. Rogers, AR – 57,000 residents, $171,000 average home price, and average annual property taxes of $1,800

I never would have guessed that a relatively small town in Minnesota would come out as the best place to live in America, but hey – that’s what these lists are for! I know my hometown in Massachusetts came in 16th place last year on the small town list, and I totally agreed with their finding. Is your city or town on this year’s Top 100 list? Should it be? Let us know where you live and why it should or shouldn’t be on the list!

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Comments (8)

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  1. Tyler says:

    Labeling Eden Prairie as a “small town” is very deceiving – it is simply a suburb of Minneapolis. The other cities in the top ten that are suburbs/spin-offs of major cities are Bellevue (Seattle), McKinney (Dallas), Overland Park (Kansas City), and Fishers (Indianapolis).

    Having gone to school at Iowa State, though, I can easily endorse Ames. Same goes for Fort Collins – I’ve only heard good things from my former roommate who grew up there.

  2. Mark says:

    Newbie’s in property investment need all the help they can get and no doubt, Property Magazines can give them just that.

  3. Quik Hit says:

    Why was one of the criteria of the MONEY article that cities with 95% or more white don’t qualify?

  4. David says:

    Because it’s an article about BEST places to live…and unless someone is a member of the KKK, I imagine some diversity makes any city a better place.

  5. Juana says:

    EP.. woodbury MN, and Rochester MN those are the best cities to live. clean, safe
    good people, good jobs, Rochester MN has the best hospital (MAYO CLINIC)…
    a lot a jobs in the clinic good paid.

  6. Denise says:

    I agree. Eden Prairie being listed as a small city is quite deceiving.

  7. Lynn says:

    You keep saying cities “and towns”. Since this survey was confined to CITIES larger than 50,000 people it excluded ALL of Vermont (and a few other states too I think). As a 3rd gen. native Californian who moved east 20+ years ago I’ve lived in cities big & small and I LOVE our small town Vermont life. I would never again even consider living in a city of any size.

  8. Janette says:

    Columbia MD is not a small town. It is in the DC/ Baltimore metroplex.
    I know Manhattan KS was on the list. It is a wonderful small town!