Best Cities for Quality of Life

Those who are content with their lives (or not) can usually pinpoint exactly why, and sometimes it comes down to the city they call home.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: October 31, 2017
Many Americans attribute their level of personal happiness and fulfillment to their job, their bank account or their living situation, but what really makes us feel content?

Financial website NerdWallet analyzed 177 U.S. cities that had at least 150,000 residents to find out which fostered the best quality of life and why. Using data estimates from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, analysts looked at factors such as health insurance coverage, poverty levels, unemployment rates, work commute times, number of hours worked per week and percentage of income spent on housing.

After compiling data for all the cities, they determined the 10 that produced the best quality of life for residents.

So, what makes these cities so fulfilling? According to NerdWallet, there were a few key factors involved:
  • The top cities are not among the nation’s largest cities.
  • Fewer work hours does not necessarily mean better quality of life, and vice versa.
  • The top cities provided more financial opportunities and stability for residents.

Here are the top 10 best cities for quality of life.

10. Scottsdale, Arizona
Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent
Poverty Rate: 5.9 percent
Average Workweek: 39.9 hours

9. Des Moines, Iowa
Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent
Poverty Rate: 12.6 percent
Average Workweek: 37.8 hours

8. Little Rock, Arkansas
Unemployment Rate: 4.0 percent
Poverty Rate: 11.8 percent
Average Workweek: 38.9 hours

7. Eugene, Oregon
Unemployment Rate: 7.5 percent
Poverty Rate: 10.3 percent
Average Workweek: 34.7 hours

6. Cary, North Carolina
Unemployment Rate: 3.9 percent
Poverty Rate: 3.0 percent
Average Workweek: 40.3 hours

5. Boise, Idaho
Unemployment Rate: 4.5 percent
Poverty Rate: 8.6 percent
Average Workweek: 38.1 hours

4. Overland Park, Kansas
Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent
Poverty Rate: 4.4 percent
Average Workweek: 39.5 hours

3. Lincoln, Nebraska
Unemployment Rate: 3.6 percent
Poverty Rate: 7.3 percent
Average Workweek: 37.5 hours

2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Unemployment Rate: 2.6 percent
Poverty Rate: 5.4 percent
Average Workweek: 39.7 hours

1. Madison Wisconsin
Unemployment Rate: 3.8 percent
Poverty Rate: 7.0 percent
Average Workweek: 37.0 hours

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