Best places to live
CNN Money has released their 2011 Best Places to Live list, outlining what they have deemed to be America’s best small towns. They analysed financial factors, housing, quality of life, education and other factors to determine the top ten, with Louisville, CO taking the top spot.
Below are the top ten towns with #1 being the winner:
- Louisville, CO
- Milton, MA
- Solon, OH
- Leesburg, VA
- Papillion, NE
- Hanover, NH
- Liberty, MO
- Middleton, WI
- Mukilteo, WA
- Chanhassen, MN
Financial data on the top ten towns
Looking at CNN Money’s top ten list from strictly a financial perspective makes one question if Leesburg, VA should have been the front runner over Louisville, CO. Nearly 50 percent job growth in just ten years? That is impressive.
- Louisville, CO – 3.07% job growth (2000-2010), median family income per year $104,222
- Milton, MA – -1.76% job growth, median income $121,355
- Solon, OH – 2.90% job growth, median income $110,762
- Leesburg, VA – 47.16% job growth, median income $128,595
- Papillion, NE – 32.75% job growth, median income $92,430
- Hanover, NH – -3.71% job growth, median income $120,957
- Liberty, MO – 11.98% job growth, median income $77,429
- Middleton, WI – 8.85% job growth, median income $104,456
- Mukilteo, WA – 13.58% job growth, median income $104,939
- Chanhassen, MN – 25.62% job growth, median income $123,580
Median home prices
After looking at income and job growth, it is interesting to see that some small towns are certainly more affordable than others and a wide range of median home prices is represented by the top ten list.
- Louisville, CO – $342,000
- Milton, MA – $425,965
- Solon, OH – $220,000
- Leesburg, VA – $279,250
- Papillion, NE – $145,000
- Hanover, NH – $355,000
- Liberty, MO – $137,574
- Middleton, WI – $250,000
- Mukilteo, WA – $379,950
- Chanhassen, MN – $324,000
Other factors to consider
Most of these areas have low crime, high quality of life and great job growth, but we noticed the list leans away from the South (arguably the home of small town mentality) and favors mostly northern cities as can be seen by the fact that no city exceeds 87.5 degrees as their high temperature in July. Every town in the top ten exceeds the average for percentage of residents who have completed at least some college, yet the divorce rates in these areas is higher than the national average in most cases.
It is an interesting study of what makes small towns “the best” to live in, and although the list is certainly lacking in Southern small towns, the data shows that these top ten small towns are economically stable and appealing to residents.