The 100 best places to live
Money magazine's annual list of the small towns that are the heart of America combines affordability with a high standard of living.
In tough economic times like these, affordability plays a big role in where we choose to live. But what Americans really want is to find the perfect town where they can settle down for the long term, one that features a lifestyle that will offer fun for the entire family.
Money magazine's list of the "Best Places to Live" combines both of those traits, featuring a slide show of some of the most picturesque towns across America that boast an ideal standard of living with an ability to rise above the economic downturn.
Unemployment in most of the cities in the top 10 is well below the national average of 9.5%, with No. 3 Papillion, Neb., at the lowest at 4.5%.
The No. 1 city may not be able to beat that, but it's not doing so bad itself at an unemployment rate of 6%. Add to that the good schools and easy access to the great outdoors, and the down-to-earth town of Louisville, Colo., is at the top of the list.
Not only has the family-friendly city weathered the economic downturn well, but also it has nearly 30 miles of trails, eight world-class ski resorts within two hours, and Rocky Mountain National Park less than an hour away.
In a video of why Louisville is the "Best Place to Live," one resident put it simply: "It has that nice small-town feel to it, but it's not small-minded."
Plenty of outdoor and family-friendly activities are what put a lot of the cities in the top 10, including in No. 4 Middleton, Wis., where the town's 1,000 acres of parks, cross-country ski trails, and bike and running paths keep families busy throughout the year.
A low crime rate and good schools are also a big draw, especially for No. 8: Peachtree City, Ga., which has the lowest crime rate in its state, an excellent school system and plenty of golf carts. From Money magazine:
Planned in 1959, Peachtree City contains five "villages" that are connected not only by standard roads but also by 90 miles of wooded golf-cart paths. Children drive carts to school, families to either of two 250-acre lakes, and yes, golfers to any of the three courses in town.
That alone is enough to draw golfers of all ages from around the nation -- and quite possibly the world.
As we all know, it's not just about the standard of living. If real-estate investing is still a big selling point for you, No. 7 Keller, Texas, may be your best bet, where home values increased 6% last year. Yes, you still can make money in real estate!
Here's the list of the top 10:
- Louisville, Colo.
- Chanhassen, Minn.
- Papillion, Neb.
- Middleton, Wis.
- Milton, Mass.
- Warren, N.J.
- Keller, Texas
- Peachtree City, Ga.
- Lake St. Louis, Mo.
- Mukilteo, Wash.
This list should unnecessary. True citizenship demands that we make whatever community that we live in the best that we can. That includes equality and justice for all. It includes contributing to the better good of all, not just of ourselves. It also includes everyone in the community being of like mind in their decisions of how they live, and of who lives there.
It doesn't include having folks who come to "camp out", case the place, take what isn't theirs, and send whatever "booty" they come by back to somewhere else.
It doesn't include keeping to yourself, espousing another lifestyle, making a lot of noise, and never taking the time to learn what citizenship is.
That's why LEGAL immigration is so important.
I don't want to see another list until we straighten out how people get into them, or this country.
Lists like this are just a who's who of where to go, to screw up this country further. As a fifth generation Texan, I can honestly say that my family members helped create a nation of plenty. As a decendant of the original founding fathers, I can say the history is rich with contributions to the greater good of all those who came and blended into the melting pot that is the United States.
Unfortunately, the socialists came here, too. Now we're swimming in opportunity for those who never pay a red cent to help out. In fact, many send off for their relatives to come and suck off the rest of us, as well. They bring there baggage that they were supposed to leave behind, and wake us all up too early in the morning with it. They have us buying burglar alarms and window fences, and wishing someone would just send them back to where they came from. They bankrupt our economy, and send the money they make to some other country.
Thanks for the list. Now go back to wherever you came from.
Are you serious??? that whole Boulder/Louisville is a complete ****. I lived there 15 yrs ago and even then the traffic and housing prices were outrageous.
Do yourself a favor, find a town not on the list, and pray that it never makes the list.
I live in San Antonio, Texas. Enough of the diversity. We're S**t deep in it here. If wanting to maintain a decent quality of life requires seperatism, I'm all for it. It'd be good to get away from those who think everyone else's stuff belongs to them. Some folks here don't understand the concept of PRIVATE residential property. Pepe can stay where he's at.
I believe you missed the irony in my post. I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the "limousine liberals".
You want diversity? Move to E. St. Louis or Detroit. I prefer my relatively non-diverse town--wish it had a Diversity Rating of 0.0%.
We know Colorado is a great place to live. That's why we live here. If anyone reading this is thinking about moving to Colorado, don't. Please don't. I could really do without the extra traffic (and pollution). We could also do without the attitude some people seem to have when moving here from other states. There are barely enough jobs for the people who were born here. If you think this is being separatist , you're right. Colorado is full, go home.
Livability means low taxes, easy to get to stores, good schools, high standard of living but not a lot of bankruptcies or foreclosures, better than average employment, local amenities such as parks and recreation and low crime rates.
But then again, Money Mag never saw the current melt down coming so what do they really know?
Synjon, You're really showing your ignorance by implying that the number of people on antidepressants lowers a town's livability. Do diabetics or people with high blood pressure count against a town too? How about those with disabilities or arthritis?
Westminster has it all over Louisville for affordability, shopping, schools, and downright cleaner city.
I know, I moved to the front range 2 years ago and looked hard at all the Denver metro cities, comparing what I believe matters
most to the average family. Westminster was the best! To top it off, I found a great area, beautiful view of the mountains, and wonderful neighbors.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.