10 Best Small Towns

Our 2016 ranking of the 10 Best Small Towns in America.

Livability is a site about the great stories that can be told in small to mid-sized cities, and all the qualities that make them great places to live. Therefore it's no surprise that our 10 Best Small Towns list is one of our favorites. It's our annual chance to showcase the truly small towns throughout the US. Every city on this list has a population under 20,000. 


To pick them, Livability analyzed data on thousands of communities. More than 20 data points were analyzed, following the same framework and principals as our 100 Best Places to Live. Factors included indicators of healthy, active, affordable, diverse, and safe communities, with plenty to do and citizens who take full advantage of their cities. Places that are growing and thriving stood out, as well.


Once the numbers were crunched, Livability's editors combed through the short list to find cities, towns and hamlets with a range of sizes and geographic diversity. The result is this: our 2016 edition of the 10 Best Small Towns in America. Check them out, and if you're looking for a getaway, or just some place with a slower pace and a neighborly touch, any of these towns will make a great home for you.

Ranking Criteria

Commute Time • Cost of Living • Crime Rate • Quality of Schools • Entertainment Options • Pollution • Community Engagement • Arts & Culture • Projected Population Growth 2015-2020 • Health of Residents

10. Sitka, AK Population 8,943
9. Canyon, TX Population 14,248
8. Ellensburg, WA Population 18,637
7. Louisville, CO Population 19,548
6. Amherst Center, MA Population 19,543
5. Los Alamos, NM Population 11,815
4. Lebanon, NH Population 13,535
3. Sebastopol, CA Population 7,583
2. Dobbs Ferry, NY Population 11,055
1. Traverse City, MI Population 15,168