Best Places to Live

Methodology: The making of our lists

A peek behind the scenes of the Top 100 Best Places to Live for 2019.

With a name like Livability, we take our Best Places to Live list very seriously, and we want you to understand the decisions that went into it and the data that drove it.

This year we ranked more than 1,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 1,000,000 according to the latest projections from our data partner, Esri. For each city, we use our proprietary algorithm to calculate a LivScore. The LivScore is based on more than 40 data points grouped into eight categories:

  • Amenities

  • Demographics

  • Education

  • Economy

  • Health Care

  • Housing

  • Social and Civic Capital

  • Transportation and Infrastructure

So how exactly do we craft the ranking?

Livability partnered with Ipsos, a leading global market research firm, to survey more than 1,000 millennials about the factors that are most important to them when deciding where to live.

You can see the results of that survey right here.

The main themes were affordability, job opportunities, diversity and inclusion. We used these results to determine how much weight to give to each data point, and make sure our 2019 list reflects the values of the country right now.

Where do we get our data?

We pull in data from the best public and private data sources available.

Our trusted sources include public-sector providers such as U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Aviation Administration, the United States Golf Association, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Education. We also source data from leading private-sector sources including Esri, Great Schools, and ATTOM.

We also find great data created by nonprofits such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.