2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live
We ranked more than 2,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 to come up with our third annual Top 100 Best Places to Live. This is a data-driven list based on more than 40 data points. This year we are proud to have collaborated with world-renowned urbanist Richard Florida and assistant clinical professor Steven Pedigo from the Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities at NYU School of Professional Studies, our new data partners EMSI and our stellar board of advisors in shaping our proprietary methodology and the framework by which we rank the cities. See if your town made this year's list (or the 2015 and 2014 rankings). Get ready to plot your next move, and make one of these best places your best place.
Best known as home to Washington State University, residents in the college community of Pullman have a median age of less than 23 years old. Amenities include a highly regarded parks system, and the city is served by Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport as well as Pullman Regional Hospital. One of the main employers in Pullman is international power-industry giant Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and Pullman also has a strong agricultural sector and hosts a popular annual National Lentil Festival.
Located 50 miles south of Washington, D.C., Fredericksburg was a key player in the Civil War and attracts 1.5 million visitors annually who tour battlefields, museums, and other historic sites. A 40-block, 350-building Fredericksburg Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and students have access to a four-year University of Mary Washington. One of the largest shopping malls on the East Coast - Central Park - is in Fredericksburg.
One of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Greenville features a strong job market that attracts young professionals and families. Greenville serves as a regional hub in upstate South Carolina for entertainment venues and shopping opportunities, and the community’s multiple hospitals include Shriners Hospital for Children-Greenville. Residents enjoy a reinvigorated downtown and several higher learning choices such as Furman University. Read what makes Greenville a Best Place to Live.
Near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers is Eugene, nicknamed "The Emerald City" and home to the University of Oregon. Natural beauty, recreational opportunities and a focus on the arts add to the community’s quality of life, while 23 distinct neighborhoods in Eugene provide residents with a variety of housing options. It's clear to see why Eugene is a Top 100 Best Place to Live. Three hospitals serve the area, and one of the city’s most famous attractions is a Eugene Saturday Market that opens every Saturday morning from April through November.
Issaquah, a suburb of Seattle, is home to Tiger Mountain, a popular launch site where adventurers fly paragliders and hang gliders. The city also hosts Salmon Days, a two-day award-winning festival held on the first full weekend of October. Residents and tourists enjoy glimpses of many endangered species at Cougar Mountain Zoo, while the Swedish Medical Center has opened as a full-service 175-bed hospital in the Issaquah Highlands.
Diverse industries like aerospace, agribusiness, biotechnology, manufacturing, publishing and software help keep the economy robust in Stillwater. The city's largest employer is Oklahoma State University with more than 6,000 staffers. Quality of life luxuries include Lake Carl Blackwell and Lake McMurtry, and health-care needs are met at a 119-bed Stillwater Medical Center. Stillwater is also known as the home of red dirt music - a mixture of rock, country, folk and blues. See where Stillwater ranks on our list of the Best Golf Cities.
Excellent health-care and educational systems, a diverse collection of housing and lots of amenities are big reasons why Santa Clara has been on the Top 100 Best Places to Live list for three straight years. Technology firms and Santa Clara University drive the city’s economy and set the cultural tone. An average of 300 days of sunshine each year give residents plenty of opportunity to enjoy recreational facilities found in Santa Clara. Parks and historic architecture provide even more things to do in Santa Clara. See where Santa Clara ranked on the 2015 Best Places to Live list.
Located 30 miles from Manhattan, nine Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in Stamford, which has one of the highest educated populations in the nation. Nearly 45 percent of adult residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the median income for families tops $110,000. The city has several university campuses, a large arts community, fantastic restaurants and a good parks system led by Jackie Robinson Park, named for the baseball legend who lived in Stamford. All of this plays a factor in why Stamford is a Best Place to Live.
Home to two of the most recognized universities in the world - Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge is a base for many tech firms and a cultural center in the Northeast. The economy in Cambridge is centered around education and research. The city’s highly educated population, diverse range of home options, outstanding medical facilities and many parks have landed it on the Top 100 Best Places to Live list for three straight years. Read more about why Cambridge is a Top 100 Best Place to Live.
Just northwest of Washington, D.C., is Bethesda, a bedroom community regarded as one of the wealthiest and highly educated cities in America. The median income for families is about $175,000, and Bethesda houses Congressional Country Club - one of the most prestigious golf country clubs in the world. Major employers in the city include the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and a number of corporate and government headquarters. See where Bethesda ranks as one of the Best Cities for College Grads.