Best Places to Live

Berkeley, CA

Population: 117,384
Joe Parks via Flickr

Few cities have seen the rapid social change, civic unrest and political upheaval that Berkeley, Calif., has experienced. Once a focal point for anti-war protests in the '60s, Berkeley remains a city where capitalism and societal norms are consistently challenged, while equality and environmental protection efforts are strongly supported. Democrats outnumber Republicans here by a margin of more than 10 to 1, according to state voter registration numbers. In 2012, Berkeley became one of the first cities in the country to proclaim a day recognizing bisexuals, and in 2014, the city council approved a measure to provide free medical marijuana to low-income patients. In November 2014, Berkeley voters will choose whether to offer a constitutional amendment denying corporations the same rights as people.

Barbara Lee, a highly progressive Democrat, represents California's 13th Congressional District, which includes Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro. Lee, who was elected to Congress in 1998, was the lone dissenter in a vote authorizing military force after the 9/11 attacks. She remains opposed to the Afghanistan war and supports increasing California's minimum wage. Lee has recently sponsored bills to audit the Pentagon, end violence in south Sudan and decrease poverty.

Residents here are likely to ...

  • drive a Subaru.
  • shop at REI.
  • watch The Newsroom.
  • read Time magazine.

Berkeley, CA Highlights

Obama won 78.7% of the vote here in 2012
U.S. Representative: Barbara Lee, Democrat
A measure to tax sugar-sweetened beverages will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.