Everyone thinks their city is the best city in the world but as it turns out, not everyone can be right. We get that there are valid arguments for almost every city in the U.S.A. but there’s got to be a system of checks and balances. For every quirky story selling Nashville’s music scene, there’s bound to be a horrifying counterpart. Which is why there are companies like SmartAsset to objectively break things down and determine which U.S. cities are actually the most livable.
In order to generate their list, SmartAsset considered six key factors including walkability, violent crime rate, property crime rate, unemployment rate, and income after housing. Seems reasonable. They also assumed a city’s higher population density was a good thing which is, of course, subjective. There were a few surprising hits and misses among the listed cities, including the number one spot — Jersey City. Of the 93 cities ranked, Memphis came in dead last largely due to high crime and unemployment and, according to the study, southern cities ranked poorly due to low walkability.
California cities appeared quite often on the list. In fact, there are four of them in the top 10. See for yourself!
1. Jersey City, NJ
We’re scratching our heads about as feverishly as you are at this one. But according to SmartAsset, Jersey City is pleasantly densely populated (if that’s your thing,) people make plenty of money, and you can walk almost anywhere.
Brava, Jersey City!
2. Irvine, CA
Again we’re kind of surprised. Mostly because Irvine is the most boring, suburban-feeling place in all of suburbia. But… the city is super safe and because of some innovative engineering, you’ll be way less jammed up driving around than you would be in LA.
Plus it’s home to Taco Bell’s headquarters!
3. Plano, TX
Oh, you’ve never heard of Plano? It’s about twenty miles northeast of downtown Dallas. It’s also home to some dude who expects to earn more than $100,000 decorating bananas this year, so clearly anything’s possible there!
Crap walkability though.
4. New York, NY
Ahhh, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of! Tell that to Plano. Anyway, we’re happy for the Big Apple whose crime rates are staggeringly low, walkability is the best in the country, and is the most densely populated city on the list.
(To reiterate, we are not entirely sure this is a good thing.)
5. Honolulu, HI
While SmartAsset attributes the city’s ranking to low unemployment rates, we have a sneaking suspicion that this one-eyed surfing rescue kitty was also an important factor. What else could make up for this professional golfer getting robbed on the island?
6. Irving, TX
Texas is making some strong impressions on this list. Irving is located in Dallas County about twenty minutes from the city of Dallas. It’s home to the biggest horse statue in the world and Kimberly-Clark, the company who probably made the toilet paper you wiped your butt with today! Long-time Austinites would LOVE for all their neighbors to move there.
7. Boston, MA
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Mark Wahlberg must be so excited. Despite quite a bit of violent crime, Boston boasts the third highest rate of walkability among the cities on SmartAsset’s list.
8. Madison, WI
Madison Wisconsin is among the top five drunkest cities in America, but that’s not exactly why it’s considered one of the most livable. According to SmartAsset, unemployment is about as low as stress levels and people are bringing in a decent amount of money after rent.
9. Fremont, CA
Fremont is pretty similar to Irvine only it’s higher up in the state and further down this list. Low crime, similar unemployment rates, and the same walkability. As an added bonus, it’s the hometown of champion Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.
You’re reaching Fremont, you’re reaching.
10. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco actually tied Fremont for the 9th/10th spot. Despite superb walkability and a high population density (we still can’t get over that being a “good” thing) San Francisco is surprisingly crimey. So, while enjoying convenient walks in the company of your fellow San Franciscans, make sure your pockets are protected.
If you want to check out some of the in-betweeners and the very worst of the worst, the rest of the list can be found here.