America’s 10 Best Small Cities, Towns to Live In

Photo by 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Looking for a small place to call home? Columbia, Maryland, could be a great choice, according to an annual survey for Money magazine.

For Money, the nation’s best locales to live in offer a very particular combination of characteristics that includes top schools, affordable homes, good jobs and “that special something that makes a community a great place to live” — among other factors.

While that may seem an impossible combination to find, Money recently released its latest annual list of the best small cities and towns. This year, 50 out of 823 eligible destinations made the cut.

The magazine considered all U.S. cities and towns with populations of 50,000 to 300,000, for an initial pool of 823.

From there, the pool was narrowed by eliminating the places with the lowest predicted job growth, highest crime rate and poor sense of ethnic diversity (defined as having more than 90 percent of one race).

Then, Money examined financial factors like home values and tax rates as well as factors like the quality of health care and public school systems. Reporters also visited each locale.

After all that, Columbia came out on top. Money gave the 49-year-old planned community high marks for economic and social diversity.

Columbia promotes socioeconomic diversity, for example, through its layout — 10 villages that include a mix of apartments, townhomes and single-family.

The population is 55 percent white, 25 percent black, 12 percent Asian and 8 percent Latino.

Resident Shani Ball told Money:

“…diversity is not only tolerated here. It’s celebrated”

The top 10 cities and towns on the Money list are:

  1. Columbia, Maryland
  2. Eden Prairie, Minnesota
  3. Plano, Texas
  4. West Des Moines, Iowa
  5. Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey
  6. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
  7. Clarkstown, New York
  8. Weston, Florida
  9. Beaverton, Oregon
  10. Naperville, Illinois

Highlands Ranch also stands out for topping Money’s list of the healthiest places to live.

The magazine also looked at big cities, citing a few standouts.

New York City topped the list of the best places to be rich and single.

Additionally, six cities were named the best big cities in the country, with one selected for each of six regions:

  • Portland, Oregon — Best in the West
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado — Mountains
  • Arlington, Texas — South
  • Columbus, Ohio — Midwest
  • Raleigh, North Carolina — Southeast
  • Boston — Northeast

What makes a city or town one of the best in your opinion? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off
Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off

A common behavior becomes increasingly dangerous for those who are 50 or older.

7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score
7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score

A seemingly small stumble can cause your credit score to plummet.

16 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances
16 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances

These items put an end to the daily irritations that bug you the most.

7 Reasons Not to Move When You Retire
7 Reasons Not to Move When You Retire

Sunny skies and warm breezes sound great. But in reality, you might be better off retiring closer to home.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.