Adam McCann, Financial Writer
Not everyone craves the bright lights and crowded spaces of big cities. In fact, nearly half of Americans (46%) say they would prefer to live in the suburbs, compared to 19% for urban areas and 35% for rural communities. Small-city life can be best for those who appreciate more wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes, to name just a few of its advantages. Granted, these little urban areas demand some tradeoffs, too, such as fewer restaurant options or shorter business hours.
One of the best perks of living in a city with a relatively small population is affordability. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living for a two-parent, two-child family in Hanford, California, for instance, would be $6,516 per month, compared with more than double at $13,251 for the same family in San Francisco.
No two small cities are made equal, though, so which ones outshine the rest? To find out, WalletHub compared more than 1,300 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 based on 43 key indicators of livability. They range from housing costs to school-system quality to restaurants per capita.
In order to determine the best small cities in America, WalletHub compared 1,319 cities across five key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Health, 3) Education & Health, 4) Quality of Life and 5) Safety. For our sample, we selected cities with population sizes between 25,000 and 100,000 and considered only the “city proper” in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area.
We then evaluated the five dimensions using 43 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for small-city residents. Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
Click here for the complete list and additional insight from WalletHub and their panel of experts. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-small-cities-to-live-in/16581
Lancaster, PA, just three short miles from Willow Valley Communities, was ranked first!