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Try That in a Small Town: 2023's "Best Small Cities in America"

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Indiana and Massachusetts placed the most small cities at the top of a recent list ranking the best small cities in America.

The list was compiled by the website WalletHub. Indiana and Massachusetts each had four on the list. Tennessee had two cities on the list, as did Wisconsin.

The small cities that were in the 99th percentile, which means there was no one ahead of them, were: Carmel, Indiana, Lexington, Massachusetts, Brentwood, Tennessee, Westfield, Indiana, Fishers, Indiana, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Milton, Massachusetts, Melrose, Massachusetts, Saratoga Springs, New York, Brookfield, Wisconsin, Bozeman, Montana, Apex, North Carolina, Redmond, Washington, Needham, Massachusetts, Kaysville, Utah, Zionsville, Indiana, Appleton, Wisconsin, Portland, Maine, and Franklin, Tennessee.

All the way at the bottom in the first percentile, which meant everyone else was ahead of them, were East St. Louis, Illinois, Gadsden, Alabama, Starkville, Mississippi, Petersburg, Virginia, Gary, Indiana, Jacksonville, Arkansas, East Point, Georgia, Texarkana, Arkansas, Sumter South Carolina, Florence, South Carolina, Isla Vista, California, West Memphis, Arkansas, Camden, New Jersey, Wasco, California, Albany Georgia, Pine Bluff Arkansas, Greenville, Mississippi, Alexandria, Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana, and Bessemer, Alabama.

The said its methodology was to compare “1,321 cities across five key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Health, 3) Education & Health, 4) Quality of Life and 5) Safety.”

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The population had to be between 25,000 and 100,000. Cities that were part of a larger metro area were considered in their own right, not as part of a larger area.

The ratings included 45 metrics across those five dimensions and weighted those metrics depending on how WalletHub ranked their importance. For example, crime rates were worth 5 points; commute time 1.25 points.

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The site also posted rankings of how various communities fared in specific areas. Southlake Texas, was rated at the top in housing costs, while Beverly Hills was dead last.

West Islip, New York, was first in homeownership rates, while West Hollywood was last. In the vital statistic of restaurants per capita, Key West, Florida, was on top; Goodyear, Arizona, at the bottom.



Victoria Morckel, a senior teaching specialist at the School of Planning, Design and Construction at Michigan State University said there are plusses and drawbacks in small cities.

“The cost of living tends to be lower in a small city compared to a large city. Likewise, there may be greater opportunities to own a home and have discretionary income when living in a smaller place,” she said

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“It may also be easier to build strong relationships with neighbors, local business owners, and community members. Small cities typically have less traffic congestion and less crowded public spaces as well.”

“However, small cities may have fewer amenities, cultural attractions, entertainment options, and restaurants compared to large urban centers. One may need to drive a significant distance to access specialized services, such as healthcare specialists,” she said.

Lists, of course, are easy to produce in a world of computers that chomp data. The website SmartAsset.com produced its rating of the most liveable cities. Washington state topped that list with three communities while Michigan had two.

In order, the top 10 were: Redmond, Washington, Sammamish, Washington, Novi, Michigan, Newton, Massachusetts, Arlington Heights, Illinois, Palo Alto, California, Kirkland, Washington, Farmington Hills, Michigan, Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Queen Creek, Arizona.

The bottom 10 were: Pasco, Washington, Gastonia, North Carolina, Longview, Texas, Victoria, Texas, San Marcos, Texas, Palm Coast, Florida, Greenville, North Carolina, Albany, Georgia, Merced, California, and Madera, California.

SmartAsset compared 275 cities using a variety of data points from housing affordability to the number of bars in a community.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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