What Does “Livability” Mean? When people think “livability”, they often think of tropical climates like those making annual Hawaiian festivals doable. One city will amaze you, but others won’t think of it in that way. Some places are a lot more “livable” than others. What constitutes livability for you will likely differ from someone else. This writing is going to focus on community and cost-effectiveness of living in the city and here are 5 top cities in America.
For example, L.A. isn’t that livable—neither is much of California. Though the state has pristine mountains, wilderness, and beaches, the cost of living is so ridiculous that livability quotients go down substantially—even though weather is temperate year-round. San Francisco has some similar considerations—there are positive aspects, but there are things you should know.
Good weather and environment are fine, but the west coast is packed, and hobos travel the beaches like gypsies on the prowl. Livability in this writing will be considered in terms of community, costs, location, climate, reputation, and population. This list is not definitive, but you may find the listed communities here have much to offer you.
1. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Idaho has a reputation for being full of “doomsday” preparation enthusiasts. What people don’t realize is how beautiful, peaceful, and idyllic communities in this state can be. Boise usually wins the bid for Idaho in terms of livability, but that’s because many people just aren’t familiar with Coeur d’Alene.
Basically, the state tapers toward the north, and between Montana and Washington is a place called Coeur d’Alene, which is just gorgeous and has about 50,000 residents. It’s about twenty miles east of Spokane, Washington—another gorgeous city, though only in parts. Spokane has had a bit of an economic dip recently, and local state policies haven’t helped.
However, Coeur d’Alene is only about a fourth of the size of Spokane, meaning there are less cost and more community for the most part. The forests are clean, the air is clean, a traffic jam in Coeur d’Alene looks like a clear day in a big city, and property values are affordable. Plus there’s a strong sense of community and many different occupational opportunities.
Granted, it does get cold in the winter. But the summer is delightfully refreshing, and the sort of camping in Idaho is unparalleled in most of the country. It’s definitely a place worth checking out if you’re unfamiliar with the state—and many people just aren’t.
2. Fort Collins, Colorado
Hugging the base of the Rockies in Fort Collins, a pristine collegiate town of about 165,000 that has been steadily growing since the nineties. Fort Collins is sandwiched between several smaller communities like Loveland and Windsor. It’s an hour’s drive north of Denver, depending on traffic. Greeley is to the east, and to the southwest is Boulder.
For a long time, Fort Collins and Boulder competed for prominence, but Fort Collins has won the battle, or so it seems. Things are getting more expensive there, but everything is pretty close, and there are apartment communities which, though not central, are near enough to the city center to be ideal.
If you can buy a home in the right place, you may see its value double inside a decade—a near thirty-year population growth curve helps make this possible. The city has the technology, it’s got entertainment, it’s got college life, it’s got tourism, outdoor activities, hot summers, temperate springtime months, and only a few chilly weeks in the winter.
3. Miami Beach, Florida
Experienced professionals at House Heroes are experts at moving properties, and helping homeowners get the most for their homes. This group is centered in Miami for a reason: it’s not just one of the most livable places in Florida, it’s one of the most livable places in America, and when you think about it, the world at large.
First and foremost, let’s talk about eye-candy. Cancun and The Bahamas are nearby, and going to the Florida Keys is easy. The waters are lagoon blue, and the green tropical foliage of the region is quite refreshing. Yes, it gets hot and humid. But it seldom gets too cool, and the beach is always inviting.
On the human side of the eye-candy aisle is impressive architecture. Miami has a population of 463,000+ and has seen steady growth since 1990—though a trend on the increase started in 2010, and has continued its forward march. This means careful property investments have a likelihood of delivering returns.
Apart from the fine nightlife, beaches, eye-candy, and property value, there are cheap housing options for those looking to rent, food and drink is affordable, a continuously “fun” vibe permeates the area, and you haven’t got to lose an arm and a leg to see an entertaining show.
4. Tampa, Florida
The weather in Tampa averages 73 degrees. Owing to humidity, that feels a lot warmer, but it’s still cooler than many other regions in the state. Tampa is located on a bay on the west side of the state facing the Gulf of Mexico. While beaches aren’t quite so desirable as those in Miami, there are still some fine ones to consider that aren’t far from the city proper.
Cost of living is low in Tampa, and there’s much recreation potential between travel, beaches, sightseeing, nightlife, and other forms of entertainment. It’s a diverse local culture that is steeped in the arts. Fine dining permeates the city, and job creation is seeing a spike in hospitality and tech industries; key occupations for millennials today.
Homes average at around $187k. The same exact property in California would be near a million, in all likelihood, and be centered in some sub-par area of the city. Tampa gives the best life has to offer affordably, making it a very livable place for many people.
5. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis is half of the “Twin Cities”; which are Minneapolis/St. Paul. Essentially these two cities are one massive metropolis full of culture, entertainment, dining, affordable housing, and top-tier education. The Guthrie Theater is located at one of Minneapolis’ finest universities, and everyone is well-familiar with “A Prairie Home Companion”, and much of NPR.
Minneapolis is home to these things and more. Minnesota has many lakes and is quite humid during summer, with exceptionally hot periods. But in winter, it’s a frozen wonderland full of ice-skating opportunities and hockey players. The city is environmentally conscious, surrounded by agricultural land delivering fresh produce, and full of quality beer.
That said, it’s one of the country’s healthiest cities, and though it’s a northern community, exceptional diversity yet exists. In 2016 this state came in fourth in the “best of business” category, so there are many opportunities for lucrative employment. People move there and stay there. Currently, the population is 422,000+, and it’s seen slow but steady growth since 2010; as has St. Paul, which clocks in at 306,000+.
Finding The City That Fits You
Certainly, there’s New York, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Omaha, Houston, Austin, and many other cities big and small in the U.S. with high livability. Still, there’s a balance between cost, amenities, location, and population. The five cities in America listed here score high in these categories, and if you haven’t considered them, are worth a look.