Looking for a change of scenery? Is your current city too expensive, isolated, or even boring?
If you're considering moving to a new area, then look no further. Livability.com, a division of Journal Communications, has released its third annual list of the Best Places to Live.
Livability surveyed 2,000 American adults about what qualities they believe are important in the communities in which they live and the ones to which they might one day consider moving. The company also pulled data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Affairs and Education, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Cities throughout the U.S. with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 were then ranked across eight categories: amenities, demographics, economy, education, health care, housing, social and civic capital, and transportation and infrastructure.
As a result, the cities on this list can be trusted to have respectable schools, low crime and high-quality amenities such as parks, natural and built environments, and arts and culture. These cities are also affordable; racially, ethnically and economically diverse; and conducive to residents' flexibility in choosing a hospital, school, park and manner of commuting.
Here are the 15 Best Places to Live in the U.S.:
15. Fargo, North Dakota
Median Household Income: $45,458
Median Home Price: $157,900
The largest city in North Dakota, Fargo is considered to be one of the best cities for job seekers and college grads. Residents can spend time in the museums, galleries and Art Deco theater palace, or explore the many restaurants and outdoor activities throughout the city.
14. Overland Park, Kansas
Median Household Income: $71,094
Median Home Price: $223,800
One of the best cities for families, Overland Park is considered one of the top places to live due to its low crime rate, various entertainment options and a stable economy. Residents can also take advantage of the city's indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, top-notch schools and great restaurants.
13. Fort Collins, Colorado
Median Household Income: $53,780
Median Home Price: $247,800
Fort Collins, one of the healthiest cities in the U.S., boasts award-winning schools, beautiful outdoor facilities, and a flourishing arts scene. Additionally, residents can visit any of the unique breweries, shops and restaurants located in the area.
12. San Mateo, California
Median Household Income: $85,669
Median Home Price: $710,700
San Mateo is one of the most diverse cities in Silicon Valley and is filled with parks, historic buildings and great restaurants. Sustainability is very important to the city leaders and residents, many of whom use local buses and the commuter rail service to get to work
11. Walnut Creek, California
Median Household Income: $81,593
Median Home Price: $585,000
Named one of the best foodie cities, with so many restaurants supported by local farmers markets, Walnut Creek also offers high-quality schools and various indoor and outdoor recreational activities. Residents are also very active in their community, especially in the political scene.
10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Median Household Income: $51,672
Median Home Price: $152,200
Throughout the year, residents of Sioux Falls can take advantage of the city's great schools, sporting events, live music, art shows, festivals and hundreds of restaurants. The city also boasts more than 70 parks and greenways and a 1.3 million-square-foot shopping center, in addition to beautiful views of the cascades of the Big Sioux River.
9. Iowa City, Iowa
Median Household Income: $41,410
Median Home Price: $180,900
The University of Iowa provides a number of opportunities for people to explore interesting classes and workshops, and the various different arts and entertainment options throughout Iowa City demonstrate the creativity of its residents. Iowa City is also known for its excellent health care and school district in addition to its great restaurants and shops.
8. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Median Household Income: $55,003
Median Home Price: $230,700
Named one of the best cities for liberals in 2014, Ann Arbor is also one of the best college towns in the country, thanks to the events and activities offered by the University of Michigan. Residents can also find countless ways to occupy their time in the city's restaurants, bookstores, art galleries, performance venues or one of the more than 150 parks throughout the area.
7. Bismarck, North Dakota
Median Household Income: $54,969
Median Home Price: $163,900
An affordable housing market and a strong healthcare system make Bismark one of the best places to live in the U.S. The city, which is located on the east bank of the Missouri River, also has over 80 miles of trails, multiple golf courses and a lively downtown area for residents to enjoy.
6. Palo Alto, California
Median Household Income: $121,465
Median Home Price: $1,000,000
Residents of Palo Alto are active in the community and local politics, and many work at one of the prominent technology companies in the area. The beautiful parks and open spaces throughout the city provide residents with great places to unwind.
5. Boulder, Colorado
Median Household Income: $56,312
Median Home Price: $489,400
Boulder, another one of the best cities for liberals, offers a strong support of local farms, a prominent arts scene, a wide-range of shopping options and unparalleled scenic views. Most residents are very active and spend their time hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing and skiing in and around the city.
4. Santa Barbara, California
Median Household Income: $65,034
Median Home Price: $832,100
The beautiful weather, beaches and mountain views of Santa Barbara are not only a major attraction not only for tourists but also for residents. The interesting culture, great health care, unique restaurants and top schools amplify the city's appeal.
3. Madison, Wisconsin
Median Household Income: $53,464
Median Home Price: $214,100
With one of the top rated health care systems in the country, Madison has been named one of the best places to live for the third year in a row and is also one of the top college towns in the U.S. The economy of the city is driven by its 33% minority population and high percentage of college-educated workers.
2. Bellevue, Washington
Median Household Income: $90,333
Median Home Price: $525,000
Throughout the year, residents of Bellevue can enjoy the beautiful parks, bike paths, museums, restaurants, and music venues. This city also has highly rated schools, famous festivals and fairs and a rising downtown area.
1. Rochester, Minnesota
Median Household Income: $62,575
Median Home Price: $163,700
According to Livability, the Best Place to Live in the United States is Rochester, due to the rapid growth in its schools, civil engagement and entertainment options. The city is home to the esteemed Mayo Clinic, which creates increased job opportunities and health care advantages.