Top 10 Best Places To Live In The US

If your priorities are in line with that of Money magazine and are looking to move, you’ll be glad to know that they have once again put together a list of the best places to call home in all of these United States. This year, Money set out to find “small towns across the country-those with populations of 8,500 to 50,000-where jobs are available, crime is low, schools are top-notch and housing is affordable.” Sounds dreamy. The top 10 inside.

Money’s Top 10 Best Places To Live In the US:

  • Louisville, Colorado
  • Chanhassen, MN
  • Papillion, NE
  • Middleton, WI
  • Milton, MA
  • Warren, NJ
  • Keller, TX
  • Peachtree City, Georgia
  • Lake St. Louis, MO
  • Mukilteo, WA

And for those shallow readers out there who are just looking for a rich single person to glom onto, check out Money’s slide show of the best places to find rich singles.

Best Home Deals In The Best Places To Live [Money]

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  1. 2DaysTillTheState_GitEmSteveDave says:

    My area was 11th about two years ago. That’s a great thing. You’re almost top ten, but you don’t have to deal with the snobbery/prices of being a top ten.

    It’s a pain as people don’t recognize you, like the last few years when I’ve been listed as the #104th Hottest Man in America by People Magazine.

  2. justinph says:

    I don’t know about the rest of the places on the list, but Chanhassen, MN and Middleton, WI are the very definition of suburbia; aka nearly everything that’s wrong with America. If you want to live in a cookie-cutter McMansion and drive everywhere, I guess they’re good places to live.

    • plutonyum says:

      @justinph: Yeah, which is why Cary, NC and Apex, NC are almost always on these lists. If McMansions and strip malls are the “best places to live” then I don’t want what’s best.

      • K-Bo says:

        @plutonyum: I agree with you, but I also have to defend the outskirts of Apex. For now, I love living there, it still feels very out in the country. 5 years from now when the strip malls take over, I’ll probably hate it.

        • plutonyum says:

          @K-Bo: We’re in the same boat. My address is Raleigh but my neighbors have a yard full of chickens.

          • K-Bo says:

            @plutonyum: That is often listed on these surveys of best places to live as one of the plus points (well for Apex at least), the “small town feel” and “sense of community” combined with short drives to the amenities of cities. Unfortunately, people just don’t comprehend that, so now they have approved a HUGE new retailresidential complex in Apex. 8000 condos/houses and a ton of stores. It will double Apex’s tax base. It will also probably drive out quite a few of us who love Apex for what it is, because that small town sense of community will be gone.

            • baquwards says:

              @K-Bo: That is exactly why we recently bought in an established Raleigh neighborhood that was here long before the boom. No we didn’t get a brand new house with brand new everything but we have a neighborhood where there are larger house lots and townhomes are not butted up against each other so that you are looking in a neighbors windows while having a cook out, and there is no room for anymore strip malls.

          • JulesNoctambule says:

            @plutonyum: We live inside the Beltline of Raleigh and our neighbours also have chickens. Someone else keeps bees, too! Of course, we tore up all the grass in our front yard and turned it into a garden; our neighbourhood is just like that.

    • jamesdenver says:

      @justinph:

      As is Louisville, Colorado. At one point it was a nice small town between Denver and Boulder, but now it’s been swallowed up by sprawl and big boxes.

      Not on my list either…

      • spanky says:

        @jamesdenver: Exactly. There are certain things about the area in general that are nice–mostly the climate and proximity to Denver and Boulder–but Louisville is really not much different from any of the other similar suburbs in the area.

        I live in walking/biking distance to Louisville, but I don’t think I’ve been there in past five years, just because there’s really nothing that interesting or compelling there.

    • balthisar says:

      @justinph: Your “very definition” of suburbia is wrong. While I don’t want strip malls or McMansions, I’m a very, very proud suburbanite with a better quality of live than any city or country dweller.

      • balthisar says:

        @balthisar: But yet, I’m not so proud as to be unwilling to recognize an obvious spelling mistake. *life

      • Brandi Hendrix says:

        @balthisar: well, the “quality of life” definition is dependent on who you are and what it is exactly that you value.
        I live in the center of Downtown Houston (not on the list), but I think I have an excellent quality of life without having to live in generic homes next to generic businesses. I live within walking distance to several parks and museums, small restauraunts (and chains, too). I can hop on public transporatation when I walk outside my door, and my apartment is in an older area with lots of charm and detail. Yes, I pay a little more for my apartment in the center of the city than I would in the suburbs, but the cost is worth it to me. To you, it may not be.

        • Lupus_Yonderboy says:

          @Brandi Hendrix: Thank you-I currently have a great “Quality Of Life” living in NYC. I walk approximately 2 minutes to a bodega, 5 minutes to excellent public transit, 7 minutes to a real grocery store/more restaurants than you can shake a stick at (Indian, Japanese, Thai, Greek, Mexican, American-your stick shaking results may vary)/small locally owned shops, 10-15 minutes to different grocery stores (when I want a change of pace)/chain stores (if I want them)/other public transit, and 20 minutes to my job (yes, my *job* is a twenty minute walk from my house…or if I’m lazy I take the train and get there in ten minutes).

          Honestly, that’s the kind of quality that I look for in my life-not having a back yard that I never use and having to drive for a half an hour to get toilet paper.

        • veronykah says:

          @Brandi Hendrix: Thank you. I live in Hollywood, walking distance to the Walk of Fame and all that and think I have an excellent quality of life as well.
          Anything I could want, save the beach, is walking distance from my apt. There is a fantastic 160 acre park with views of all of LA 10 minutes from my apt along with 2 other parks within walking distance, my jobs are all within 2 miles, I can ride public transport easily, farmers markets on the weekends, beautiful weather year round, great library, parking AND a rooftop pool what more could I ask for?
          But SHHH! I live in LA and everyone knows LA sucks.

        • verdantpine says:

          @Brandi Hendrix: The trick is, however, that you are living in an apartment. Presumably a lot of the people reading the Money list are looking to buy homes, not renting apartments.

          I’m in your neck of the woods and I like Houston city proper. I wish I could live there. Unfortunately, I would not be able to buy a house for $112,000 like I did here in the greater NASA area, which is close to amenities, including Armand Bayou, UHCL, community theatre, ethnic restaurants, and so on, has sidewalks, good schools, is safe, and has a good standard of living. Yes, I live in an older suburb.

          And by the way, my suburb is well-integrated, almost proportional to the city itself. Older suburbs are not all lily white (someone else suggested that old saw up thread…). I’m happy also that my neighbors can own a home off one income, including from a blue collar job. One of my neighbors is a teacher who is making the most she’s ever made, $40,000, another works on the oil fields, and several of the rest are cops or small business owners. We’re pretty much the quiet neighborhood recommended in “The Millionaire Next Door”.

          If I wanted to buy something, say, in the West University or Heights area, which shares some of the same amenities, minimum, I’d be paying more than double for a house the same size, same number of bedrooms. I checked [www.HAR.com] and the houses start at $275,000 for a 2 br and up.

      • tbax929 says:

        @balthisar:
        That’s a pretty bold statement. As others’ comments have noted, a lot of people are very content with their quality of life and don’t need to live in suburbia to find bliss.

        If I had kids, I’d probably move out of the city, but I’m not having kids, and I happen to like being near everything.

    • Chris Horst says:

      @justinph: The older section of Middleton isn’t too bad, but most of the newer construction is rather cookie cutter.

      I think my favorite aspect is how most people in Middleton wouldn’t live in Madison under any circumstance, but they’re perfectly happy to take advantage of anything Madison has to offer (festivals, dining, lakes, etc).

      Having lived near Louisville (Denver) and Papillion (Omaha/Lincoln), the story is much the same there.

      • joe18521 says:

        @Chris Horst:

        I don’t understand how Middleton is even considered its own town. It’s a suburb of Madison, without which, Middleton basically would not be able to sustain itself economically or culturally, much less make any sort of best list.

    • kexline says:

      @winshape: Well, compared to the intown neighborhoods it probably does — plus, people who live there probably don’t go to the front door first thing every morning to see if they still own a car.

      Don’t get me wrong, I dislike PC intensely. But with what’s happening in formerly safe intown neighborhoods that are STILL running near $450k for a 2br, I’m starting to think there’s something to be said for darkest suburbia.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      @justinph: Ditto for Papillion.

      Living in a boring suburb of boring Omaha is my idea of hell.

      Some of these places seem to tick all the boxes: no public transit to speak of, cookie-cutter suburbia, and oh yeah.. super white.

      • HRHKingFridayXX says:

        @veg-o-matic: Well, you could move to a major metro area with public transit, but good luck finding affordable housing that is close to said transit. From my experiences in NY and DC, most of the places I could afford are nowhere near public transit. And the places I can afford? Townhouses and fixer uppers, mostly. Pick your poison, I guess.

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @justinph: Or if you want available jobs, low crime, top-notch schools and housing is affordable…

      I served my time in the burbs and won’t be going back; still I can see their draw. If I had kids, under no circumstances would I send them to the unaccredited schools in Kansas City.

    • sponica says:

      @justinph: i think that’s the definition of new suburbia AKA sprawl…those of us in older suburbs don’t have that tendency. Older suburbs do have character and while yes there are some cookie cutter developments, a rural suburb is more likely to have a variety of home styles but you still have to leave town to get anything other than food. Personally I like that I rarely have to leave the semi-rural (in the sense a lot of the places are old farmhouses thrown in with a lot of new cookie cutter developments) suburb of Merrimack NH but I must drive up and down Route 3 because of the anti sidewalk beliefs of northern new england….

  3. jeffjohnvol says:

    Sure as heck isn’t Louisville, KENTUCKY. The government(s) charge you almost 9% income tax between state and city taxes. People are very nice, but the area is tax hungry. And 6% sales tax. You would think we’re in the northeast with these taxes. Electricity is cheap though.

    • utensil42 says:

      @jeffjohnvol: As a Californian, I scoff at your 6% sales tax. I wish we had only 6% sales tax.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @utensil42:

        I would move back there in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the high taxes. My best place to live is there, not in Bumblefug Missouri.

    • KingPsyz says:

      @jeffjohnvol:
      Only 6%? Hell we just got jumped to 8.1% here in Vegas…

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @jeffjohnvol: Hehe, I live in Taxachusetts. Be very, very glad you’re not here in the northeast :)

      • SJActress says:

        @GuinevereRucker:

        I scoff at all your sales taxes; mine are 8.75%.

        No state taxes, though.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          @SJActress: New York, right? BTW, the income tax rate is 6.875% in NY. And vehicle registration is a flat $18/year, no matter what ridiculously expensive thing you drive. People from Dixie (yes, KY qualifies) who talk trash about what Northeasterners pay in taxes should do some comparisons of the whole picture. It ain’t as bad here as people would lead you to believe.

    • Bryan Fernandez says:

      @jeffjohnvol:

      9.75% sales tax in Los Angeles County. 10+% in SF County. The state raised the tax to raise revenues, but the revenue is almost $2 billion short than forecasted. 1. Raise taxes. 2.???? 3. Profit.

    • misslisa says:

      @jeffjohnvol: I see you folks scoffing at him but Jeff’s right: It’s not just the sales tax, it’s the multiple city, state, county & municipality property taxes and employment taxes, on top of the fact that jobs in Louisville pay half of what they should, that make it a non-place to live. I miss Louisville but I just can’t afford to live there.

    • RStui says:

      @jeffjohnvol: Sales tax where I’m at is between 8-10%, depending on your county; state income taxes are about 18% (for my bracket) but property taxes are about 1% in my county. All in all, it’s not so bad, but you bet I go to lower tax counties to buy big-ticket items.

  4. FoxCMK says:

    New Jersey? You couldn’t pay me to live in New Jersey.

    • Nakko says:

      @cmkennedy: Once had to stay in a Manalapan, NJ Days Inn for two solid months.

      Visible shudder.

    • craptastico says:

      @cmkennedy: it’s the most densely populated state in NJ, so obviously a lot of people disagree with you

    • Smd75 says:

      @cmkennedy:
      Fry: “Ok, so this place perfect, whats the catch?”
      Realtor: “Nothing, although technically we are located in New Jersey”
      Fry: “Not one habitable place…!”

    • danno5-0 says:

      @cmkennedy: Amen brother! New Jersey people are some, if not the most, ignorant people in the world. On top of that, they cannot seem to keep their dimwitted ideas to them selves and their mouths shut! That New Jersey accent drives me nuts–stupid people with a little bit of money–a terrible combination! New Yorkers are a very close second–go figure.

    • Skankingmike says:

      @cmkennedy: Good we don’t want you either.

      @danno5-0: lol yes because we’re all fabulously wealthy and have accents. Sounds like you’re the ignorant one.

      Please stay away from my state too.

      • dblumgart says:

        @Skankingmike: Will do! I can’t stand the stench coming off the NJ Turnpike anyway–it’s kind of a metaphor of the entire state, less any decent people that happened to be trapped there.

    • Geekmom says:

      @cmkennedy: I lived in NJ once for three years. Worst place I ever lived in my life! There’s more jerks per capita there then any other place I’ve been!

    • jake.valentine says:

      @FoxCMK: “New Jersey? You couldn’t pay me to live in New Jersey.

      I’m with you on that one and I grew up there. People don’t intentionally relocate to Jersey unless you have family roots there and even then, they still try to avoid the state at all costs.

    • Bs Baldwin says:

      @FoxCMK: Sounds like a New Yorker. Jersey has high taxes but more than half goes to the nation’s best schools. With the Abbott School Decision finally being overturned, school taxes will stabilize. When NJ passes the double dipping law, taxes will come down. The old guard is getting the boot, it is about time.

  5. wenhaver says:

    There are jobs in Middleton, WI? Really. And housing is cheap? Huh.

    Live in Madison, WI (Middleton is a ‘burb) for 12 years, and was chased out by high housing prices, high state income taxes, and the inability to get a job anywhere. Now I live between Austin and San Antonio, making the most money I have ever made in my life, in twice the house I could have afforded in Madison/Middleton.

    I guess what I’m saying is – do more research and don’t pack your bags quite yet. This makes me roll my eyes so hard I think they’re stuck in the back of my head.

    • spoco says:

      @wenhaver: Ah San Marcos, a great little town that gets no love because of its two big neighbors.

    • Matt Singerman says:

      I have been to the miserable stretch of stripmall-infested hell that is the I35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin, and the amount of house you can purchase in no way makes up for the fact that you still wake up in an asphalt-and-concrete wasteland every day. At lease you can console yourself by knowing that at least it isn’t DFW.

    • RStui says:

      @wenhaver: I was in San Angelo for 6 years–I will never go back to the TS Plains for the rest of my life.

      Never has an environment sapped so much out of so many for so long. Also, the water is literally undrinkable. You can’t even use it for your fish tank. It is Brown.

    • joe18521 says:

      @wenhaver:

      The housing in Madison(including Middleton) is insanely expensive for a small town. (Many locals get offended when I call Madison a small town, but please stop kidding ourselves. 200,000 people = small town.) Even Milwaukee has much cheaper everything.

      • chocolate1234 says:

        @joe18521:
        200,000 = mid-sized city, not small town. I grew up in a small town. Trust me!

        • Lupus_Yonderboy says:

          @chocolate1234: Yeah, a lot of people are coming from the perspective of NYC (8 Million) = Large City (which it definitely does), but if you look at the rest of the country it’s not really like that-we only have (9) cites of 1 million or more, and of the top 100 population-wise, 40% are under 300 thousand. 200 thousand people wouldn’t quite put you in the top 100 category, but it would get you close, and if you had a decent college it would probably put you over the top when it was in session.

          I, too, grew up in a small town (10,000 people when I lived there, probably less now).

  6. Robert Jason Cervantes says:

    Why is any town in NJ on this list? The state is is shambles and the middle class is leaving at record pace. It’s feast for the poor and the rich and famine for the middle class. What a horrible state. Cant’ wait to leave when my job moves.

    • antimir says:

      @Robert Jason Cervantes:

      really? a FEAST for the poor as well?
      really? because, see, i’m poor… and i’m not exactly feasting anywhere, on anything. (yes, i’m really poor. my income doesn’t even qualify me for lower-middle-class.)

      a feast for the nouveau-riche, certainly, but definitely not us poor folks for whom there are no jobs or this so-called “affordable” housing.
      plus some of the nation’s highest insurance rates. and taxes that make my mind melt.

      it’s really quite beautiful where i live (which is also where i grew up), but i’ve watched it transform from a tranquil, rural, farming township, to a township filled with mcmansions and the range-rover-driving, black AMEX-wielding jerks that inhabit them.

      i’ll be leaving, too, not because i dislike the state, but rather because i dislike the types it’s opened its doors to, and the sorts of legislation they’re able to pull in with them.

    • econobiker says:

      @Robert Jason Cervantes:

      I do not see how Warren, NJ or any place in NJ other than down in the deep Pine Barrens has “affordable housing” even after the market took it’s dive.

    • jake.valentine says:

      @Robert Jason Cervantes: “Why is any town in NJ on this list?”

      I was wondering the same thing! I left after graduating from Rowan in the 90s and couldn’t EVER imagine moving back. I have never met anybody who wasn’t from Jersey that wanted to go there. If I am going to live in a high cost of living state I might as well choose California or Hawaii and get the good weather to go with it.

  7. winshape says:

    peachtree city has affordable housing?

    The downside of being in the top ten is that everyone decides to move there and screw everything up. I live in a former top ten, and 6 years ago there wasn’t any traffic, the beaches had free or cheap parking, and houses were affordable.

    • spoco says:

      @winshape: I live in a former top 10. Its a haven of pretention.

    • acknight says:

      @winshape: I just love looking through their list of cheap home “bargains”, at least one of which even now is listed at >$1M.

    • Kelly says:

      @winshape: Peachtree City was ranked 8 in 2005, then 64 in 2007, now back to 8. I’ve wondered if such an influx of people after its first emergence on the list lead to a decline in Money’s evaluation of “quality of life” or even more quantitative economic values. Then, after the recession “weeded out” all of the seemingly “inadequate” citizens, PTC could rise like the phoenix from the proverbial ashes. But yes, whenever I return to PTC to see my parents, I notice similar changes of which you speak.

  8. rpm773 says:

    Wow! None of 2008’s Top 10 made the list this year!

    Money Magazine. Phhhht.

    • spanky says:

      @rpm773: The lists are for different sized cities every year, according to population. So the cities from last year were categorized as ‘small cities,’ and this year’s are ‘small towns.’

  9. Ilovemygeek says:

    I never understood how they came up with these. I live in one of the 10 best places of either 2007 or 2006 and I remember being surprised b/c honestly, I kinda think my town sucks.

    • spoco says:

      @Ilovemygeek: Convention and Vistors Bureaus basically submit portfolios. I could make downtown Detroit look amazing using Photoshop and putting it in a nice folder for them.

    • K-Bo says:

      @Ilovemygeek: It depends on your criteria. They tend to look for lots of jobs and reasonably price housing first. It can be the most boring place on earth and still make the list because entertainment/non-financial stuff is looked at last.

  10. humphrmi says:

    Unless I’m misreading the linked article, this seems to be about one house in each market that is a great deal. For instance, Middleton:

    “Roomy and sitting on a rise above this bucolic suburb of Madison, this contemporary design has a two-story great room that’s infused with light, thanks to its multiple windows and open floor plan.”

    This is about one house for sale in Middleton for $799,000 (down from 989,000) and the article doesn’t say anything about the economy, jobs, quality of living in the city, expenses, etc.

    • spanky says:

      @humphrmi: Click on “Full List: Top 100″ for the main link to the story. It’s all broken up into parts to increase hit counts.

      • humphrmi says:

        @spanky: Heh, that’s silly, why not just include the link to that article?

        Anyway, yeah… Mukilteo, WA. Great choice, if you want to live in your car. Sure, you can afford a nice house. And if you work in those high-tech businesses they talk about, you have to drive half your life to get there.

        I love Google Maps shows Mukilteo to Redmond via 525 and I-405 in 28 minutes. HAH! Maybe at midnight…

  11. Haggie1 says:

    I’ll take a higher cost of living, higher crime rates, and under-funded schools over the monotony and homogeneity of a suburb any day.

    Driving an SUV to the mall to shop at a big box retailer and then have dinner at a chain restaurant is NOT quality of life. Veal calves have more interesting lives than suburb dwellers…

  12. Baccus83 says:

    I really wish the sprawl would stop. I spent all of my formative years in the suburbs and now that I live in Chicago, I can’t imagine going back. I would dread living in any town where you’re beholden to the local Target / Applebees / Kroger.

    I know people, it’s the schools. They’re so much better. And I will admit I went to a great high-school. But I also remember that there was nothing to DO in the suburbs. My friends and I had to drive everywhere, and the only places to eat were chain fast-food restaurants. No wonder we were all overweight.

    There’s such a richness of experience in the cities, so many more things to do. But then again, there’s also crime…

    Sorry – I’m sure there are plenty of nice and pretty suburbs out there that aren’t as oppressive as the one I grew up in. But from my experience, I have to say I wish more people would consider living in the the urbs.

    • Taelech says:

      @Gene Gemperline: Or go all out and go rural. TONS of things to do out in the woods, and no target or wal-mart! When you need stuff take the truck into town and bout a few weeks supply of stuff. Great living.

    • enm4r says:

      @Gene Gemperline: It’s not just the schools, it’s the affordable housing. I’ve lived in Chicago for some time and am making the move shortly to the burbs. Daily life wont change too much, I’ll go from 40 minutes on the Brown line to 50 minutes on the Metra. I’ll still walk to/from the train station.

      I won’t have the places to eat or be able to walk to the supermarket anymore, but I’ll have 4x the space and a yard for my dog.

      As far as things to do, I’m not sure growing up what you’d have to do in the city that you didn’t have in the burbs. Seems like no matter where people live they complain there was nothing to do in high school. I guess it’s what you make of it…

    • RStui says:

      @Gene Gemperline: I agree, but on the other side of the fence. Give me a real Rural town, and I’m a happy camper. How often do you REALLY go to a Broadway show? Yeah…about as often as I could, driving into the city.

      But I’m drinking filtered well water, surrounded by acreage that is MINE, only going “into town” when it’s necessary, and I don’t have to deal with drugs, car accidents, crime, pollution, OR the over-zealous laws and police that go with them.

      Last night we had a bonfire and lit off fireworks. Can you do that in your city apartment? I’m going to have a garden big enough to feed 4 next summer. I have enough pasture to ride a motorcycle around for hours.

      It’s all in your priorities, and if you love people and noise and the city life, that’s for you. I love quiet and seclusion and the knowledge that I can bust off a few rounds in my backyard whenever I want and no one will call the cops.

      • Lupus_Yonderboy says:

        @RStui: Honestly, for me it’s either one or the other-I want to either live in a really large city (currently NYC) or like you, in a very rural area. My parents live in the mountains of Virginia, on 70 acres in the woods, and it’s awesome there. You can go shoot guns off the back porch while shooting off fireworks and the only people around to complain are the Amish.

        I never want to live in the suburbs, though. Seems to be all the worst bits (even less privacy than either the City or the Country because of nosy neighbors-in the Country they aren’t there, and in the City they don’t care what you do; you can’t get anything but chain-store food, rather than the millions of options in a city or the “down home” restaurants of more rural areas) with few benefits to weigh them out.

  13. flyingember says:

    Lake St Louis, MO? I’ve been through there.

    basically the extreme western end of St Louis and largely homes. You have to drive to almost any job you can find. Work downtown? You’re an hour out. And homes? Remember, the name begins with a lake. That means expensive homes.

    They missed on this one. There’s no crime because it’s far away from anything and schools are good because all the property taxes are high.

    And because it’s way out there’s not much to do. You lose the reason to live in St Louis, the parks, attractions, etc.

    So if you want to live in a boring suburban community with perfect manicured lawns right up to a lake it’s a great place to live. If you want activity, architecture, history and the like you will pick about any other town in the St Louis area

    • julieannie says:

      @flyingember: I think the only schools inside LSL are Montessori because they are between two cities with large districts. So naturally it makes their education look even better.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @flyingember:
      My mom lives in Arnold. It’s pretty good. There’s LOTS of shopping and you’re not that far from stuff. Anywhere you go around St. Louis you have to take the highway, but people actually let you go in front of them across lanes to get your exit, instead of barreling up alongside you as soon as you hit your signal. Shocked the hell out of me!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting. How could any towns like Warren, NJ or Louisville, CO, where the average house is WAY beyond the reach of most folks, be among the “best places to live.” Sure, best places if you’re a multi-millionaire. Oh well, I guess they don’t call it “Money” magazine for nothing! Sheesh.

    • econobiker says:

      @ToinetteAnaxagoras: Maybe affordable to Wall Street multi-millionaires who cashed out before 2006.

      There was an article in the Nashville paper about uber wealthy people downsizing from 10,000sqft+ homes to homes in the 4,000 to 5,000sqft sizes. The article quoted a real estate agent talking about how some NY folks loved the price vs. size of a huge 4,000sqft home being showed while most of TN Gold Coast (Williamson County) gentry looked down their noses at a “small” home like that…

    • Boulderite says:

      @ToinetteAnaxagoras:

      I’m surprised that Money magazine listed such expensive houses. Most houses in Louisville are not as expensive as the home they show. Many are in the mid $200’s to $350’s. Not that this is cheap. It is cheaper than Boulder where the homes are in the $500’s and up.

  15. NightElfMohawk says:

    KELLER???

    Dear lord, my sleepy little farm town of 16 years ago definitely is gone if it’s named one of the top 10 places to live. I wouldn’t move back there.

    But, on a side note, Go Indians – Blue & Gold Por Vida!

    • caknuck says:

      @NightElfMohawk:

      It’s grown up quite a bit. 377 heading towards Watauga has been big box retailed up the wazoo. The city is growing rapidly to the north and west with mcmansion-type developments. There’s a lot of $30,000 millionaires who move to Keller nowadays because they can’t afford a house in Southlake.

    • Wombatish says:

      @NightElfMohawk: It does, however, as the article points out, have -amazing- parks.

      And a pretty good, if mismanaged, school district!

      Oh noes, you know where I live(ed) now. Don’t come pull out all my plugs looking for cash :P

  16. j-o-h-n says:

    That list reads like 10 places I’d never consider.
    Here’s my suggestion:
    Pick a smallish city (50-100K) with a largish (15K+) college.
    * There’s plenty to do.
    * The density of educators insures good schools.
    * And good jobs.
    * Still small enough your kids can bike around town, and
    * Also likely decent public transit.
    And if you do it in flyover country you can add:
    * Low crime
    * Relatively Affordable

    • oneandone says:

      @j-o-h-n: I like your criteria. I want a place that is walkable & bike-able. I’d be happy putting up with the undergrads underfoot.

    • clickertrainer says:

      @j-o-h-n: Agreed! I can’t decide between Pullman, Washington (Washington St), and Columbia, Missouri (Mizzou). Columbia is like Berkeley in the middle of the country.

    • Danica Grannon says:

      @j-o-h-n: I agree. I go to Kent state in Ohio and I love Kent (the town it’s self), the schools are great and there is always tons to do. College towns like Kent would be an amazing place to have a family or retire to.

    • Erin Haliburton says:

      @j-o-h-n: Bellingham, WA. It’s lovely here.

    • intellivised says:

      @j-o-h-n: I got lucky and moved to Laramie, WY a 25K university town (35K in the fall…). It’s all the good things of Wyoming and I get the mountain views and a top rated outdoor enthusiast town. Everything is walkable or bikeable and if you really need to do ‘big city’ things Ft. Collins is an hour off, so is Cheyenne and Denver is two hours away. Winter is kind of brutal… but I found it kept me indoors and working on projects and not driving around spending money.

    • rorschachex says:

      @j-o-h-n: You just described Ithaca, NY. I went to college there, beautiful town (I really wouldn’t consider it a city, but the locals feel otherwise). Except from the snobby rich students, it’s a great place. You also have to love snow, and I mean REALLY love snow. Otherwise it’s frozen hell.
      I miss that place, though.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @j-o-h-n:

      Where I live fits all that except for the transit. The buses are a joke, there are no bike lanes and hardly any sidewalks. Which sucks because we get very extreme weather. Also, there are lots of jobs, but they are mostly crap $7.00 an hour ones with no benefits.

      Other than that, it’s not too bad. Prices are lower here. And we have a lot of trees, which makes it quite lovely in the fall. The ice storm didn’t kill all of them. :)

      • RandaPanda says:

        @HogwartsAlum: That’s one of the FEW things I appreciate about St. Louis. It’s hard enough for a hick like me to drive around, much less on 4-5 lanes going one way. Last time I drove in St. Louis, it was a far cry from when I drove in Wichita the week before, where people would just zip up next to you and sit there when you need to get over.

    • BlondeGrlz says:

      @j-o-h-n: Word on the college thing. The town I’m in now is slowly dying from a lack of cheap, high quality labor aka college students for bars/restaurants/shops. If they would turn that giant abandoned state owned property into a college or college extension it would make a WORLD of difference. I bet we could be on that list in 5 years.

    • thaShady says:

      These are@j-o-h-n: You, my friend, have never heard of Muncie, In.

    • Bs Baldwin says:

      @j-o-h-n: Well Newark DE kind of fits that bill except that schools in Del are hamstrung by superior court decisions and a lack of direction from the state.

  17. HIV 2 Elway says:

    I don’t know whats worse the “think about the children” mindset in the burbs or the city smug.

  18. I Love New Jersey says:

    I wouldn’t want to live in any of those places.

  19. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Why, yes, I AM super shallow. Thanks for thinking of me!

  20. Kelly says:

    I grew up in Peachtree City, and while I loved my childhood, I could not live there again until I’m retired and use my parents’ house as some sort of summer home. In the past twenty years, it has been subject to significant changes. What remains constant is: golf cart paths, an older and overwhelmingly white population, very conservative values, fondness of military and commercial airline pilots (sidenote: my father is a commercial pilot; I come from a military family). Despite this, I can say that I enjoy living in Manhattan and PTC almost equally (obviously for very different reasons). However, I think living there at my age would only inhibit any growth I may wish to see.

  21. Princess Leela says:

    Milton, Mass. is not so bad as suburbs go … relatively older development, not too many McMansions, very close to both Boston and its surrounding attractions (Cape Cod, other beaches, nature areas etc). Given everyone’s descriptions of other places on this list, it would get my vote.

  22. Trencher93 says:

    Kiplingers had a similar list recently. Very, very different. In fact, sort of bizarre. See if you can find it on the K’s web site.

  23. Skin Art Squared says:

    Sorry, but when I think of “Best” places to live, I’m thinking the opposite of that list. I lived on Maui for 6 years. I consider that a “best” place to live. But I suppose it depends on your priorities. And that’s the problem with lists like these. Schools and good jobs are not on my priority list. Warm sandy beaches are.

  24. Adrienne Willis says:

    sorry but i just have to put NYC as the greatest place to live. Sure the taxes are through the roof and making 100k a year means you are part of the working poor, its noisy, crowded and dirty but I cant give up my convenience, public transportation, crazy cool stuff happening around every corner and the grit of the city. I was born and raised here and will die here.

    • clickertrainer says:

      @Adrienne Willis: I’ve always thought the whole “I heart NY” campaign was a rather successful mind-control plot to convince the masses to be happy despite the living conditions. ;)

    • econobiker says:

      @Adrienne Willis: To each their own- some of us want to have space in our homes for a couch and easy chair that don’t double up as beds or dining tables.

      You can rent a small two bedroom apartment in the Nashville, TN region for anywhere of $599 to $1000+ a month and the high end is a very niceeeeeeee property…

      • Adrienne Willis says:

        @econobiker: you can also live wonderfully in Bay Ridge with a view to die for, a real kitchen, living room spacious bathroom and bed room for 1100 (including a doorman, elevator and garbage chute) What’s your point? Not everything has to be MANHATTAN. People get caught up on NYC is only Manhattan. There are plenty of beautiful places to live (especially in Brooklyn) where you don’t have to sacrifice space for a zip code.

        I am a NYC girl, born and bred, no ad campaign or anything else has caused me to stay rooted here. I could move, sure, but what else would I be giving up? I have lived other places where even though the apt is cheaper I now need a car, with insurance, payments, registration, maintenance, gas. You dont think that adds up? If I get into an accident or my car breaks down there is no viable public transportation to get me anywhere, so there goes the money I am saving just so I can get to work everyday.

        I want to go out late with my friends to a nice dinner I can do that (IN BROOKLYN NO LESS), try that in one of these “wonderful places to live”. I can travel 30 minutes and be at a beautiful beach where I can surf, walk on beautiful clean sand and swim in clean water (rockaway) and still have a glorious view of the skyline. I have an express bus outside my door which gets me to my office in lower manhattan in 20 minutes or if I want I could walk an extra block and take the train. I have yellow cabs, car services that I DONT have to share and ride all around town picking up fares. I have Chinese, Korean, Thai, Italian, Vietnamese, steak houses, bars, pubs, gyms…(I could keep going but you get the point) right outside my door, all within walking distance. Show me where you get that anyplace else?

        • clickertrainer says:

          @Adrienne Willis: Working this out: $2.25 per person per day? So, for a family of four that’s 2.225 * 4 * 350 (rounding off since you are bound to stay home sometime) = $3150 per year. That’s more than I spend to drive around.

          I’m glad you love your hometown. I love mine too!

          • Adrienne Willis says:

            @clickertrainer: during the school year children have student metro cards which allow them 3 swipes. You also have monthly and weekly unlimited metro cards which make the cost per trip cheaper than $2.25. Children under a certain height/age travel free. If you live on Staten Island the train is free as well as the ferry to Manhattan (and back to SI).

            The $2.25 was just used as an example of how inexpensive it is to see so much culture.

            I am not trying to change anyone’s mind on where to live, I am just pointing out that although NYC is expensive (never denied that it wasnt) it is still IMO the greatest place to live for what you get.

          • veronykah says:

            @clickertrainer: You really think driving is cheaper than taking the subway?
            I lived in NYC and now live in LA. People here love to tell me how expensive NYC is, then I blow their minds and tell them no actually LA is more expensive.
            When you factor the whole car thing in? Forget it. Cars are NOT cheap, gas, insurance, repairs?
            There is no way you are saving money over the subway, unless you don’t drive.

      • Adrienne Willis says:

        @econobiker: And what better place to raise your children than NYC where they are exposed to diversity and real world living. I would rather my kids know how to fend for themselves and be exposed to people of all types of cultures, ethnicities (sp?) and religions than grow up sheltered in the suburbs. My kids would have more to do than sit around drinking and doing drugs because there is only one town mall and one movie theater. Museums, outdoor movie viewings, botanical gardens, playgrounds, day camps.

        The world is at their fingertips at the cost of a $2.25 metrocard.

      • Adrienne Willis says:

        @econobiker: or I could move to North Carolina like my mom did when she retired from the NYPD to only be surrounded in a few years by New Yorkers that did the same thing. For that headache I would rather stay in NYC and deal with the nonsense than move someplace far away to get away from the nonsense to only have it follow me in droves.

  25. julieannie says:

    Of course people love Lake St. Louis. They never have to see a non-WASP unless they need landscaping done. I believe this is the fourth year in a row that a city in St. Charles County, Missouri has made the list.

    I’ve always lived here as has my husband and both of our families for a couple hundred years. However, I wouldn’t say this is a lovely place to live. There are no jobs, it’s an hour commute into the city, the food here is bland, there are abandoned homes and businesses everywhere and for a small town, it takes 30 minutes to get across because of poor city planning. The minute I can afford to move out of here, I will.

  26. Truthie says:

    I’m sorry but Warren, NJ is not a small town. It’s a suburb of NYC (with no real employment base of its own). Yet another pointless ranking designed to sell magazines.

  27. clickertrainer says:

    Mukilteo has some pretty pricey real estate, so I guess Money is assuming you have already made your million(s).

  28. jfpbookworm says:

    From the census:

    Louisville, CO: 92.5% white for county
    Chanhassen, MN: 95.0% white for county
    Papillion, NE: 91.6% white for county
    Middleton, WI: 88.9% white for county
    Milton, MA: 85.9% white for county
    Warren, NJ: 77.3% white for county
    Keller, TX: 93.7% white for city (2000)
    Peachtree City, Georgia: 87.7% white for city (2000)
    Lake St. Louis, MO: 92.6% white for county
    Mukilteo, WA: 84.9% white for county

    For comparison purposes: the U.S. as a whole is 80% white.

    • NightElfMohawk says:

      @jfpbookworm: Personal experience can confirm the Keller demographic.

      And despite the national blue ribbon high school, I was of the mindset at the time that there really wasn’t any serious need to pay attention in Spanish class while attending school there. Then I got outside the suburbs (and the very very racially separate area of DFW in general) and moved a bit closer to Mexico, and suddenly came to realize, “OH! So *that’s* why it would have been good for me not to sleep through those classes. Damn.”

      From what I’ve heard, there’s a touch more diversity in the Northeast Tarrant County area, generally speaking, but it’s nothing like most places I’ve lived since.

  29. Courteous_Gentleman says:

    I’ve got to agree with the crying foul about NJ even being on the list. While central-southern NJ is a beautiful area to live, as I’ve been here since I was born 24 years ago, the overcrowding, overtaxing, and excess of New Yorkers moving in to settle down have made it an unbearable place to try to get by.

    As soon as the wife and I have the money, it’s off to PA.

    • econobiker says:

      @Courteous_Gentleman: I abandoned NJ in July ’96 for TN. Left my snow shovel with relatives and pulled off that front license plate as soon as we were out of the state.

      Went from paying $500/month in a house upstairs small duplex in a sketchy part of town (Williamstown for any who care) to Chattanooga, TN and paying $625/month for a luxury apartment on the lake and later $525/month for an entire 3 bedroom house with carport. Got a refund on car insurance to boot upon moving out…

  30. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    I grew up in Suburbia. Now I live in New York City. The small town merchants that contribute to a neighborhood have long left the suburbs. They are still here – barely – in New York City. Frankly, I’ll take Vinno’s Meat Market (established 1910) over Best Buy anyday.@balthisar:

  31. Erin Haliburton says:

    Woah, it’s kind of crazy to see my hometown of Mukilteo on this list.

  32. Rob Oliver says:

    I liken this annual report from Money magazine as the “Top Ten Places Where you won’t find many minorities, or any other kind of diversity…”

  33. 89macrunner says:

    well looks like they forgot pittsburgh.

    the city is just about recession proof. Why do you think the g20 summit is there?

    houses are way cheaper per sq. ft in pittsburgh than any of the cities listed on that list.

    stupid cnn

  34. zandar says:

    Thank god our city’s been taken off of it. Maybe it will turn into a decent place to live again.

  35. Hybriddeathdealer says:

    You’ll notice only 2 of the top 10 are in ‘Right to Work’ (Right to Corruption) states. We can’t really count Texas, because they’re running their own little country down there. When the agenda for the other 21 ‘Right to Corruption’ states is to kill public education, supposedly to move it to the private sector. (Which by the way won’t work, there’s no money in education.) Killing Health & Welfare, killing Social Security and the like, how can a state, or county, or town possibly function with virtually no infrastructure. What would be a business, or family’s incentive to live in a place without any real help, or support. The answer is, there is none and it’s overdue for those supporting the no tax agenda, to figure this out. America, especially Californians, better see what is happening to America. Planned deconstruction of our country’s infrastructure is turning America into a 3rd world country. All thanks to the geniuses(?!) in the Texas think tanks. Enjoy!

  36. verdantpine says:

    Unfortunately jfpbookworm’s breakdown needs some refuting. While the US as a whole is 80% white, that does not take into account regional differences. For instance, I’ve lived in Minnesota and know that it is, compared to the rest of the nation, a very white place, outside the Twin Cities; ditto for Washington state, which is very white even in its cities. Let’s take a closer look at the same suburban places which are implied to be more white than the nation as a whole, looking more at the demographic breakdown of their states:

    Colorado: 89.9% white. Louisville’s home county is slightly more white than the state as a whole.
    Minnesota: 89.3% white. Chanhassen’s home county is more white than the state as a whole.
    Nebraska: 91.6% white. Papillion’s county is representative of the state as a whole.
    Wisconsin: 89.9% white. Middleton’s county is therefore pretty representative of the state as a whole.
    Massachusetts: 86.5% white. Milton’s county is close to the average demographics of the state as a whole.
    New Jersey: 76.3% white. So, Warren’s county is near the average demographic breakdown of the state, as a whole.
    Texas: 82.6% white. Keller is proportionally a very white place.
    Georgia: 65.6% Peachtree City is proportionally much more white than the state as a whole.
    Missouri: 85.1% white. Lake St. Louis’s county is proportionally a white place compared to the rest of the state.
    Washington: 84.6% white. So, Multikeo’s county is about average.

    These are all based on the 2007 census figures.
    ____________________
    From the census:

    Louisville, CO: 92.5% white for county
    Chanhassen, MN: 95.0% white for county
    Papillion, NE: 91.6% white for county
    Middleton, WI: 88.9% white for county
    Milton, MA: 85.9% white for county
    Warren, NJ: 77.3% white for county
    Keller, TX: 93.7% white for city (2000)
    Peachtree City, Georgia: 87.7% white for city (2000)
    Lake St. Louis, MO: 92.6% white for county
    Mukilteo, WA: 84.9% white for county

    For comparison purposes: the U.S. as a whole is 80% white.

  37. Landru says:

    Well, actually this is Landru’s spouse borrowing his laptop, but the comment box is open and I couldn’t resist: MUKILTEO WASHINGTON???? You know, there are some nice small towns around Seattle, but Mukilteo, an undifferentiated chunk of suburban vacuousness, sandwiched between an airfield and the largely inaccessible Puget Sound (high bluff + railroad tracks along the water), isn’t one of them. I suppose it’s got lots of trees, but trees, ummm, grow on trees around there. Was this article in the Onion edition of Money?

  38. ShariC says:

    All of the complaints about suburbia in the U.S. make me smile. Complaints about 9% combined tax rate seem like nothing when I pay 10% for city and ward taxes and 15% for national health insurance in Tokyo. Also, you don’t know how much you might appreciate a back yard and the option to let it go to waste until you’ve got two feet of concrete between you and a concrete wall (and 8 feet beyond that, another house).

    The suburban nightmares people are talking about sound like little slices of heaven to me.

  39. dblumgart says:

    New Jersey people are some, if not the most, ignorant people in the world. On top of that, they cannot seem to keep their dimwitted ideas to them selves and their mouths shut!
    That New Jersey accent drives me nuts–stupid people with a little bit of money–a terrible combination! New Yorkers are a very close second–go figure.
    The stench coming off the NJ Turnpike is enough to keep me away

    • Adrienne Willis says:

      @dblumgart: so I take it you dont like Jersey?

      As far as the New Yorker thing, you can go F yourself. NY’rs are a tough breed and apparently you couldn’t hack it which means you have to bash us. No sweat off my back, cant wait to see you when you come visit my city for all the excitement and fun things to do. Keep bringing that revenue into our town.

      • DeeKey says:

        @Adrienne Willis: Been to NYC and thought it was Hell On Earth. This post will get me bashed but it is only one persons honest opinion. It was dirty, no not just dirty, sewer filthy, smelly, garbage everywhere, and the people, just ugh. Never seen more desperate people being ignored and I’ve been to LA as well. Once you’ve seen the sights, its just so dreary….Kinda hard to have all that excitement and fun when you walk around feeling sorry for all the poor trying to survive there.
        I’ll take Chicago anyday.

  40. inadequatewife says:

    I live in St. Lawrence County, NY after growing up in a large suburb of a major city. I wouldn’t trade living here for anything. We don’t have any large cities, just small towns with populations in the 10,000 people range. Two towns have universities.

    Locally, my shopping options are limited to Walmart, Lowes and Walgreens. A 35 minute drive gets me to a Walmart Superstore, a Office Max, Sears and Penney’s. An hour drive gets me to a larger mall plus Target, Kohl’s etc. I don’t generally like Walmart’s ethics and killing off of small town merchants, but I don’t feel compelled to shop at Macy’s and Nordstrom anymore. UPS and FedEx deliver here, so I’m not exactly cut off from the rest of the shopping world.

    Locally, I’m stuck with Chinese food but an hour drive gets me across the border to Ottawa, Ontario and a huge wealth of diverse food including Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, plus all the shopping, museums, and cultural activities possible in a capital city.

    The air is clean, there is an abundance of vacation opportunities within a short drive.

    On the downside, it’s wickedly cold in the winter with too much snow (coming from a transplanted southerner who hasn’t adapted to cold temperatures after almost 20 years).

  41. savdavid says:

    Peachtree City? Puhleeeze. If you stay in this PLANNED community everything is fine. As soon as you go out the gates you are in the traffic and crime of Atlanta.

  42. wagnerism says:

    Papillion? My momma was born there. I thought I’d never hear the name of that city ever again.

  43. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    My husband likes the city. I like the woods.

    We live in a slightly dingy, but very friendly little suburb, in a big rambly cheap house with woods and a river in the backyard. Detroit and Ann Arbor are both about 30 minutes away. Our neighbors are multi-racial and very relaxed, and while it isn’t excitement central, we really have no complaints for now. It’s awesome for our kid.

    All I would change is the availability of a decent coffee shop, really. Maybe add a used bookstore or two. Oh, and not having to drive as much, but you can say that about all of Michigan (gee, can’t fathom why).

    Still, I’ve done “typical” suburbia and I hated it. People were nosy and shallow and mean, the houses were ugly, there weren’t enough trees or places to play, and city workers were all jerks. Our suburb beats all that, so at least until the kid’s grown up, I’ll take it!

    My dream place to live is actually downtown Detroit, if they cleaned it the hell up and put in a real park and some real transit. Pipe dream, I know. But it’s such an amazing city, and so devastated by corruption…*sigh* Okay, done babbling now. ;)

  44. Bs Baldwin says:

    Only 3 NJ towns and none of the usual South Jersey towns? Shame Money Magazine. We had 9 last year and 8 the year before.

  45. The-Joker says:

    personally, anywhere that is not in the midwest and conquered by caucasians is fine by me. Also, I want to be asleep at night not having to worry about a tornado destroying my house.

    im only 17 now but when i finish college i’ll be moving to japan. They have the complexity of an urban enviornment with the simplicity of a suburban environment. Not to mention everything built by the japanese government has to pass the aesthetics code. And the fastest internet without having to dig a high speed fiber optic line from a server to your house by yourself