The 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S.: Small & Midsize Cities


By the staff's 2016 list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live is based on amenities, health care, employment opportunities, housing and more

Most of us love our hometowns, but who really has bragging rights about the top places to live? And which small and midsize cities are worth a look for future job prospects and possible relocation?

Every city has its own unique charm, but when it comes to amenities, health care, employment opportunities, housing and more, some definitely stand out from the rest. has released its 2016 list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live. Their city rankings are based on months of research into the factors that most influence the livability of America’s small to midsized cities. More than 30 states are represented, from coast to coast.

“Each of these cities is a great place to live,” said Matt Carmichael, editor of “Not every city is perfect for everyone, of course, but these are the top 5 percent, and somewhere in the Top 100, you’ll find a great fit to call your best place.”

The top 10 on the most livable cities list for 2016 included:

1.    Rochester, Minnesota
2.    Bellevue, Washington
3.    Madison, Wisconsin
4.    Santa Barbara, California
5.    Boulder, Colorado
6.    Palo Alto, California
7.    Bismark, North Dakota
8.    Ann Arbor, Michigan
9.    Iowa City, Iowa
10.    Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Check out the full list of the top 100 cities from, and then find current nursing jobs in your favorite locations with

Why cities made, or didn’t make, the ‘most livable cities’ list

Does your hometown claim a spot on amongst the most livable cities

Researchers evaluated more than 2,100 cities, with populations between 20,000 and 350,000, and analyzed 40 data points that helped differentiate the best places to live. The scores were weighted based on a survey conducted for by research firm Ipsos Public Affairs. Respondents were asked about factors that make their communities better places to live, as well as the factors they would consider in selecting another city. Additional sources included the U.S. Census Bureau, Walk Score,, Esri, and other public and private sources.

The city rankings on’s list of the top places to live were based on scores in the following eight categories:
•    Amenities – These are the things that make living and visiting here fun: everything from parks to community events, recreational opportunities, sports venues, the arts, dining and more.
•    Demographics – How well does a community take care of all of its citizens--including the aging population and diverse racial and ethnic groups--and plan for future growth?
•    Economy – Cities with strong economies can invest in the things that make them more livable. Employment, affordability, city budgets and more were considered here.
•    Education – This factor looked at educational rankings and opportunities in K-12 schools and colleges, as well as the education level of the population.
•    Health care – The number of hospitals (and their ranking from Hospital Compare site), access to primary care providers, and health indicators like low birth weight and rate of obesity in the population were data points in this category.
•    Housing – Housing options and affordability were weighed here, along with the percentage of renters and owners, vacancy rates, the growth in home values and more.
•    Social and civic capital – In this category, researchers evaluated community factors ranging from crime rates to voter participation, volunteering and other measures of civic engagement.
•    Transportation and infrastructure – Yes, traffic has a direct correlation to the quality of life, including citizens’ physical and mental health; this aspect looks at public transportation, commuting and related factors.

For more details on how determined their city rankings and evaluated communities on these factors, visit their 100 Best Places to Live page.

Looking for a new place to call home? Search our list of current nursing jobs or sign up for job alerts to keep up with openings in your specialty and location of choice.

© 2016. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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