By Livability.com, Special for USDR.
Livability.com has just released its inaugural Top 100 Best Small Towns list, an expanded edition of our annual Top 10 Small Towns index. These cities and towns allow for the tight-knit communities key to small-town living coupled with the amenities you’d expect in larger cities. More than 35 states are represented from coast to coast.
Our editors have broad experience studying and writing about the factors that make a town a great place to live and work. But this list is more science than art. We modified the methodology we developed with the Martin Prosperity Institute for our annual Livability Top 100 and tailored it to analyze smaller towns. The Institute, directed by Richard Florida, is part of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the leading think tank on the role of location, place, and city-regions in global economic prosperity.
“Affordability is becoming an increasing issue in our largest cities,” says Livability editor Matt Carmichael. “Quality smaller towns that offer great amenities at a more reasonable cost are a great alternative.”
More than 12,000 towns with populations between 1,000 and 20,000 were evaluated in this landmark study. We analyzed more than 40 data points that were then grouped into eight categories – ranging from demographics, real estate and health care to social and civic capital. The eight scores were weighted based on an exclusive survey conducted for Livability.com by Ipsos Public Affairs, a leading global market research firm. Respondents were asked what mattered most to them in their communities, and we used those results to determine the relative importance of each category.
“America was built on small towns. Regardless of whether these cities and towns are suburbs of major metros, or hamlets unto themselves, they have great character and are great places to live,” Carmichael says.
The top 100 best small towns are featured on Livability.com, along with our ranking data and methodology about the qualities and amenities that helped them make the list.