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Best Cities for Quality of Life


Those who are content with their lives (or not) can usually pinpoint exactly why, and sometimes it comes down to the city they call home.

Many Americans attribute their level of personal happiness and fulfillment to their job, their bank account or their living situation, but what really makes us feel content?

Financial website NerdWallet analyzed 177 U.S. cities that had at least 150,000 residents to find out which fostered the best quality of life and why. Using data estimates from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, analysts looked at factors such as health insurance coverage, poverty levels, unemployment rates, work commute times, number of hours worked per week and percentage of income spent on housing.

After compiling data for all the cities, they determined the 10 that produced the best quality of life for residents.

So, what makes these cities so fulfilling? According to NerdWallet, there were a few key factors involved:

  • The top cities are not among the nation’s largest cities.
  • Fewer work hours does not necessarily mean better quality of life, and vice versa.
  • The top cities provided more financial opportunities and stability for residents.

Here are the top 10 best cities for quality of life.

10. Scottsdale, Arizona

Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent

Poverty Rate: 5.9 percent

Average Workweek: 39.9 hours

9. Des Moines, Iowa

Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

Poverty Rate: 12.6 percent

Average Workweek: 37.8 hours

8. Little Rock, Arkansas

Unemployment Rate: 4.0 percent

Poverty Rate: 11.8 percent

Average Workweek: 38.9 hours

7. Eugene, Oregon

Unemployment Rate: 7.5 percent

Poverty Rate: 10.3 percent

Average Workweek: 34.7 hours

6. Cary, North Carolina

Unemployment Rate: 3.9 percent

Poverty Rate: 3.0 percent

Average Workweek: 40.3 hours

5. Boise, Idaho

Unemployment Rate: 4.5 percent

Poverty Rate: 8.6 percent

Average Workweek: 38.1 hours

4. Overland Park, Kansas

Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent

Poverty Rate: 4.4 percent

Average Workweek: 39.5 hours

3. Lincoln, Nebraska

Unemployment Rate: 3.6 percent

Poverty Rate: 7.3 percent

Average Workweek: 37.5 hours

2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Unemployment Rate: 2.6 percent

Poverty Rate: 5.4 percent

Average Workweek: 39.7 hours

1. Madison Wisconsin

Unemployment Rate: 3.8 percent

Poverty Rate: 7.0 percent

Average Workweek: 37.0 hours

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