This list of America’s ‘most livable’ small towns only includes 2 in the Bay Area


According to a new report, only three California cities, including two in the Bay Area, are among the 50 most “liveable” small towns in the United States.

The 2022 analysis by financial technology company SmartAsset used data from the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure ‘liveability’ in 286 cities with between 65,000 and 100,000 residents – rankings that take into account the soaring cost of living and widening income gaps seen in many parts of the United States

The researchers used a number of metrics to measure livability in these cities, including housing affordability, housing costs as a percentage of median income, income inequality, poverty rates, unemployment rates , percentage of residents without health insurance, travel time and entertainment establishments.

Based on these factors, the analysis found that, overall, small towns in the Bay Area and California were not outstanding when it came to “liveability.”

Of the three California cities that made the top 50, the highest ranked was San Ramon in Contra Costa County at No. 40. Folsom in eastern Sacramento County was No. 43. Vacaville, in Solano County, was not 46.

One of the study’s key findings was that the Midwest had the highest density of “livable small towns” — a continuation of trends seen in last year’s analysis by SmartAsset.

According to the study, eight of the top 10 and all but six of the 25 “most livable small towns” were in Midwestern states.

The city that ranked first on livability in the United States was O’Fallon, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis that is home to 88,000 people. This too ranked first in 2021.

Only 4.6% of the city’s residents live below the poverty line, and its median home value is 2.54 times the median household income. According to the study, average housing costs in O’Fallon are 18% of median household income.

Small towns in Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, New York and Minnesota made the top 10 most livable cities.

Another key finding of the study was that small towns in Florida ranked poorly for livability — especially Miami Beach, which ranked last on the list.

Ten of the 20 least livable small towns were in Florida, according to the report.

Annie Vainshtein (her) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]

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