All the locations on Livability’s recent list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. have one thing in common: that indescribable quality you find when you cross small-town charm with the amenities of a big city.
At the heart of each of the locations that made the top 10—from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.—is a college campus. It makes sense, as in most college towns you’ll find varying demographics, a sustainable economy, thriving social and arts scenes, and, of course, educated people.
For 2018, Livability ranked nearly 2,300 cities on more than 40 data points measuring housing, amenities, education, economics, demographics, social and civic capital, infrastructure and healthcare, calculating a “LIV Score.” (Get a comprehensive breakdown of the methodology behind the score.) Here are the top 10:
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Iowa City, Iowa
Palo Alto, Calif.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
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