What were the top ten big cities in America to live in for 2006? Is your city on the list? How does one rate the best cities to live in? No doubt any list would be objective, but what were the top ten big cities in America to live in for 2006? One might wonder how someone would even rate cities. What criteria would one use?
Websites on the Internet do rate the best cities to live in. The creators of such sites make decisions based on a number of factors. They include average family income, cost of a home, the number of colleges in the city, the air quality, personal crime risk, the number of attractions, such as museums, movie theaters, ski resorts, and golf courses; the weather, and the local tax rates.
Realizing that any list is objective, and that any such article requires research and is based not on my opinion only, here is my list of the top ten big cities to live in America for 2006:
1. The top big city in America to live in is Colorado Springs, Colorado. Not only is that the opinion of the writer of an article on www.cnn.com, it is also my personal opinion, as one who lived in the city for about half my life. What makes Colorado Springs so great? I believe it is one of the most beautiful cities in America. Where else can you walk out your back door and see Pikes Peak? There is no where else where you can see the beautiful God-made huge red rock formations at the Garden of the Gods, see the beautiful colored waterfalls at night at Seven Falls, and the many other things to see for natives and tourists. The climate is mild, dry, and not humid, so that makes for cooler summers and warmer winters.
Research shows: a median family home price of $192,250, compared to $259,566 for other top cities; ten colleges and universities, compared to eight in the other top cities; four junior colleges and technical institutes, compared to zero; a median commute time of 18.5 minutes, compared to 20.8 minutes for other cities on the list; the percentage of the population with a commute of 45 minutes or longer is 7%, compared to 13.4%; ten ski resorts, within ten miles, compared with ten; four museums within 30 miles, compared with seven; a state high and low tax bracket of 4.63%, compared with 6.46% and 2.74%; the air quality index (the percentage of days rated as good) is 89.6%, compared to 71.9%, and auto insurance premiums are $2,194, compared to $2,207.There are 127 clear days, compared to 107, and the average annual precipitation is 17.4 inches, compared to 36 inches.
On a slightly more negative note, the personal crime risk is 101 (The average national average is 100, and lower is better), compared to 45; and the property crime risk is 134, compared to 74. Nevertheless, I believe Colorado Springs, with a population of 369,800 deserves its ranking on some websites as the best big city in America to live in.
2. On my list the second best big city in America to live in is Columbus, Ohio, with a population of 730,700. On some Internet sites, the city is number eight, but I will list it at two because there is so much to do in Columbus: the city has a variety of minor league professional sports teams and a major league NHL team; the city has an excellent zoo; an excellent orchestra; plays; the Center of Science and Industry, a museum where children and adults can learn and be entertained at the same time; and one of the best college football teams in the United States–the Ohio State Buckeyes.
While the state income tax rate for the highest bracket is higher in Columbus than for other top cities, for lower brackets it is only 0.71%, compared to 2.74%. Average auto insurance premiums for the state are also lower than in other top cities, at $1,806, compared to $2,207. The median home price is $188,987, compared to $259, 566. There are ten colleges and universities, compared to eight, and two junior colleges and technical universities, compared to zero.
3. On the list of the top big cities in America to live in for 2006, Austin, Texas comes next. How could a desirable city in a state without a state income tax not make the list? Another reason the city makes the list is the price of a family house, with the median price being $197, 871, compared to the much higher average of $259, 566 for other top cities. There are nine colleges and universities, compared to eight for other top cities and five junior colleges and technical universities, compared to zero. The air quality index is 78.6%, compared to 71.9%. There are 115 clear days every year, compared to 107. There is a higher percentage of restaurants in Austin, 2,429, within fifteen miles, compared to 2,268, and there are plenty of golf courses, theaters, and libraries. The city has 690,300 people.
4. On the list of the top big cities to live in America this year Meza, Arizona, comes in fourth. While not listed on the CNN website as a reason for the city being rated so high, how could some city in Arizona not make the list, because of the dry climate and mild winters in the state? The median home price is $199,000, compared to $259, 566. There are ten colleges and universities, compared to eight for other top cities and three junior colleges and technical universities, compared to zero. There are 3,089 restaurants within 15 miles, compared to 2,268. There are 25 movie theaters, compared to 22. There are five museums within 30 miles, 30 libraries within 30 miles, and one ski resort. The annual precipitation is only 9.23 inches, compared to 36 inches. There are 211 clear days, compared to only 107. The average low temperature in January is only 41.5 degrees, compared to 23.5 degrees. The city has 442,800 people.
5. The fifth best big American City to live in is Raleigh, North Carolina, with a population of 341,500. One reason for the ranking is job growth. Jobs increased a healthy 10.82% from 2000-2005. The median home price is $203,012, compared to $259,566. The median commute time is 19.3 minutes, compared to 20.8 minutes. Only 8.3% of the population has a commute of at least 45 minutes, while the average for top cities is 13.4%.
6. Number six is San Diego, California, with a population of 1,255,500. California is known for its mild climate, so one might expect to find a city in California on the list. The state income tax rate, although it is higher for other cities for those in the higher bracket, is 1% for those in the lower bracket, compared to 2.74%. Homes cost more in California, $493,000, compared to $259,566, but some people pay the price, because they love the area and the climate. There are 19 colleges and universities, compared to eight, and 10 junior colleges and technical schools, compared to zero. There are 30 movie theaters within 15 miles, compared to 22; 4,832 restaurants, compared to 2,268; 71 public golf courses, compared to 74; and 10 museums, compared to 7.
7. On the list of the top big American cities to live in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with a population of 438,400, comes in seventh. The median home price is $220,000, compared to $259,566. If, on the other hand, you want to make money in real estate, consider Virginia Beach. The average home price gain from 2000-2005 is 20.9%, compared to 9.26%. There are eight colleges and universities and two junior colleges. The air quality index is 72.4%, compared to 71.9%.
8. The next city on the list of the best big American cities to live in for 2006 was Omaha, Nebraska, with a population of 414,500. It is no wonder the city made the Internet list, when one considers the median home price is only $115,000. If you want to buy a home in Omaha, now or in the future, consider Omaha. Home prices have increased only 1.8% this decade.
9. On the list of the top American big cities to live in for 2006 Wichita, Kansas, with a population of 354,500, is next. As with Omaha, one reason is no doubt the median price of a home, only $120, 868. Another obvious reason is the air quality, at 85.2%, compare to 71.9%. The percentage of the population with a commute of 45 minutes or more is only 3.7%, compared to 13.4%. There are 128 clear days every year, compared to 107.
10. On the list of the ten best big American cities to live in, New York, New York comes in tenth, with a population of 8,143,200. You might not like a city that big or be weary of crime, but who can argue that there is plenty to do in New York? That is whether you like major or minor league sports, plays, music, or whatever. There are 104 colleges and
universities and 25 junior colleges. There are 305 movie theaters within 15 miles, compared to 22; 26,174 restaurants, compared to 2,268; 117 golf courses; 443 libraries; 36 museums, within 30 miles; and 29 ski resorts within 100 miles.
What cities would you have added to or deleted from a list of the ten best American cities to live in for 2006?