How the Best Places Search Tool Works

The Best Places to Live/Find a Job/Retire tools find which of the 2,000 places meet your criteria.

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The Best Places to Live/Find a Job/Retire search tools find which of the 2,000 places meet the criteria you choose. To create our list of places, we started with all the areas that have a population of at least 10,000 and crime that is below or equal to the national average. We supplemented these places with cities that have a population of 100,000 or more and a few other areas that have previously appeared in our Best Places to Retire search.

Places that don't meet your criteria will be excluded from the search tool. For example, if your ideal city population lies between 25,000 and 100,000, then all places outside of that range are removed from your results. Unless otherwise noted (i.e., U.S. News high school, university, hospital, and nursing home rankings), data is supplied by Onboard Informatics.

Population


Population figures are based on census data and projections by Onboard Informatics. January/July Temperature


Temperatures are based on the midpoint of the minimum and maximum for each month. Annual Precipitation


Precipitation during the year 2008. Median Home Prices


The median home sale price is based on homes sold in 2008. Job Growth


When selected, areas that have had job growth since 2000 appear. Median Household Income


Median household income is for 2008. Crime


When selected, areas with overall crime of less than 85 percent of the national average appear. College Educated


The college-educated population consists of the percentage of people of the place receiving a bachelor's or graduate degree. Kids per Square Mile


The population of children aged 14 and under, divided by the area of the place. Recreational Activities


Places where at least one of the areas selected is at the national average of participation for the activities chosen will appear. Cultural Activities


With the following exceptions, those places where at least one of the areas selected is at the national average of cultural activities will appear. To qualify for Books and Reading, there must be at least one library in the area. To qualify for Concerts, there must be more than 100 concerts held within 30 miles of the place. To qualify for Family/Arts Events, there must be more than 100 events held within 30 miles of the place. To qualify for Movie Theaters, there must be at least one movie theater within 15 miles of the place. To qualify for Museums, there must be more than 25 museums within 25 miles of the place. To qualify for Wineries, there must be a winery within 60 miles of the place. Closest Hospital


Based on the distance from the center of the place. Close to an America's Best Hospital


This is based on the distance from the center of the place. These rankings were published in July 2008. Near a School with a High GreatSchools.net Rating


GreatSchools.net ratings are based on major standardized tests for each state. Those places with a rating that indicates performance better than 60 percent of public schools statewide appear. Has Nursing and Residential Care Facilities


Places with a nursing and residential care facility. Percentage under Age 50


The proportion of the population aged 50 or under is based on U.S. Census data and projections by Onboard Informatics. Senior Population


The proportion of the population aged 55 or over is based on U.S. Census data and projections by Onboard Informatics. Is Near a School Found in America's Best Colleges


This is based on the distance from the center of the place. The rankings referred to are for the rankings published in August 2008. Is Near a School Found in America's Best Graduate Schools


This is based on the distance from the center of the place. The rankings referred to are for the rankings published in April 2008. Unemployment Rate


This is based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, aggregated to the county level. Cost of Living


This is based on the AACRA Q4 2006 COLI publication produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). Job Sectors


Places where at least one job sector selected has at least the average employment rate for all 2,000 places. Some job sectors were combined.



Updated on 7/01/09