How do they make that list anyway?

“Ever wonder how CNN makes their “top places to live” list?”

The methodology is more scientific than you may think. Here’s how they do it.

Start with all U.S. towns with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. Screen out places with a median family income of more than 200 percent or less than 85 percent of the state average. Then, screen out places with more than 95% of one race and those with poor education and crime scores. Exclude retirement communities and towns with major job losses.

Rank the rest based on job growth, home affordability, safety, school quality, health care, arts and leisure, diversity, and several ease-of-living criteria.

Factor in more data on the economy (including the fiscal strength of state and local governments), plus jobs, housing, health care, and happiness. Give the most weight to economic data.

Visit towns and interview residents; assess traffic, parks, and gathering places; and consider intangibles like community spirit.

Finally, select the winner based on the data and reporting.

To see where your town ranks go to and search for “best places to live.”

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