Midwest State Capitals Rank High on Best Places to Live List
Between 2020 and 2021, an estimated 4.4 million Americans moved to a new state, so SmartAsset recently published its rankings for the Best State Capitals to Live in the United States.
SmartAsset suggests that state capitals may be ideal locations for rich culture and history, access to various job opportunities, and a front seat to a state's political happenings.
The ranking criteria compared all 50 state capitals on employment, education, affordability, leisure, and safety topics.
According to the SmartAsset findings, Midwest state capital cities are the best places, with five of the top ten state capitals in middle America.
The midwest state capitals rank high in the employment & education category and for affordability. Northeastern and Western state capitals claim the remaining top five spots. In contrast, no Southern state capital made the top 10.
#10 Des Moines, Iowa, shines in the affordability category. The survey considered income after housing costs, the down payment-to-income ratio, and an individual's estimated annual cost of living.
Des Moines also ranked high in the Employment and Education category, Which covers unemployment, the five-year change in incomes, and the high-school graduation rate.
Iowa's capital city didn't rank strongly in the Leisure & Safety category, which covered the concentration of dining and entertainment establishments, hours worked per week, and violent & property crime rates. However, its overall score was still enough to land in the TOP 10 Best State Capitals to Live In.
Iowa's neighboring states scored big in the survey to claim the TOP 3 Best State Capital Slots.
#3 Lincoln, Nebraska, scored high with a low unemployment rate of just 2.4% and a high school graduation rate of 93.23%. Its affordability was enough to land Lincoln high on the list.
#2 Madison, Wisconsin, often ranks high on livability lists, so its second-place ranking is no surprise. It won the top spot for leisure and safety for American state capitals. The typical Madison work week clocks at 36.7 hours, and residents have access to the eighth-highest number of dining and entertainment options. It also has a relatively decent safety score.
#1 Pierre, South Dakota, scored high in the employment & education category with a low unemployment rate of just 1.9%, which is the second lowest of all 50 state capitals. In addition, its affordability and high graduation rate of 95.62% are enough to earn Pierre the very Best State Capital to Live In.
#8 Jefferson City, Missouri, scored well for its unemployment rate of 1.8% and affordability. However, while its low leisure and safety score wasn't nearly as impressive, it was still enough to make the Top 10.
Saint Paul, Minnesota, narrowly missed making the Top Ten with a low affordability score. Instead, it landed at #11.
Springfield, Illinois, managed a #14 ranking with strong Affordability and Leisure & Safety scores. However, its extremely low Employment & Education scores pushed it beyond the Top Ten.
Meanwhile to bottom five State Capitals include:
#46 Hartford, CT
#47 Denver, CO
#48 Little Rock, AR
#49 Baton Rouge, LA
#50 Dover, DE
For the BEST STATE CAPITAL to LIVE SURVEY, visit smartasset.com.