If you prefer city living but care about cutting costs, there is some good news: In the U.S., several mid-sized cities are also highly livable, meaning they're more affordable than larger, metropolitan areas (since cost of living tends to correlate with population size), but still offer many amenities.
Personal finance website SmartAsset identified the most livable mid-sized cities in the U.S. so far this year by looking at a number of economic factors, including median household income, unemployment rate, average commute time, poverty rate, changes in median home value, median monthly housing costs and level of income inequality. Each city's rank depends on how far your dollar can go as a resident.
SmartAsset used data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 and 2018 1-year American Community Surveys to determine changes in median home value and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2018 1-year American Community Survey for everything else. To be deemed "mid-sized," a city must have had a population above 100,000 in 2018, excluding the 100 largest cities in the country. In total, 226 places made the list.
These are the top 10 most livable mid-sized U.S. cities, according to SmartAsset.
Interestingly, the top five cities on the list are located not only in Colorado, but within the greater Denver metro area, which shows the role location plays in overall livability. In Arvada, Colorado, the No. 1 city on the list, factors such as a strong job market and livable wages help boost its level of livability. In Centennial, Colorado, the city's low levels of poverty, low unemployment rate and small population living without healthcare helped drive it toward the top of the list.
Other locations in the top 10 had similar positive attributes. In Westminster, Colorado, the third-highest ranked mid-sized city, the median home value grew 60% in five years. It also boasts low poverty and unemployment rates. Highlands Ranch, Colorado, No. 4 on the list, has a healthy median household income and low income inequality when compared to other mid-sized locations, indicating the financial stability of its residents.
If affordability is your primary concern when deciding where to settle down, check out these resources as well:
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!