Tacoma Named 41st on List of Best Place to Live

Tacoma is one of the top 100 best places to live in the US; number 41, to be exact. That's according to a list of the top 100 small to mid-sized cities (populations between 25,000 and 350,000) released this week by Livability.com.

In discussing its methodology, Livability lists four guiding principles: access, affordability, choice, and utilization. In other words, do the cities have the components of livability that residents look for; can people get to and afford them; and do they use them. Cities were assessed based on eight categories of livability: 

  1. Amenities: Access to parks, farmers markets, golf courses and natural amenities, as well as the weather and the role of arts in the community.
  2. Demographics: Immigration and diversity of race, ethnicity and age.
  3. Economy: Income, income growth, income disparity, employment, population growth and the share of the population working in what Richard Florida refers to as "Creative Class" jobs.
  4. Education: Great Schools rankings, colleges and universities, and percentage of people with high levels of education.
  5. Health care: Access to hospitals and average spending on health care and related items.
  6. Housing: Housing costs, affordability, age of the housing stock, percentage who own vs. rent and percentage of vacant property.
  7. Infrastructure: Broadband providers, commute time, Walk Score, transportation costs and affordability, and the percentage of people who get to work by some means other than driving alone.
  8. Social and Civic Capital: Crime rates, air quality, community involvement, and the percentage of people who vote and take part in organized religion.

Tacoma scored well in amenities (88), demographic diversity (73), and education (64), coming in with an overall score of 605, not all that far behind the number one city of Palo Alto , California, which scored 646 overall. Two other Washington cities (Bellevue at 12th and Bellingham at 25th) beat out Tacoma. View the full list, and see more on how Tacoma measures up in subcategories at liviability.com

Livability looked at amenities  including farmers markets, golf courses, parks, weather (as measured by January and July temperature differentials), and the role of arts in the community. To assess demographic diversity, Livability analyzed several measurements of diversity along racial, ethnic, foreign-born and age-based lines using data from the U.S. Census. In considering education, cities with higher-rated public schools, more colleges and universities, and well-educated adults scored best; the average education score for cities was 40, well below Tacoma's score of 64.

Among other attributes listed to describe Tacoma were the following:

  • Mostly Younger
  • Bigger City
  • Mostly Homeowners
  • Mostly Singles
  • Mild Summer
  • Green City
  • Close to Major Airport
  • Nearby College/University
  • Close to Major Sports Team

So, does this sound like the Tacoma you know?

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