Based on a multitude of metrics, including population, employment, taxes, education, health care, and housing affordability, Columbia, Md., has been named the best place to live in the U.S.
Time’s Money magazine found 49 other towns and cities — from West Hartford, Conn., to Weston, Fla., to Koolaupoko, Hawaii — that best accommodate their residents.
Columbia got the edge over Eden Prairie, Minn., and Plano, Texas.
Columbia is clearly thriving. It ranks in the top 5% of the 823 places on this year’s list for job growth and economic opportunity. The schools are among the state’s best. And in this pricey corner of the country, Columbia’s median home price is just over $300,000, 11% less than in Gaithersburg, one county over. “I sometimes tell people this is a little bit like the Land of Oz,” says Gary Ahrens, a retired high school teacher and counselor who sells real estate for Keller Williams.
Time’s Best Places to Live website also has rankings of the best places to live by state; lists of the healthiest places to live, the best big cities, and the best places to be rich and single; and tools that can compare median household income, crime rates, and taxes between any towns in the nation.