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Columbia places fifth on Best Places to Live list

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Photo credit Karmen Osei/Howard County Tourism

Columbia, Maryland has been named the fifth best place to live in America by Money Magazine in its annual Best Places to Live list.

The list features 50 towns and cities where the economy, job growth, and housing market remained strong despite COVID-19 disruptions. This year, Money looked at towns and cities with a population of at least 25,000 and ranked the Best Places to Live putting the greatest emphasis on economic factors, like employment opportunities, as well as supply and demand for homes, cost of living, quality of schools, racial and economic diversity, and health and safety.

Columbia has regularly been in Money’s Top 10, ranking No. 1 in 2016, and ranked jointly with Ellicott City at No. 4 in 2006, No. 8 in 2008, No. 2 in 2010, No. 8 in 2012 and No. 6 in 2014. Ellicott City was ranked separately this year.

Money’s No. 1 pick for Best Places to Live this year is Evans, Georgia, which is brimming with good-paying jobs thanks to its proximity to Augusta as well as affordable homes, top schools, access to arts and culture, and a diverse population, which some residents attribute to its military presence. In June, Evans residents saw a low unemployment rate of 5.2%, which was well below the 11.1% national average. Evans also had the lowest cost of living of any place with similarly high-income levels. Parker, Colorado and Meridian, Idaho landed in second and third place, respectively. Both cities topped the list because of access to high paying jobs in the booming tech sector, a healthy economy, and remarkable proximity to nature and outdoor activities.

“This year, given the general uncertainty around where and how we’ll live, our list looks a little different,” said Prachi Bhardwaj, lead reporter of Money’s Best Places to Live. “We shifted our priorities to pay more attention to cities that aren’t just doing well now, but that show great promise and stability for the next five to ten years. We also included suburban towns situated further away from major metros and have more industry diversity than you’ve seen from our list in years past.”

Money’s Top 20 Best Places to Live include:

  1. Evans, GA
  2. Parker, CO
  3. Meridian, Idaho
  4. Rockwall, Texas
  5. Columbia, Maryland
  6. Westfield, Indiana
  7. Syracuse, Utah
  8. Franklin, Tennessee
  9. Woodbury, Minnesota
  10. Morrisville, North Carolina
  11. Ashburn, Virginia
  12. South Windsor, Connecticut
  13. St Peters, Missouri
  14. Chelmsford, Massachusetts
  15. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
  16. Mount Laurel, New Jersey
  17. Woodstock, Georgia
  18. Broomfield, Colorado
  19. Abington, Pennsylvania
  20. Midlothian, Virginia

For Money’s complete list of the Best Places to Liveclick here. To learn more on the methodology of the ranking, click here. 

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