Table of Contents
The middle class makes up a significant portion of the United States population — about 52%, to be exact, depending on how you define it. Families in this category are generally comfortable, but don’t have limitless financial options. Their decision-making process around income and expenses comes down to balancing what’s best for their family now and in the future.
One big consideration for middle class families is where they choose to live. The socioeconomic characteristics of a city can have a significant effect on those who live there, and these factors are even more important for a family unit (as opposed to a single individual). With that in mind, we decided to take a deeper look into which areas of the U.S. are ideal for families in the middle class. We created a comprehensive, nationwide resource that shows which cities in each state are the best for middle class families.
Rankings For Each State
|City||Real Estate Taxes Score||Home Value Score||Job Availability Score|
|North Little Rock, Arkansas||9.08||9.3||9.97|
|San Diego, California||7.07||6.75||4.72|
Data Sources And Methodology
To rank the best cities for middle class families, we looked at data for over 9,500 cities across the United States. We ranked the cities using the seven factors below. These rankings are for each state and the cities are only compared to other cities within the same state. Each factor is weighted, and each city’s final ranking is out of 100 possible points.
Our final rankings show the top 100 best cities for middle class families in each state.
The Income Score is based on median household incomes of each city and their state, according to the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. We used Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s definition of middle class. He defines middle class as households within 50% to 150% of the median U.S. income. We took this principle and applied it to the state level. With that in mind, we compared the city’s median household income to the state’s median. Any city that falls below 50% or above 150% of the state’s median household income received a 0 for a score because they are considered outside of the middle class. For the rest of the cities, the closer the city’s median income is to the state’s, the higher the Income Score.
Real Estate Taxes Score:
This data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. The score is based on the taxes as a percentage of the home value — the lower a city’s percentage, the higher the Real Estate Taxes Score.
Home Value Score:
The Home Value Score is based off of the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. We used the Reich Rule, comparing the city’s median mortgage value to the state’s median mortgage value. The closer a city is to the state’s median mortgage value, the higher the Home Value Score.
The data for this factor is from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. The cities are compared against each other and the lower the unemployment percentage, the higher the score.
College Education Score:
This is data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Each city is compared against the others in their state and the higher the percentage of college educated adults, the higher the College Education Score.
This data comes from Homes.com’s school score, which we averaged across cities. It is based on student performance and state test scores. Using that data, the cities with higher grades for schools received a higher School Score.
Job Availability Score:
This data is from Indeed. We collected the number of open job positions within a 10 mile radius of the city. The higher the number of job listings, the higher the Job Availability score.