The 10 most livable small towns (10 items)

Bethan Owen

July 23, 2014

A list of the most livable small towns in 2014 has just been released by the website Livability, and Heber City, Utah, has made the cut. To qualify, a town must have a population of less than 20,000. The criteria included "cost of living, health-care spending, racial and socioeconomic diversity, adult obesity, crime, civic engagement, air quality and natural amenities," according to the website, although other factors were considered as well. All data came from Livability, except for the census data on Los Alamos which came from City Data.

1 of 10. Hailey, Idaho

Population: 8,084

Median age: 36

Median household income: $65,101

Median home price: $187,500

Average work commute: 19 minutes

"Hailey has the highest level of employment and the greatest income distribution of any city on this list," according to Livability. "What that means is the gap between the haves and have-nots isn't as big as it is in most places."

2 of 10. Traverse City, Michigan

Population: 14,925

Median age: 41

Median household income: $43,120

Median home price: $128,950

Average work commute: 12 minutes

"Few small towns have picked up as many accolades or gotten as much press as Traverse City, Michigan," wrote Livability. "It's been named one of the most beautiful places in the country, one of Livability's best foodie cities, (and) a top vacation destination."

3 of 10. Heber City, Utah

Population: 12,087

Median age: 27

Median household income: $58,441

Median home price: $202,273

Average work commute: 19 minutes

"The Heber Valley area has long been held as one of the top vacation destinations in the West," wrote Livability. "Employment is higher (in Heber) than in much of the nation thanks to a broad range of businesses supported by locals. Low crime, good schools and an excellent health-care system help make Heber City even more appealing to families. Heber City had the highest growth forecast on our list of the best small towns."

4 of 10. Spearfish, South Dakota

Population: 11,072

Median age: 35

Median household income: $37,511

Average work commute: 10 minutes

"Abundant natural resources, technological innovations and an impressive collection of recreational facilities make Spearfish an attractive destination for young families, entrepreneurs and businesses," wrote Livability. "Residents enjoy a healthy environment with low carbon dioxide emissions; arts and cultural amenities like galleries, theaters and live musical performances; an excellent school system ... and a diverse economy that provides ample job opportunities."

5 of 10. Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Population: 9,971

Median age: 35

Median household income: $58,573

Median home price: $240,000

Average work commute: 13 minutes

With its hot springs, fishing, rafting and skiing, Glenwood Springs is a popular destination for tourists. In addition, according to Livability, "Residents of Glenwood Springs enjoy a healthy lifestyle, temperate climate, good schools, great medical facilities and a vibrant cultural scene."
1. Helmigr
Brighton, CO,
July 23, 2014

I find it peculiar that adult obesity is one of the criteria. Are they saying, "Nobody wants to live with fat people?"

2. daisy5
July 23, 2014

Helmigr, I think that the adult obesity issue reflects a general healthy, fit, type of community. I don't think it is meant as an insult to obese people. It may reflect the types of sporting venues, trails, restaurants, and general mindset, of that small community. In some places people like to sit on their front porch, smoke, watch t.v., or go to the doughnut shop for entertainment. Other communities you find many people hiking, running, or eating amazing salads at a popular restaurant known for locally grown fresh food, etc.. Health plays a factor in quality of life.

3. Rockyrd
Gilbert, AZ,
July 23, 2014

Don't want to live by fat people? Too bad for my neighbors!

4. Helmigr
Brighton, CO,
July 23, 2014

Daisy5, obesity is a condition, not a mindset. If the article had stated "healthy lifestyle" as a criterion it would have accomplished the same thing without the barbs. I take from this article that a mother of six whose husband spends a lot of time traveling for work is likely to not going to fit into the stereotype of Halley, ID.

5. MuseCat
Farmington, UT,
July 23, 2014

I'm from Heber City so I might be bias it is very pretty there. :) Although, living in a small town when I was young I found that some people made it their business to know everyone's business. Anything I said or did made to the sewing factory where my mother worked before I even got home from school, not cool!