Redefining the Perfect Place to Live


Redefining the Perfect Place to Live

by Amy Lignor


Now is that time of year when everything both positive and negative is being aired in regards to cities, states and neighborhoods that are the best and worst for you to raise your children in. Reports touch on everything from horrific education to horrific crimes. In some cases, cities that were once atop the “best of” lists have fallen because of crime, hatred, higher unemployment, etc. And some of the most beautiful states are coming in nowhere near the top 10 in regards to educational rankings.

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Just recently, the list of best cities to live in was released – as were various lists of education rankings per state nationwide. (*U.S. News, Forbes, AAA, Travel Guide) So do any of these lovely places also give your child a great education? Let’s see if a family can have both.


Number 10 in the best cities used to be in the number 2 slot. Park City, Utah is hailed as a friendly and casual mountain town where the locals are extremely welcoming. How did Utah rank when it came to education? They came in at number 17.


New to the list of best places was Sedona, Arizona. Literally a place that should be pictured next to the word “idyllic” in the dictionary, Sedona all about spa culture, energy hotspots and a place where the locals say Namaste, and mean it. What does the state of Arizona do as far as education is concerned? Although ranking high up in places to live, their education system comes in at number 43.


Asheville, North Carolina is a beloved area. In fact, travelers from all over rave about Asheville’s great restaurants, art galleries, and their lively River Arts District. They talk about this being a wonderful all-around small city with “friendly, non-prejudiced” locals. If there really is always a smile in Asheville, then parents should also know that the state comes in at number 13 in regards to educational rankings. Not bad. In fact, for this list, not bad at all.


When it comes to a landscape and a city that is beautiful, clean, low in crime, and high in extremely friendly people, Jackson, Wyoming, got the thumbs up. Here you can watch moose run alongside your car, while also encountering kind locals. Unfortunately, when it comes to education, Wyoming ranks 33rd.


The Southern charm of Savannah, Georgia has kept it in the top ten cities. The locals are seen as fun and talkative, and the atmosphere as being basically laid-back. The streets feel safe and walkable, and they even offer historic homes that draw lovers of the paranormal to their doors. Unfortunately, Georgia also ranks 38th in education.


Ashland, Oregon is a culturally rich small city where life moves calmly. One of their claims to fame is holding the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which brings many to the city. But even then, the locals are said to be extremely welcoming and easy to get to know. Your child’s educational system, however, does not fare nearly as well; the state took the 43rd slot.


Music City comes in at number 4 on the list of great places to live, although many feel the vivid character of both the city and its people should have it resting at number 1. Yes, it is the perfect size and, yes, the vibe of the city cannot be beat. Education certainly needs help, though: the state rests at number 42 where that’s concerned.


Telluride, Colorado got rave reviews for being a truly relaxed environment where locals are absolutely “amazing” and the scenery cannot be beat. Friendly, healthy, clean, basically crime-free – all of that makes this sound like paradise. And, in fact, it is the one “best” city to live in that actually also resides in a state that appears in the “top 10” on education lists.

It’s not really a great shock when you learn that the best in education is basically found in the eastern half of the U.S. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland – these are all states that have always provided the best possible education for your child. However, being highly expensive places to live in ensures that a lot must be taken on your shoulders in order to get that great education.


It’s nice to know there are “almost” crime-free areas still out there. It is also nice to know that there are places where people are still friendly and non-judgmental. But it would also be nice to focus on improving education in the U.S. so that families will have to give up nothing in order to find that truly “perfect home.”


Perhaps the worst ranking: 2017 Best Countries for Education (U.S. News) America came in at #7 – dropping from the #4 spot in 2016.