6 Unusually Prosperous American Cities


Anchorage, AK

Ranking at 49 overall, but third for best economic conditions is Anchorage, AK. Sports enthusiasts won’t be pleased by the lack of any professional teams, but the unemployment rate is low at 6.4 percent among the 297,000 people who call it home, and the median household income is $85,554. Residents also enjoy a higher ratio of park land to people, with over 1,700 acres of parks for every 1,000 residents.

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Chesapeake, VA

Chesapeake, VA, came in at number 45, and also without a pro sports team. The city of over 223,000 also came in last on the number of bars, restaurants and museums, but with the annual median household income of $80,695 and relatively low unemployment of 6.3 percent, residents can afford to find their entertainment elsewhere, or in some of the 252 acres of park space per 1,000 of its residents.

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Lincoln, NE

Tied with Tampa, FL at number 34, Lincoln, NE houses residents with a median income of just over $67,000 and an impressive unemployment rate of 3.7 percent and the cleanest air of any on the list. While it’s a major college town and has some nightlife along O Street, its 259,000 residents have to share less than 600 bars and restaurants and 25 acres of parks between each 1,000 residents.

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San Jose, CA

San Jose, CA boasts a median annual household income of over $92,000 and an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent among its 956,000 residents, ranking at number 33 of the best cities. Park acreage lands at only 17 acres per 1,000 residents, but with over 1,600 bars and restaurants, 12 museums, 31 libraries, and four pro sports teams, residents have plenty to do.

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Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA came in at number 24 in BusinessWeek’s rankings, based on the abundant nightlife and activities available. However, with the median income of its 1.5 million residents at only about $48,000, it’s unclear how many can afford to enjoy the 400 bars, 3,800 restaurants, and 91 museums. BusinessWeek stated “significant crime and low air quality” pulled down its rankings.

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Madison, WI

At number 17, Madison, WI residents enjoy a low crime rate, a median household income of about $78,000, and a low rate of unemployment at 5.4 percent. However, with very cold temperatures over the long winters, fewer than 700 bars and restaurants, only 22 acres of park space per 1,000 residents and no pro sports teams, its 232,000 residents have to be creative to find entertainment or be happy to stay warm at home.

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