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Palo Alto, Berkeley, Santa Clara among top 10 most livable cities in America

UC Berkeley students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus April 23, 2012 in Berkeley, California. According to Matt Carmichael, Livability’s editor, cities at the top of the livability list were often home to a major institution like a university, hospital or state capital.
UC Berkeley students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus April 23, 2012 in Berkeley, California. According to Matt Carmichael, Livability’s editor, cities at the top of the livability list were often home to a major institution like a university, hospital or state capital.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
UC Berkeley students walk through Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus April 23, 2012 in Berkeley, California. According to Matt Carmichael, Livability’s editor, cities at the top of the livability list were often home to a major institution like a university, hospital or state capital.
Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, CA on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. According to Matt Carmichael, Livability’s editor, cities at the top of the livability list were often home to a major institution like a university, hospital or state capital.
AFP/AFP/Getty Images


California has 22 of the top 100 best cities to live in America, according to a list released by Livability.com. Palo Alto, Berkeley and Santa Clara ranked among the top 10.

Livability.com partnered with the research team at the Martin Prosperity Institute to conduct the survey. More than 2,000 cities with a population between 20,000 and 350,000 were evaluated. Data points spread across eight categories: economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care. 

Respondents were asked about factors that make a city a better place to live and work, as well as factors they consider when choosing where to live.

“The cities at the top of the list were often home to a major institution like a university, hospital or state capital,” says Matt Carmichael, Livability’s editor. “Institutions like that help these smaller cities compete in terms of sports, culture, jobs and entertainment.”

Below is a table with the ranking and score of all the 22 Californian cities that made it on the list. See if your city is here and tell us if you agree with the result.

What factor matters the most for you when selecting a city to live in?

Ranking City Livability Score Economics Health care Housing Social and Civic Capital Education Amenities Demographics Infrastructure
#5 Palo Alto 679 30 70 62 78 70 86 73 71
#6 Berkeley 672 33 74 51 66 78 78 81 74
#7 Santa Clara 671 49 71 69 51 72 82 71 70
#15 San Mateo 660 49 66 65 63 54 83 76 70
#16 Santa Barbara 656 43 74 49 59 73 92 68 64
#21 Pasadena 651 44 61 63 40 75 87 79 69
#23 Ventura 650 56 65 71 57 73 86 55 57
#25 Sunnyvale 645 46 53 66 64 62 80 77 67
#26 Mountain View 645 49 61 67 72 43 75 76 73
#28 Santa Monica 644 46 61 55 56 85 85 61 65
#31 San Rafael 638 44 77 68 51 52 83 64 69
#45 Alameda 632 44 61 59 56 74 68 72 69
#49 Fullerton 631 47 63 62 42 73 78 78 60
#53 Irvine 630 33 53 43 68 91 91 68 55
#56 Santa Cruz 629 42 78 62 65 53 79 48 75
#61 Monterey 626 39 60 49 68 62 83 72 66
#68 Costa Mesa 622 58 70 52 42 73 79 57 66
#78 Santa Rosa 618 49 76 65 50 44 86 63 60
#79 Goleta 617 62 67 55 73 37 75 69 56
#87 Menlo Park 612 29 67 52 79 52 68 71 70
#89 Burbank 610 53 63 66 44 57 77 65 62
#90 Hayward 610 51 72 64 24 56 74 77 68

The full list of top 100 cities is featured on Livability.com.