Cody is one of two Wyoming cities named among the 50 best places to live in America, and its residents are among the least likely to face serious financial hardship, according to one online publication.
Based on affordability, economy, quality of life and community, Cody is the 18th best U.S. city to live in, say writers for 24/7 Wall Street, a USA Today content partner offering financial news and commentary.
Cody’s poverty rate of just 7.7 percent is well below the U.S. rate of 14.6 percent. Another contributing factor is the city’s low unemployment rate. Just 1 percent of Cody’s labor force is unemployed, less than one quarter of the national unemployment rate, according to 24/7 Wall Street.
With a population of 9,826, Cody’s resident count has grown by 3.1 percent over five years. Median household income is $56,356.
To identify the top cities to live in, writers Grant Suneson, Michael B. Sauter and Samuel Stebbins created a weighted index of more than two dozen measures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI and other sources.
The Sept. 10 publication considered all boroughs, census designated places, cities, towns and villages with at least 8,000 residents.
Although the story doe not say how many communities were evaluated, in 2007 the U.S. Census Bureau put municipal governments of all populations at 19,492.
The other Wyoming community to make the top 50 is Riverton. Ranked 37th, the Fremont County city has a median household income of $51,102 and a 3.1 percent five-year unemployment rate.
Riverton is considered one of America’s most affordable cities, the writers say. On average, goods and services cost 13.5 percent less than they do on average nationwide. The city of 11,113 also has a strong job market and a low unemployment rate.
Riverton residents have an average commute time of less than 15 minutes, about half as long as the average American.
Leading the 50 best cities is West University Place, Texas. The community of 15,477 has a $243,226 median household income and five-year unemployment rate of 1.4 percent.
Beverly Hills, Calif., population 34,506, is second followed by Pella, Iowa, population 10,243, in third. Montecito, Calif., population 8,984, is fourth and Grove City, Penn., with 8,123 residents, ranks fifth.
To identify the best cities to live in, the writers created a weighted index of 25 measures.
In the affordability category, the ratio of the median home value to the median income and cost of living were weighted favorably as were property taxes; however, cities where residents pay more property taxes as a percentage of their home value were penalized.
When considering economy, the writers gave credit to cities with a positive five-year employment growth percentage and a higher share of total working-age population with a job. Also receiving credit were areas with greater employment and growing job opportunities.
In the quality of life category, places where poverty is more common were penalized. A city’s mortality rate, calculated as the number of people who died while in hospital care per hospital by city, was considered. The drug overdose mortality rate and the hospital readmission rate were other factors.
Distance from the center of the city to the nearest hospital was given full weight. The number of hospitalizations that would have been prevented by regularly-scheduled doctor visits for every 1,000 Medicare enrollees – known as the preventable hospitalization rate – was given a half weighting.
The average travel time to work was used as a measurement in the community category. The violent crime rate – the total number of rapes, robberies, murders and aggravated assaults adjusted per 100,000 residents per year – was measured. The property crime rate, which is the total number of burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts and incidents of arson per 100,000 residents per year, was also considered.
Whether commuters walked, cycled or took public transit to work was given partial weight. The total number of restaurants, bars, museums, theater companies, movie theaters, libraries and parks per capita were favorable amenities.
The 24/7 Wall Street writers allowed only one top ranking community per county.
Cities in neighboring states on the list include:
11. West Fargo, N.D.
21. Bismarck, N.D.
25. Brandon, S.D.
30. Williston, N.D.
35. Aberdeen, S.D.
45. Bozeman, Mont.
49. Durango, Colo.