Most livable cities
It's no wonder so many people are moving to "boomtowns" McKinney and Denton. A new ranking from Livability, whose research generates lists of the best places to live, work, and visit, puts both North Cities among the country’s 100 most livable small and midsize cities.
McKinney comes in at No. 18, and Denton lands at No. 83. They are joined on the list by Plano, at No. 29. These are the only Texas cities appearing in the top 100 for 2022.
To come up with the top 100, Livability examined more than 2,300 cities based on more than 50 data points grouped into eight categories, measuring a city’s economic stability, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, and health care, they say.
"This year, we focused on mid-sized cities (generally defined as 500,000 population or smaller) that are attracting big waves of young people," the study's authors say. "We also added more weight to some of our measures of diversity and inclusion in order to reflect what millennials are looking for in the cities they choose to call home."
Madison, Wisconsin, took the top spot for the second year in a row.
McKinney — tops in Texas — scores especially well in the categories of economy, education, health, and demographics. Livability praises the city for offering "a quaint hometown feel and big-city amenities."
"This fast-growing suburb makes the list as one of the best places to live in the U.S. because of its great schools and strong economic backbone," Livability says. "Tech and aviation industries flourish in McKinney, with Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems’ headquarters providing lots of jobs. In addition, McKinney has an exceptionally low crime rate, making it a great place to raise a family and sleep well at night."
"Located at the top of the triangle — Fort Worth lies 45 minutes to the southwest and Dallas 45 minutes to the southeast — Denton residents have easy access to the major population centers while enjoying the perks of a more laid-back lifestyle, making it one of the best places to live in the U.S.," the study says.
Last year, Livability's top 100 featured three North Texas cities in the following order: Plano (No. 17), McKinney (No. 60), and Richardson (No. 66). While Denton appeared on the top 100 list in 2020, at No. 55, it was left out of the 2021 rankings.
Livability says it tweaks the ranking factors each year, meaning a city may show up on the list one year after being left out the previous year or vice versa.
McKinney, Plano, and Denton are no stranger to accolades.
In fall 2021, McKinney and Denton were named top-50 "boomtowns" by SmartAsset, which noted that Denton's population skyrocketed 12.41 percent, and the housing rate jumped 5.13 percent in just five years. Denton County and Collin County are among the wealthiest in Texas, a recent report said.
John Egan contributed to this report.