Can You Guess the Best U.S. State Capital to Live In?

published Feb 21, 2019
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(Image credit: Ann Worner)

It’s likely been awhile since you knew every state capital by heart. Even if you can’t remember every single one—Montana, I’m looking at you—many are probably still the first city that comes to mind when you think of a certain state.

But contrary to what you may think, state capitals aren’t just wealthy metro hubs for local politics—a lot of them also offer amenities like quality school systems, an affordable cost of living, and cultural attractions. In short, many of them make pretty great places to live.

But not all state capitals are the type of place you’d like to call home. To break it down, personal finance site WalletHub released a report on 2019’s Best State Capitals to Live In. They ranked all 50 cities using 54 key metrics across four core areas: economic wellbeing, affordability, quality of education and health, and overall quality of life.

The top spot this year belongs to Austin, Texas. The university town is home to a lot of millennial transplants and ranks number four in terms of percentage of adults with college degrees or higher. Although climate was not a factor in the study, it also has some pretty great weather (Just sayin’!).

The top three spots are rounded out by Boise, Idaho, and Raleigh, North Carolina, both of which rank high in terms of the quality of health and education—two factors which make them ideal places to raise a family.

However, not all capitals are as well-balanced: Some cities score major points in some areas, but struggle in others. For example, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, don’t expect to get a bargain basement deal in Denver. It ranks number 48 on the list in terms of least affordable housing, second only to Honolulu and Boston. However, the Mile High City has tons of restaurants per capita and is home to a lot of popular attractions, like the iconic Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre and scenic Mount Evans.

Curious to see where your state’s capital lands on the list? Head over to WalletHub to see the complete rankings and study.