The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Outdoor Enthusiasts to Live and Work

The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Outdoor Enthusiasts to Live and Work

Editor’s Word: This story initially appeared on SmartAsset.com.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic upended every day life and brought on nationwide shutdowns, extra folks participated in outside recreation in 2020 than ever earlier than.

Greater than 50% of Individuals ages 6 and older participated in outside recreation (like biking or mountaineering) not less than as soon as, in accordance to the 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report commissioned by the Outdoor Basis.

The outside recreation increase resulted in 7.1 million extra folks getting outdoors in 2020 than in 2019. In gentle of this uptick, SmartAsset set out to discover the locations which might be finest for outside lovers to reside and work.

To conduct this examine, we in contrast 95 cities throughout the next metrics: down payment-to-income ratio; five-year change in median family revenue; July 2021 unemployment fee; proportion of commuters who stroll or bike to work; nature parks and campgrounds per 100,000 residents; air air pollution; proportion of the town that’s parkland; state outside recreation financial system; and state and nationwide park protection.

That is our second examine on the perfect locations for outside lovers to reside and work. Try our 2020 edition here. For particulars on our information sources and how we put all the data collectively to create our ultimate rankings, learn the info and methodology part on the finish.

Following are the perfect cities for outside lovers.

1. St. Petersburg, Florida

(*10*)
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St. Petersburg, Florida, is a haven for outside lovers. St. Petersburg ranks Thirteenth-best for air high quality and 14th-best for its comparatively excessive proportion of parkland (17.64%).

In the meantime, the state’s outside recreation financial system is ranked second general nationally. St. Petersburg additionally has the 18th-lowest unemployment fee, which was 4.4% in July 2021.

2. Madison, Wisconsin

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The Wisconsin state capital has a top-10 rating in three metrics: unemployment fee, proportion of commuters who stroll or bike to work, and nature parks/campgrounds per 100,000 residents.

Unemployment in Madison was simply 3.1% in July 2021 (the fourth-lowest proportion for this metric), whereas 14.0% of commuters there stroll or bike to work (the fourth-highest). Dane County, the place Madison is situated, has the eighth-highest variety of nature parks and campgrounds for each 100,000 residents (1.46).

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3. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon waterfront
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Located within the shadow of Mt. Hood, Portland, Oregon, has lengthy been an journey hub for outside lovers.

Multnomah County ranks third for its variety of nature parks and campgrounds per 100,000 residents (2.63), whereas 11.5% of commuters in Portland stroll or bike to work (the eighth-highest proportion for this metric throughout our examine).

In the meantime, almost 18% of Portland is roofed by parkland (Thirteenth general), together with the 5,100-acre Forest Park, one of many nation’s largest city forests.

4. San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock.com

San Francisco, California, is extra than simply tech firms and expensive actual property.

The Metropolis by the Bay has the second-highest proportion of commuters who stroll or bike to work (16.7%) and the Tenth-highest proportion of parkland (20.50%), together with the 1,000-acre Golden Gate Park.

The median revenue in San Francisco rose 45.60% between 2014 and 2019, the third-largest enhance throughout that five-year interval.

5. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida
ESB Skilled / Shutterstock.com

Orlando, Florida, has the second-best air high quality general, with a median every day particulate matter of 5.2 (measured on the county degree).

Like St. Petersburg, Orlando advantages from Florida’s robust outside recreation financial system. Orlando additionally boasts the seventh-best five-year change in median family revenue, which rose 43.18% from 2014 to 2019.

6. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
kwest / Shutterstock.com

Seattle, Washington, has the third-highest proportion of commuters who stroll or bike to work (14.4%).

Between 2014 and 2019, the median family revenue in Seattle elevated 44.40%, the sixth-largest soar throughout this five-year interval within the examine. Seattle additionally has the Twenty third-best ranked air high quality throughout this yr’s examine, with a median particulate matter of seven.7.

7. Anchorage, Alaska

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It’s maybe no shock that Alaska’s largest metropolis is among the many finest locations for outside lovers. Anchorage ranks No. 1 for each its excessive proportion of parkland (84.17%) and excessive variety of nature parks and campgrounds for each 100,000 residents (5.90).

Over 9% of Alaska is roofed by state and nationwide parks, the second-highest proportion in our examine for this metric. Anchorage additionally has the sixth-best air high quality throughout our examine, with a median every day particulate matter of 6.4.

8. Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
CSNafzger / Shutterstock.com

With low unemployment and comparatively little air air pollution, Boise, Idaho, is amongst 5 Western cities within the prime 10.

Boise’s July 2021 unemployment fee ranks third general (2.8%), whereas its common every day particulate matter is the fourth-best (6.2). Idaho’s largest metropolis additionally has the 14th-highest proportion of commuters who bike or stroll to work (7.9%).

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Roger Siljander / Shutterstock.com

With nearly 7,000 acres of parkland and water, Minneapolis takes the No. 9 spot in our 2021 examine.

July 2021 unemployment on this metropolis was 3.7%, tied for the eighth-lowest general. Minneapolis additionally has a surprisingly excessive proportion of commuters who stroll or bike to work (11.6%), the seventh-highest fee for this metric throughout the examine.

10. Virginia Seaside, Virginia

Virginia Beach Virginia Traffic
Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com

Virginia Seaside, Virginia, presents residents ample entry to water, given its location on the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

This metropolis is tied with Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the eighth-lowest unemployment fee in July 2021 (3.7%). Virginia Seaside additionally has the ninth-cleanest air throughout the examine (6.7 every day particulate common).

Information and methodology

A man studies financial data at his computer
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To search out the perfect cities for outside lovers to reside and work, we in contrast 95 of the most important U.S. cities throughout the next metrics:

  • Down payment-to-income ratio. Information is from Zillow as of August 2021 and the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-Yr American Group Survey.
  • 5-year change in median family revenue. Information is from the Census Bureau’s 2014 and 2019 1-Yr American Group Surveys.
  • July 2021 unemployment fee. Information is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Share of commuters who stroll or bike to work. Information is from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-Yr American Group Survey.
  • Nature parks and campgrounds per 100,000 residents. Information is from the Census Bureau’s County Enterprise Patterns Survey and is for 2019.
  • Air Air pollution. That is the typical every day particulate matter (PM2.5). Information is from the 2021 County Well being Rankings.
  • Share of the town that’s parkland. Information is from the 2021 Acreage & Park System Highlights from the Belief for Public Land.
  • State outside recreation financial system. This measures income from outside recreation companies (like fishing and RVing) as a proportion of all state income. Information is from the Bureau of Financial Evaluation and is for 2019.
  • State and nationwide park protection. Information is from PlaygroundEquipment.com.

First, we ranked every metropolis in every metric. We then discovered the typical rating, with every metric given an equal weight besides for July 2021 unemployment fee (to which we assigned a double weight), and the 2 state-level metrics (nationwide and state park protection and state outside recreation financial system – to which we assigned a half weight every).

We ranked the cities based mostly on these averages. The metropolis with the best common rating obtained a rating of 100 and the town with the bottom common rating obtained a rating of 0.

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