Western Washington is revered for its beauty and scenic hangout spots, but Livability confirmed why we love it so much after ranking two Eastside cities and one South Sound city on its 2017 list of top 100 best places to live.
Bellevue made Livability’s list again this year, coming in as the sixth best place to live with a 669 Livability score. The Seattle suburb is renowned for top-notch schools, countless entertainment and restaurant options, and a booming tech scene that continues to draw more economic development. Bellevue’s score dropped slightly this year. It was nudged out of the No. 2 spot.
Home of the Museum of Flight and the Seattle Seahawks training facility, Renton was ranked 51st with a 627 Livability score. The area draws Boeing employees, as it’s one of the city’s main employers, and residents enjoy beautiful views of the Cascades and Mount Rainier. Renton School District is highly regarded and residents are served by Valley Medical Center. Renton’s Livability score dropped 12 spots this year from last year.
A neighbor to the south, Olympia had the highest ranking score this year out of our beloved cities with a Livability score of 672 and a fourth-place ranking. Researchers considered economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education, and health care during the ranking process. With its gorgeous forested walking trails, cozy downtown, and stunning capitol building to anchor it all, we’re not suprised Olympia made the list. It even climbed the ranks 16 spots this year.
The only other Washington city that made the list was Richland, ranked 78, on the eastern side of the state.
Kirkland and Issaquah were among the top 100 last year, but didn’t make the list this year.
This year Rochester, Minnesota took the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row due to the available health care and its diverse range of housing options.
To compile this year’s list, Livability collaborated with “world-renowned urbanist” Richard Florida and assistant clinical professor Steven Pedigo from the Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities at NYU School of Professional Studies. Livability’s data partner EMSI helped shape the methodology and framework with which cities were ranked.