Ranking It

3 of America's best mid-sized cities are in Houston's backyard, study says

3 of America's best mid-sized cities are in Houston's backyard

Sugar Land Town Square
Some of America's best mid-sized cities, such as Sugar Land, are in our backyard. Photo courtesy of Sugar Land Town Square

Houston's suburbs are on a roll. Sugar Land has already been named one of the nation's best small cities, and now it joins two other in the metro area on a list of the most "livable" mid-sized spots in the U.S.

Financial website SmartAsset compared 227 U.S. cities based on eight metrics, ranging from median household income to unemployment rate to home value change. (The cities included have at least 100,000 residents; the 100 most populous U.S. cities were removed.)

"For Americans seeking a more affordable and less crowded alternative to the bustle of a big city but not interested in very small towns, a mid-sized city might be the best place to put down roots," the site says. "But not all of them are equally suited to meet the needs of their inhabitants. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers on a variety of financial factors to find the mid-sized cities that are the most livable."

The Houston area claims three: League City (16), Pearland (30), and Sugar Land (44). And what makes them such a great place to live?

All three cash in with median household incomes over $100,000 — $115,650 in League City, $106,757 in Pearland, and $127,598 in Sugar Land. They also saw home prices jump nearly 20 percent or more from 2015-2019, according to the study. One downfall, however, is a July 2020 unemployment hovering around 9 percent in each of the Houston-area cities.

A host of other Texas cities make an appearance, with Round Rock, just north of Austin, coming in at ninth overall. It had the 15th lowest unemployment rate in the study — 6.2 percent — and the 20th lowest poverty rate — 6 percent — according to SmartAsset.

Dallas-Fort Worth houses six of the 50 most livable mid-cities in the U.S.: Frisco (17), Allen (19), Carrolton (21), Lewisville (22), McKinney (28), and Mesquite (48).