The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter, capping 15 straight quarters of economic growth. The economy has added jobs for more than seven years. The Dow Jones industrial average has now climbed above 25,000 points, a level many would have deemed unreachable half a decade ago.
The United States is in the midst of a period of economic prosperity. This period of ongoing prosperity — to the alarm of many economists — has come with a widening gap between the rich and poor. As corporations and wealthy Americans are getting an increasingly larger piece of the pie, the middle class is dwindling and many of the nation’s poor are finding it increasingly difficult to earn a living wage and find steady employment.
Uneven prosperity in the United States is evident not just across its classes, but also geographically. In Camden, New Jersey, over 35% of the population lives in poverty, while in Clifton, also in New Jersey, the poverty rate is just 8.6%. Clifton is just one example of the cities where living conditions tend to vastly exceed the typical city nationwide. In each state, at least one city fares, if not better the nation as a whole, then better than the rest of the state.
24/7 Wall St. created an index of over three dozen socioeconomic measures to identify the best American city to live in each state.
39. Rhode Island
> Best city to live: Cranston > Population: 81,025 > Median home value: $224,200 (highest 25%) > Poverty rate: 6.0% (lowest 10%) > Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32.4% (highest 10%)
Cranston, Rhode Island has one of the strongest economies in the state and the country. Just 6.0% of Cranston residents live in poverty, less than half of Rhode Island’s 12.8% poverty rate and well below the 14.0% U.S. rate.
Cranston is safer than its neighboring cities. The city’s violent crime rate of 153.0 per 100,000 people is much lower than the rate across Rhode Island of 239.0 incidents per 100,000 people. There were also 1,862 property crimes in Cranston per 100,000 people, compared to 2,451 property crimes per 100,000 people nationwide.