The following article was initially released on Feb. 19, 2019 via WalletHub.

Photo courtesy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership

Photo courtesy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership

By Adam McCann, Financial Writer

State capitals aren’t just for lawmaking. Often, they’re thriving cities with a lot of economic and cultural value. In fact, they can be some of the best places to live in America. But not all state capitals are created equal. Though 17 of them are the largest cities in their states, the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life. Some have rampant poverty problems. For example, over 30 percent of the population of Harford, CT lives in poverty, compared to 12.7% of the entire United States.

In order to determine which state capitals make the best homes, WalletHub compared all 50 across 54 key indicators of affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life. Our data set ranges from cost of living to K–12 school-system quality to number of attractions. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

Best State Capitals

Overall Rank
(1=Best)
City State Capital Index ‘Affordability’ Rank ‘Economic Well-Being’ Rank ‘Quality of Education & Health’ Rank ‘Quality of Life’ Rank
1 Austin, TX 67.23 12 1 4 4
2 Boise, ID 64.78 15 6 3 8
3 Raleigh, NC 64.52 2 8 9 19
4 Madison, WI 63.57 19 11 2 5
5 Lincoln, NE 62.67 9 10 5 15
6 Bismarck, ND 60.59 4 2 19 32
7 Concord, NH 59.28 7 12 24 25
8 Denver, CO 59.15 42 4 18 3
9 Cheyenne, WY 58.30 1 3 39 38
10 Des Moines, IA 58.22 8 18 16 30
11 Salt Lake City, UT 57.48 25 20 15 10
12 Columbus, OH 57.03 11 23 29 11
13 Oklahoma City, OK 56.26 3 19 37 24
14 Helena, MT 56.01 16 14 10 40
15 Phoenix, AZ 56.01 21 17 25 18
16 Montpelier, VT 55.68 28 25 1 31
17 Juneau and, AK 55.40 18 7 12 42
18 Nashville, TN 55.15 26 5 31 17
19 Olympia, WA 54.84 30 24 7 23
20 Pierre, SD 54.81 10 34 14 37
21 Annapolis, MD 54.69 24 32 13 16
22 Atlanta, GA 54.52 33 29 22 9
23 St. Paul, MN 54.31 34 22 11 20
24 Santa Fe, NM 53.50 37 15 28 12
25 Salem, OR 53.07 35 13 23 27
26 Sacramento, CA 52.95 46 21 20 7
27 Jefferson City, MO 52.36 6 28 38 35
28 Honolulu, HI 52.31 50 9 6 1
29 Boston, MA 52.12 49 16 8 2
30 Springfield, IL 51.78 5 36 30 43
31 Tallahassee, FL 49.60 40 33 21 26
32 Lansing, MI 49.57 17 31 33 36
33 Topeka, KS 49.46 13 30 36 45
34 Albany, NY 49.02 45 43 17 14
35 Augusta, ME 48.28 39 26 27 41
36 Columbia, SC 46.87 36 45 34 22
37 Frankfort, KY 46.70 14 37 45 44
38 Indianapolis, IN 46.19 27 39 41 29
39 Richmond, VA 45.72 43 40 47 6
40 Harrisburg, PA 45.31 29 49 40 21
41 Dover, DE 44.92 31 27 42 47
42 Little Rock, AR 42.66 22 35 43 49
43 Montgomery, AL 41.91 20 48 49 34
44 Providence, RI 41.70 47 44 32 13
45 Carson City, NV 41.04 38 38 46 48
46 Charleston, WV 40.56 23 42 48 50
47 Hartford, CT 40.38 48 46 26 28
48 Trenton, NJ 40.26 41 50 35 39
49 Jackson, MS 39.65 32 47 44 46
50 Baton Rouge, LA 39.42 44 41 50 33

 

To learn about the methodology, visit WalletHub.