Photo: Los Alamos County
Submitted by Carol A. Clark in the Los Alamos Daily Post on July 22, 2014
Annual list ranks America’s top small towns
Perhaps the best thing about a great small town is its ability to change your perspective. With this in mind, Livability.com has named the Top 10 Small Towns, 2014.
These cities provide beautiful locales that inspire both creativity and activity, and they offer unhurried atmospheres, authentic character and characters, cultural gems, fantastic outdoor settings and the uncommon ability to change lifestyles, shift points of view and nourish souls with simple pleasures.
For this list of cities, editors analyzed more data on micropolitan areas than ever before. Using metrics from Esri, they started by looking at cities with populations under 20,000, then dug into statistics like cost of living, health-care spending, racial and socioeconomic diversity, adult obesity, crime, civic engagement, air quality and natural amenities, just to name a few of the 41 data points.
After narrowing down the list, editors conducted a visual assessment of the cities and found out what visitors had to say about them and what residents liked about living there.
“Throughout the U.S., we’re seeing a resurgence of emphasis on downtowns in cities of all sizes,” Livability.com Editor Matt Carmichael said. “It’s nice to see in the big cities, certainly, but it’s especially great to see these smaller towns not just holding their own, but also thriving.”
Los Alamos, N.M., offers an extremely low crime rate, top-rated schools, excellent health care, cultural amenities, outdoor activities and delicious restaurants, setting the city apart from the rest and making it our pick for the best small town in America.
Mostly sunny days and moderate temperatures allow residents to take advantage of the stunning landscape and abundant natural attractions, including the Valles Caldera National Preserve. A network of pathways connect neighborhoods to shopping areas, parks and national forest trails. Throughout the year, residents stay entertained with local art shows, concerts, parades and a variety of festivals and sporting events.