These 10 Cities In Indiana Think They Are Better Than You

See why they think so. And which cities are the real pits.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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If you could click your heels and move anywhere else in Indiana, where would you go? To a bigger city? Or out in the country? A recent poll said that more than two-thirds of Americans wished they lived somewhere else. You might be one of them, whether or not you admit it.
But some people in Indiana don’t want to go anywhere, because they know where they call home is the best. Face it. There are some great spots in Indiana, but some are just better than others. And the the people who live there know it.
Of course, science doesn’t measure beauty and friendly smiles. All we look at are the hard numbers.
After analyzing 101 of the state’s most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 cities that have it made, and therefore, think they are better than you:

  1. Zionsville
  2. Fishers
  3. Carmel
  4. Munster
  5. Brownsburg
  6. Dyer
  7. Noblesville
  8. Jasper
  9. West Lafayette
  10. Westfield

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared.

How do you decide how awesome a place is to live?

In order to rank the best cities with the most content residents, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The higher the better – meaning there’s lots to do)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • High Housing Costs
  • Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
  • Low Crime

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. This list is based on data, and is entirely unbiased.

1. Zionsville

Source: Town of Zionsville on Facebook

Population: 23,134
The Town of Zionsville consistently ranks as one of the best places to live not only in Indiana, but in the nation. There aren’t any surprises here. And you can bet they know they are the best.
Let’s see why Zionsville ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Zionsville are the most expensive in the state of Indiana, with the average home worth a whopping $410,000. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Zionsville if they can afford it.
Other numbers that stand out: Zionsville residents have the 7th highest income in the state, and enjoy the 9th lowest crime numbers in Indiana.

2. Fishers

Source: City of Fishers on Facebook

Population: 76,825
We’re going to see a pattern here, and if you live in the Indianapolis area, you won’t be surprised by the results. Another Indy suburb, Fishers, has some very livable numbers. Crime is actually lower in Fishers than it is in Zionsville, if you can believe that.
The income levels are higher in Fishers ($92,552), and the unemployment rate is the lowest in Indiana (3.3%). That means everyone who lives here is safe and has a great job.

3. Carmel

Source: City of Carmel on Facebook

Population: 80,006
The only real difference between Carmel and the two cities mentioned above is that Carmel residents earn the most money out of anyone in the Hoosier State. Households pull in $107,000 a year in combined incomes.
That’s lots of front row tickets to Colts games. You probably don’t get to go to Colts games at all.
But Carmel homes are valued far less than those in Zionsville and Fishers. Average homes are worth $236,000.
Like Fishers, Carmel has a 3.6% unemployment rate.

4. Munster

Source: Town of Munster on Facebook

Population: 23,460
The Town of Munster might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science. The mid-sized city straddles the Illinois state line, and is a short drive from Gary. Obviously, none of the issues from Gary are impacting Munster.
The crime rate in Munster isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at almost $200,000 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Indiana.
If Munster can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (7.6%) is one of the highest in the state.

5. Brownsburg

Source: Town of Brownsburg on Facebook

Population: 21,749
You might be surprised to see the Town of Brownsburg so high on the list. Unless you live in Brownsburg.
The unemployment rate here is really low, and at 4.2%, Brownsburg residents are some of the hardest working in the state of Indiana. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Brownsburg is doing quite well.
Plus, Brownsburg is close enough to downtown Indy to enjoy lots of entertainment with a short drive. You can bet all of the people who live in Indianapolis suburbs think they’re smarter for having chosen to live outside of the city limits.

6. Dyer

Source: Town of Dyer on Facebook

Population: 21,749
The Town of Dyer was recently called one of the best 100 places to live in the U.S. by CNN and Money Magazine 10 years ago, and it doesn’t look like much has changed. They’re hot stuff and they know it.
Just south of Munster, Dyer has some of the highest property values in the state ($205,000), and residents earn nearly $80,000 a year, which is 8th highest in the state. Crime is far below average; Dyer is the 19th safest place in the state.

7. Noblesville

Source: Noblesville Indiana on Facebook

Population: 52,987
No surprises here. Another north Indianapolis suburb, Noblesville has a lot going on. The city ranks in the top 10 when it comes to income levels, home prices and unemployment rates.
Plus, there’s a ton of stuff to do to keep you entertained and cultured if you live here. Meaning people in Noblesville don’t have to go all the way into downtown to have a great time with the family. And they’ll most likely remind you of that fact.

8. Jasper

Source: Jasper Farmers Market on Facebook

Population: 14,982
Jasper has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Jasper has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 3.5% and lowering. And the Jasper police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 6th lowest in the state here.
Jasper is way down on Route 231 by the Hoosier National Forest. Which means lots of outdoor entertainment, too.

9. West Lafayette

West Lafayette City Facebook page

Population: 30,047
If you’ve ever been to Purdue, you know how great West Lafayette is. It has a cute downtown with plenty of shopping and restaurants. Most of the people who live here are educated and motivated to take part in the community.
In terms of the actual numbers, West Lafayette has great neighborhoods with high home values, and crime is in the bottom 20% in the state.

10. Westfield

City of Westfield on Facebook

Population: 30,081
You might not believe it, but Westfield has the second-most expensive homes in Indiana. The average home is valued at more than $250,000. Residents command high salaries, and almost all of them are employed. The crime is some of the lowest in the state here.
Westfield is another northern Indy suburb that thinks it’s got it made. And they’re right.
There You Have It
No surprises on the Indianapolis suburbs ranking so high, but some people might not have expected some of the smaller places we mentioned to be in such great shape. If you’re looking at areas in the Hoosier State with the best economic situations, where there’s low crime and a lot of options for entertainment, this is an accurate list.
Mobile users: Here’s a link to the complete data chart.
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Indiana, according to science. Hopefully you don’t live in one of them.

  1. Gary (Pop. 81,153)
  2. Anderson (Pop. 56,097)
  3. Terre Haute (Pop. 60,850)
  4. Marion (Pop. 30,008)
  5. Michigan City (Pop. 31,442)

Other cities of note:

  1. 50th: Lafayette
  2. 40th best: Indianapolis
  3. 25th best: Bloomington

Also, if you’re curious, we wrote a story, 30 Things That Will Definitely Happen To You When You Move To Indiana, that you might enjoy.
Disclaimer: This article is an opinion based on data. It should not be taken as fact.

City Population Worst Score Rank
Zionsville 23,134 19.25 1
Fishers 76,835 20.08 2
Carmel 80,060 22.17 3
Munster 23,460 26.33 4
Brownsburg 21,749 28.42 5
Dyer 16,283 29.5 6
Noblesville 52,987 30.58 7
Jasper 14,982 30.83 8
West Lafayette 30,047 31.08 9
Westfield 30,081 31.75 10
New Whiteland 5,498 34.42 11
Lawrence 45,779 35.67 12
Dunlap 6,414 35.83 13
Hidden Valley 5,174 37.17 15
Decatur 10,062 36.92 14
Danville 8,981 37.67 16
Nappanee 6,509 37.92 17
Cumberland 5,205 39 18
Columbus 44,306 39.42 19
Granger 29,302 39.75 20
Goshen 31,569 40.17 21
Westville 5,873 40.75 22
Yorktown 9,347 41.08 23
Greenfield 20,545 41.08 23
Mount Vernon 6,677 42 25
Garrett 5,987 42.83 26
Crown Point 27,477 43.08 27
Bloomington 80,440 43.42 28
Bargersville 5,237 43.42 28
Greenwood 50,457 43.42 28
Huntingburg 5,739 43.58 31
Auburn 12,760 44.17 32
Lowell 9,225 44.5 33
Bright 5,517 44.75 34
Washington 11,552 44.83 35
Ellettsville 6,367 45.25 36
Valparaiso 31,347 45.75 37
Chesterton 13,571 46.33 38
Mooresville 9,383 46.5 39
Batesville 6,727 46.83 40
Fort Wayne 253,617 47.08 41
Indianapolis 831,230 47.17 42
Vincennes 18,374 47.58 43
Franklin 23,857 47.83 44
Warsaw 13,620 48 45
Boonville 6,267 48.33 46
Frankfort 16,433 48.75 47
Beech Grove 13,949 49 50
North Manchester 6,017 48.92 49
Avon 12,542 48.83 48
Griffith 16,875 49.25 51
Cedar Lake 11,484 49.33 52
Lafayette 67,302 49.33 52
Tipton 5,094 49.58 54
Jeffersonville 44,683 49.58 54
New Haven 14,624 49.75 56
Clarksville 22,122 50.08 57
Columbia City 8,503 50.42 58
Monticello 5,384 50.92 59
Crawfordsville 15,958 52.58 60
Huntington 17,385 52.75 61
Kokomo 54,402 53 63
Evansville 119,226 52.92 62
Logansport 17,855 53.5 64
Bluffton 9,565 53.5 64
Madison 12,048 53.5 64
Tell City 7,287 55.33 67
Greencastle 10,343 55.92 68
Charlestown 7,607 56.25 69
Angola 8,552 56.5 70
New Albany 36,450 56.75 71
Hartford City 6,207 57.33 72
New Castle 18,066 57.92 73
Greensburg 11,527 58.42 74
Mishawaka 48,107 58.58 75
Martinsville 11,890 59.58 76
Wabash 10,644 59.75 77
Merrillville 35,201 60.33 78
Elkhart 51,293 60.42 79
Kendallville 9,943 60.5 80
Muncie 70,033 60.5 80
Brazil 7,786 61.33 82
Linton 5,408 62.33 83
La Porte 22,077 62.33 83
Hammond 80,658 63.08 85
Hobart 28,933 63.83 86
Alexandria 5,167 65.25 87
Elwood 8,677 66.42 88
Gas City 5,918 67.33 89
North Vernon 6,616 68.58 90
Bedford 13,436 69.25 91
East Chicago 29,789 70.08 92
Connersville 13,479 70.75 93
Lake Station 12596 71.42 94
Lawrenceburg 5023 71.92 95
Michigan City 31442 73.67 96
Marion 30088 74.08 97
Terre Haute 60850 75.5 98
Anderson 56097 76.42 99
Gary 81153 80.75 100

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends. .

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.