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What do 3 million Utah residents know that we don't? They know that the Beehive State has some of the best places to live in America.
And lucky for you, HomeSnacks has uncovered the top ten best places to live in Utah for 2021.
How'd we do this? We looked at Utah places with 5,000 or more residents. We took into account home prices, household income, education, and safety. Our conclusion, Utah is the land of plenty, you just have to know where to look. Not surprising, our top ten best places really brought their A-game. We can thank some of Utah's best places to live for Frito Lay and Skywest Airlines. And we can thank the other half for higher education institutions like The University of Utah and Brigham Young for educating the future of those companies.
So, what does it take to live in Utah's best of the best places? We suggest a good job. And the jobs that are keeping median incomes high and Utah's best places to live safe and enjoyable are in the medical field and education. More importantly, these jobs are keeping Utah's unemployment rate at 3% as well as one of the top ten least dangerous states in the country.
Have we piqued your interest? If so, keep reading.
The best places on our list are the best because the people in these places take affordable real estate, high incomes, and safe neighborhoods very seriously.
However, there can only be one number one best place to live in Utah, and that would be Mapleton. Mapleton also made our number one best Utah place to retire to for 2021. Coincidence? We think not. Mapleton has great people, amazing parks, gold star restaurants, and great shopping.
To see Utah's other best of the best places, take a look below. And if you don't find your favorite there, head to the bottom.
For more Utah reading, check out:
The 10 Best Places To Live In Utah For 2021
Situated on the majestic foothills of Sierra Bonita Mountain 10 miles southeast of Provo, Mapleton comes in as the best place to call home in Utah. 60% of the land in Mapleton is undeveloped, so you can expect property values to keep rising here (they went up 5% last year alone). Mapleton is a warm and welcoming community that loves to party. For evidence of this statement, just come to the Pioneer Day celebration in summer, for incredible food and an out-of-this-world fireworks show.
Mapleton knows how to keep things civil; it ranks among Utah's safest cities, with crime being 75% less common than your typical city in Utah. Seeing as crime and poverty go hand-in-hand, that peaceful vibe seems to be fostered by a ridiculously low poverty rate of 2.2%, the 3rd lowest statewide. Homes in Mapleton may be the 7th priciest in the state, but having the 5th highest median household income at $112,730/year helps offset that cost in a big way.
A rural farming community located 20 minutes south of Provo, Salem comes in as the 2nd best place to live in Utah. If you need a breath of fresh air, there's nowhere better than Salem Pond, a serene spot for fishing, birdwatching, and picnicking, complete with walking trails and a playground. Come August, be ready to don your party face, because the week-long Salem Days is a non-stop celebration of Salem's community.
Salem is nicknamed the City of Peace, and it's easy to see why; Salem has the lowest crime rate in Utah, with only one violent crime being reported in the last year of available data. Unemployment and poverty rates hover around 3%, so you know everyone gets a piece of the pie here. A pretty big piece, actually, when you consider that the median household income in Salem is $98,750/year.
It may have been a silver medalist last year, but in 2021, Farmington takes the top spot for best place to live in Utah. Situated on Interstate 15 between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Farmington's a great city for just about everyone. It topped our list of the best cities for families in Utah, thanks in part to its 9.5/10 education score. More importantly (for the kids, anyway), Farmington is home to Lagoon Amusement Park, with over 60 thrilling rides and a water park. And even the most voracious shopaholic will meet their match at Station Park, an outdoor mall with shopping and restaurants galore.
The poverty rate in Farmington is just 2.1% and the unemployment rate is a very low 2.5%. Farmington is also safe and the cost of living is relatively low, besides housing. Homes in Farmington are around $386,500 and property values went up nearly 10% just last year, so there's no time like the present if you're thinking of moving here.
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $448,800 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.3% (2nd best)
More on Midway: Real Estate
People may flock to Midway to take a dip in its epic geothermal spring, the Homestead Crater, but there are plenty of other reasons to head to one of Utah's best places to live. About an hour away from Salt Lake City, this area has a population that is incredibly well taken care of. The city of 5,035 has the 2nd lowest levels of unemployment in the state and ranks 3rd in Utah for the number of residents with health insurance.
A consistent source of income means covering the cost of the typical home in Midway, which comes in at $448,800, is not a problem. It is even more manageable when you bring in the area's median household income of $87,394. Plus, adults are not the only ones who benefit from calling this city home, so do youngsters. GreatSchools gives two elementary schools in the community high ratings. So, parents can settle down in different parts of town and know the future still looks bright for their little ones.
We don't go handing out 10/10 SnackAbility scores to just any old city; they have to have a solid market for jobs and housing, safe streets, excellent schools, and be affordable. That's just what you get with Kaysville, a city between Salt Lake City and Ogden. Kaysville's crime rate is about 65% below the national average and ranks as the 8th lowest in Utah. Unemployment and poverty rates are sub-4%. Schools have a student-teacher ratio 35% better than the statewide average. And rent in Kaysville costs just $948/month, the lowest you'll find on this list and substantially lower than the average rent in Utah.
All of these factors came into play when we named Kaysville Utah's best city for retirement. Plus, when it's time to have the grandkids over for a visit, having Cherry Hill Waterpark in the neighborhood is an extra treat.
Located in the Utah Valley between Salt Lake City and Provo, Highland ranks as Utah's 6th best city. Here you'll find a quiet, tight-knit vibe with one-acre minimum lot sizes, keeping the residential areas decidedly suburban. You'll also find the youngest locals of anywhere on this list, with a median age of 24. These young-uns are super smart, seeing as around 60% of residents have a bachelor's degree, and nearly a quarter of folks have a master's, PhD, or professional degree. That kind of educational success doesn't happen overnight; Highland's public schools are some of the best in Utah and have achieved the 10th lowest high school dropout rate statewide.
The poverty rate in Highland sits at a measly 2.7% and 95.9% of residents have health insurance, the 20th highest rate in Utah. Fair warning: no city on this list has a higher cost of living than Highland, which outstrips the statewide index by over 30%. Housing is especially expensive; just about double Utah's average price. The median rent in Highland is $1,655/month and homes sell for around $559,600. Luckily, Highland residents also have the highest median household income in the state at $139,453/year.
Nestled between the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake, Syracuse offers a diverse economy, family-oriented community, and a beautiful natural setting. As for the last point, Syracuse is the gateway to Antelope Island State Park, which has backcountry trails for bikers, hikers, and horseback riders, along with several campsites and sandy beaches. Look out for bison, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and antelope while you're here.
Rent in Syracuse is pretty expensive at $1,514/month, but over 90% of residents own their homes, which are moderately priced at around $316,200. Why would someone choose to settle down in Syracuse? Well a crazy low 2.3% unemployment rate, a high rate of health insurance coverage (96.8%), and the 5th lowest crime rate in Utah are just some reasons, off the top of my head.
A popular bedroom community of Salt Lake City, South Jordan's population has ballooned by nearly 50% in the last decade. Sure, having the capital as a neighbor is a big draw, but South Jordan's got plenty going for it on its own. There's Oquirrh Lake for anglers of every ability, The District, a mixed-use development where you'll find entertainment and restaurants aplenty, and more parks than you can shake a stick at.
We just hope you're comfortable kicking it with the state's elite, because South Jordan is one of Utah's richest cities, with a median household income of $104,597/year. Unemployment is sub-2%, and the poverty rate sits at 2.7%. And the city's tax dollars go to all the right places, seeing as South Jordan's school district spends 25% more per student than the statewide average. Just be prepared for housing costs over 50% higher than your typical city in Utah.
We're wrapping our tour of Utah's best of the best with Centerville, a city of 17,404 just 15 minutes north of Salt Lake City. Being next to the state's capital comes with obvious perks; weekend trips to Temple Square are a real treat, for example. But Centerville has its own culture as well. You can catch a local production at the Centerpoint Legacy Theatre and history buffs can learn about the region's heritage at the Whitaker Museum.
At 36, Centerville has the oldest median age of cities on this list. That doesn't mean they don't support the next generation, though. On the contrary, Centerville's school district spends 15% more per student than the statewide average. That love of learning doesn't disappear after high school either; about half of Centerville's residents have a college degree, and nearly 20% have a master's degree or higher as well. The median household income in Centerville is $93,344/year and a typical home sells for $321,700. Both of those numbers went up by around 5% since last year, so things just keep getting better in Centerville.
Bountiful is a city that certainly lives up to its name, so it is no surprise it landed a spot on this list. The 43,901 residents here have it good on multiple levels -- from the cultural experiences offered by the Bountiful Davis Art Center to the numerous schools that score above average ratings from GreatSchools and everything in between.
A major perk of residing here is proximity to the state's capital, which sits just south of the city. You might run into some traffic getting in and out of Salt Lake City though. But those who work within Bountiful have the luxury of avoiding a seemingly never-ending commute, getting to and from their jobs in just 21 minutes.
The paychecks they bring home are far from shabby too. Members of this community earn a median household income of $77,823, which is the kind of dough you want in your bank account when homes in your area often come with a price tag of $316,300.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Utah
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit cities with populations over 100,000 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities -- Populations over 5,000
- Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000
This left us with 81 cities, 72 towns, and 137 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Utah have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Utah
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Utah across a number of criteria from one to 81, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Utah".
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Utah? That would be Mapleton.
If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Utah.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mapleton at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Utah
If you're looking at areas in Utah with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Mapleton made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Utah for 2021.
Best Towns To Live In Utah
- Hyde Park (Pop. 4,277)
- Mendon (Pop. 1,183)
- Mountain Green (Pop. 3,113)
- Midway (Pop. 4,468)
- River Heights (Pop. 2,059)
- Vineyard (Pop. 1,673)
- Morgan (Pop. 3,951)
- Millville (Pop. 2,014)
- Silver Summit (Pop. 4,245)
- Emigration Canyon (Pop. 1,772)
Best Small Towns To Live In Utah
- West Wood (Pop. 599)
- Wallsburg (Pop. 261)
- Peoa (Pop. 145)
- Aurora (Pop. 868)
- Woodland (Pop. 171)
- Eden (Pop. 832)
- Riverside (Pop. 554)
- Charleston (Pop. 568)
- Peter (Pop. 427)
- Fayette (Pop. 333)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Utah according to the data:
- Ogden (Pop. 86,833)
- Roosevelt (Pop. 7,041)
- South Salt Lake (Pop. 25,017)
For more Utah reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Utah
- Richest Cities In Utah
- Safest Places In Utah
- Worst Places To Live In Utah