Livability.com — a website that investigates and showcases what makes small and mid-sized American cities great to reside in — ranked Santa Barbara fourth in its 2016 list of “Top 100 Best Places to Live.” It is a 12-place improvement for “the American Riviera” over last year’s ranking.
The site, which partners with prominent urbanist Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo of NYU’s Initiative for Creativity and Innovation in Cities program, cited a vibrant tourist scene, strong schools, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a healthy, technology-oriented economy among the city’s noteworthy qualities. According to Livability.com, Santa Barbara’s median household income is about $65,000, while the median home price is a whopping $832,000 — second only to Palo Alto in the top 20.
Livability.com focuses on cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 (according to the site, Santa Barbara has just over 89,000 residents) and takes into consideration factors such as a city’s economy, transportation system, education, housing, and sustainability. Rounding out the top five were Rochester, Minnesota; Bellevue, Washington; Madison, Wisconsin; and Boulder, Colorado.
Also on the list, for the second year in a row, is Goleta, which came in at No. 87. An engaged citizenry, housing options, its parks and preserves, and UCSB’s presence all contributed to the 30,000-person city’s recognition as a great place to live.