California is a big state with some of the best small American cities around, including several in the Tri-Valley, according to a new survey by WalletHub.
The personal finance website's 2019 Best Small Cities in America list selected cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000, and "considered only the 'city proper' in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area," according to the report. More than 1,200 cities across the country were compared, based on five key factors: affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life and safety.
Those five dimensions were then evaluated using 42 key indicators of livability, ranging from housing costs and quality of education to restaurants per capita. Each indicator was individually graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the conditions most favored among small-city residents.
Among the 50 best small cities to live in California that were named, Pleasanton made the No. 2 spot just behind Los Altos, and Dublin, Livermore and Danville also landed in the top 10 -- taking 4th, 9th and 10th place -- while San Ramon ranked No. 19. Wasco was ranked the state's worst small city. Overall, the Tri-Valley cities ranked nationally in the 88th to 98th percentile.
Suburban living has been making a comeback, which the study's authors attributed to the desire for a roomier, slower-paced lifestyle: "Small-city life can be best for those who appreciate more wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes, to name just a few advantages."
Some drawbacks, however, were also noted: "These little urban areas demand some tradeoffs, too, such as fewer restaurant options or shorter business hours."