CITYWIDE — Santa Monica has been named one of the top 100 best places to live by, a website that ranks quality of life and travel amenities of America’s small and mid-sized cities.

The list is the result of a months-long study of U.S. cities and the factors that make them better places to live, work and play. Livability partnered with the Martin Prosperity Institute, a think tank focusing on the role of location, place and city-regions in global economic prosperity, according to a news release.

“This is the first time we have focused on measures for specific cities instead of metropolitan regions,” said Kevin Stolarick, research director at the institute. “While getting consistent, reliable data at the cities level had its challenges, the results were worth the effort.”

Students at PS1: Pluralistic School play a game of mathematical hot potato. The quality of education was one reason Santa Monica made a list of the 100 best cities in which to live. (File photo)

Santa Monica, which was ranked 44th, scored highest in the education (87) and amenities (83) categories, and lowest in the housing (39) category.

The city by the sea was comprised of a mostly younger population of renters who were single, mostly white, had college degrees and worked white collar jobs, according to the report.

Santa Monicans were considered “super spenders” when it came to entertainment, and “extra spenders” on food, health and utilities, according to the website.

The median home price was listed at $924,500 and the median household income was $70,174, according to Gross rent for a two-bedroom was $1,679.

Santa Monica was sandwiched in between Tempe, Ariz. and Columbia, Mo. in the report’s rankings.

Palo Alto, Calif. ranked at the top of the list, followed by Boulder, Colo., and Berkeley, Calif.

Livability recruited Ipsos Public Affairs, a leading market research firm, to conduct a survey to find out what quality-of-life amenities residents value most. Respondents were asked about factors that make their communities better places to live, as well as the factors they would consider in selecting another city.

Those factors were narrowed down to eight categories — economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and healthcare — that were used to score and rank cities. Researchers narrowed their field to small-to-mid-sized cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000 before collecting data for each city from a wide range of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Walkscore and

“Great cities are more than just a check-list of bars, coffee shops and museums,” said editor Matt Carmichael. “Our goal was to collect the best data available, from the best sources and the best partners to gauge the true measures of livability. Access was important, but so were utilization and affordability. By using data from the public sector, the private sector and non-profits focused on these issues, we have compiled an Index that celebrates America’s great cities and towns.”

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