Money Magazine Favors Alabama With Another Top 100 Listing

By: Mike Manosky

by Mike Manosky

Recently, Money magazine released its annual Top 100 list of Best Places To Live in the U.S. This much anticipated list underscores cities across America that portray exceptional qualities in the areas of income, auto insurance premiums, education, quality of life, leisure and culture, weather, health and real estate. Alabama, not surprisingly, made the list again.

Helena, Alabama ranked 91st on the 2007 Top 100 being cited for low insurance rates and low state income taxes among other favorable traits. In 2006, Hoover, Alabama was ranked 75th on the Money list and was hailed for higher than average annual median family income as well as greater than average family purchasing power.

Living in Huntsville, I thought it would be interesting to compare my hometown to the top winners in order to see how it fared.

State Income Tax Rate

Huntsville has a lower than average state income tax range falling between 2% and 5% compared to the Top 100 average of 2.74% and 6.46%.

Auto Insurance Premiums

Huntsville beat the Top 100 average by over $200 per year with the Best Places average being $2,121 and Huntsville's average hovering at $1,897.

Huntsville Real Estate

Huntsville had impressive standings with its real estate assessment. Basing its information on 2004-2005 figures, Money reported the average price of Huntsville real estate at $193,669. The Best Places average (for a comparable sized home) was almost double at $359,352. The average property tax bill was a meager $491 while the Top 100 average was over $3,500.

Crime

Boasting almost half the number of personal crime incidences per year than the Best Places average, Huntsville follows suit with a property crime rate that is nearly one-third less than the average.

Significantly shorter commute times, a diverse population, exceptional employment opportunities and other favorable traits also align Huntsville with many cities currently or previously on the Top 100.

If you're considering a place to relocate to, Huntsville certainly deserves a closer look. With a hometown feel, beautiful seasonal changes and prominent military installations, you'll find this city may rank better for your needs than any others on any list.

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