Dogs have their Best in Show. Cars, investments, and students vie for Best in Class. This year, MONEY is adding a new category to our “Best Places to Live” franchise: Best in State. They’re the top dogs in 49 states, as judged by the same economic and lifestyle factors we use to select our overall winner. That 49 is not a typo: This year’s “Best Places” list focuses on communities with at least 50,000 residents. Burlington, the biggest city in Vermont, comes up a few thousand short.
One reason we’ve added this Best in State list is to help people who live in (most) every state find a new and perhaps better hometown that’s relatively close to their current one. The other reason is perhaps less useful, but it’s more fun: bragging rights.