There is no getting around it: The suburbs of Austin are bustling with activity. Leander ends up in a huge entertainment hub, and Round Rock ranks among the fastest growing cities. Now, Cedar Park shines as one of America’s best small towns for 2020.
The list comes from the WalletHub personal finance website, which looked at 1,200 US cities with 25,000 to 100,000 residents for the study. The rankings in five individual categories – affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life and safety – were combined into a total number of points and then rated with a percentage.
“Given the large sample of cities ranked in this study, we have grouped cities by percentile. The 99th percentile represents the top 1 percent of small towns in America,” the report said.
In that 99th percentile, which is also at the top of the list, is Cedar Park, the number 9 best small town in the United States. Unparalleled growth across the board contributes to their top position. From 2014 to 2018, Cedar Park’s population grew 25 percent. At the same time, incomes rose by 28 percent and jobs by 29 percent.
Eighteen other cities, including two in Texas, join Cedar Park in the top 1 percent. Sugar Land, just outside Houston, ranks 5th overall, and Southlake, an affluent DFW suburb, ranks 8th.
Sugar Land ranks first with a few placements and ranks top for population growth – 43 percent from 2014 to 2018 – and employment growth – 41 percent over the same period.
Southlake competes with Sugar Land with its own first place. Ranked 23rd for income growth, it also has the highest median income on the list – $ 230,700 – and comes first in housing costs, which means a big paycheck can go pretty far.