Living in a happy space

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Do you love waking up to your current view? You might want to take another look, because a woman’s overall happiness and well-being are directly linked to where she chooses to live her life, according to a recent project of the Social Science Research Council called Measure of America.

What pulls women into a certain city over the other? Safe, healthy or high-earning cities are often cited in data, but it is usually not just one of those attributes that determines the best cities for women. The study states that basic indicators such as health, income and education are important factors but these are often combined with a woman’s age, culture, marital status, ethnicity, race and more in order to get the most accurate picture of which cities account for a woman’s well-being. When we consider overall quality of life in the United States, which cities stand out (and stand up!) for women?

Washington, D.C., sees women who earn some of the most money and who have the highest level of education. Measure of America also states, “Education is a vital proponent of deciding what to do and who to be. It broadens possibilities and allows for acquisition of skills.” The diversity of the city also plays into the education component, encouraging a dynamic community of women to excel. Our nation’s capital city also boasts a unique location, welcoming all four seasons and making it easy to find a weekend getaway to other beautiful surrounding towns; beaches and mountains, and like-minded thriving cities are just a day trip away.

San Jose, California, is no underdog when it comes to being a great city for women. While the area receives notoriety for its booming tech business, there’s more to it. It is one of the highest-paying cities for females, with a median income of $56,499. And healthy women are at their highest in this California city. A mind-boggling 84 percent of San Jose residents exercise, only 8 percent of women smoke and their average life span is three years longer than the national average.
While coastal cities continually top the quality-of-life lists for women, the Midwest shines when it comes to opportunities for working women specifically. Second only to Chicago in largest economies in the Midwest, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area has created environments that support women in the workforce and it offers the unique benefit of “two cities in one.” The Twin Cities’ education system rivals the best in the nation, offering top-quality experiences for women pursuing college-level or higher-level education, or seeking schools for families and children. It leads the country in both civic engagement and volunteering, two elements that do not go unnoticed when accounting for a woman’s overall well-being and sense of connectedness to community. In addition, it is considered one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world, according to both Mercer and RelocateAmerica. Just take a stroll through Minneapolis or St. Paul and you’ll admire an abundance of walking and bike paths, trees and lakes and an effort to secure local business. Plus, no sales tax on clothing!

Another city without sales tax? Portland, Oregon. Monocle, a London-based global affairs and lifestyle magazine, compiled a survey that showed Portland “topped its neighbor Seattle because of its ‘innovative and creative residents.’” In 2013, the median home price in Portland was $242,000, much lower than Seattle’s median price of $400,000. Portland routinely makes an appearance on lists of the top cities for mass transit in the country. Its comprehensive transportation system is a great alternative solution if you do not own a vehicle or have not yet taken Portland up on its bicycling trend. And with 33 dog parks, it was named the number one U.S. city for dogs.

It’s no secret that Denver has been seeing a population boom over the last three to five years. It seems that everywhere you look the popular Colorado city is leading the nation in something new. And the downtown area, growing at five times the national rate, is just the start of what makes the Mile High City a great place for women. What else exceeds the national average? Denver’s physically active residents. Nearly 80 percent of Denver dwellers report a “tough workout” in the preceding month, which could be considered a no-brainer with the vast number of trails, hikes and nature activities the terrain offers. The city’s park system features 6,200 acres of park space, 29 recreation centers and more than 300 athletic fields. Like D.C., Denver consists of highly educated women who feel comfortable in a city that offers an array of suitable housing options at low mortgage rates and rent prices.

So if you’re ready to change the view from your front window and possibly also your life, these and other cities may be great choices for you! HLM

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