September 20, 2021
High praise for Lower Merion.
The Philadelphia suburb of 61,535 residents was Pennsylvania's only representative on Money Magazine's latest list of the 50 best places to live in the United States, ranking No. 37. Lower Merion's appearance on the rankings marks the second year in a row that Montgomery County has produced a top-50 town after Abington was the No. 19 best place to live in 2020.
Working alongside data analysts at Witlytic, a team of two editors and six writers at Money selected Lower Merion from a field of roughly 1,300 cities. The magazine staff said they considered nearly 100 different metrics organized into nine categories: Cost of living, economic opportunity, diversity, education, fun (aka: amenities), health and safety, housing market, income and personal finances and quality of life.
Here's what Money's Leslie Cook, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, had to say about Lower Merion.
History and art are important aspects of life in Lower Merion. You can walk the grounds of the historic Barnes House or travel to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia to view the art collection. There’s also plenty of family-friendly activities, such as the Ardmore Rock ‘N Ride, an all-day block party featuring the Main Line Bike Race plus live music and a family fun zone featuring mini golf and pop-up skate park.
Schools are highly rated, with Lower Merion High School (Kobe Bryant’s alma mater) considered one of the best in Pennsylvania. Colleges of note include Bryn Mawr, Rosemont College and Haverford (partly in Lower Merion).
As a well-to-do suburb of Philadelphia, the median home prices are higher than most cities on our list ($603,970) but within range of the median household income, which is $139,694 (also higher than most on our list).
Money's staff created its field of 1,300 contenders by eliminating cities with populations of less than 25,000 residents or more than 500,000 residents. Cities where "the crime risk is more than 1.5x the national average" were not considered, as well as cities with declining populations, "effectively no ethnic diversity" and median income levels lower than their state's median income.
In the end, a Minneapolis suburb reigned supreme. Chanhassen, Minnesota, was named Money's best place to live, followed by Carmel, Indiana, Franklin, Tennessee, Flower Mound, Texas, and Ashburn, Virginia.
At No. 50, Paramus, Bergen County, is New Jersey's only representative on the list.