State capitals are oftentimes thriving cities with a lot of economic and cultural value. In fact, they can be some of the best places to live in America. But not all state capitals are created equal. WalletHub has put together a list of 2018’s Best State Capitals to live in. And though 17 of them are the largest cities in their states, the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life.

In order to determine which state capitals make the best homes, WalletHub compared all 50 across 51 key indicators of affordability, economic strength, quality of education and health, and overall living standards. Our data set ranges from cost of living to K–12 school-system quality to number of attractions.

Best State Capitals to Live In

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Boise, ID
  4. Lincoln, NE
  5. Bismarck, ND
  6. Raleigh, NC
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Salt Lake City, UT
  9. Juneau, AK
  10. Concord, NH
  11.  Columbus, OH
  12. Helena, MT
  13. Olympia, WA
  14. Oklahoma City, OK
  15. St. Paul, MN
  16. Cheyenne, WY
  17. Montpelier, VT
  18. Pierre, SD
  19. Des Moines, IA
  20. Phoenix, AZ

Pictured above: Columbus, OH waterfront; Oklahoma City, OK

Out of these places:

  • Juneau, Alaska, has the highest median household income (adjusted for cost of living), $67,310, which is 2.6 times higher than in Hartford, Connecticut, the city with the lowest at $26,264.
  • Bismarck, North Dakota, has the lowest unemployment rate, 1.7 percent, which is 4.6 times lower than in Hartford, Connecticut, the city with the highest at 7.8 percent.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, has the lowest share of state-, local- and federal-government employees, 8.4 percent, which is 4.6 times lower than in Juneau, Alaska, the city with the highest at 38.4 percent.
  • Madison, Wisconsin has the highest share of adults 25 years and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, 56.3 percent, which is 4.7 times higher than in Trenton, New Jersey, the city with the lowest at 11.9 percent.

For the full story, and the entire list of best small cities, visit WalletHub.com.

Phoneix, AZ

Denver, CO