Florida boasts 3 cities on list of best places to live in U.S., Ybor City near top
Ybor City was ranked the second best place to live in the U.S. by Money.com.

ybor city cigar city
It's good to live in Ybor City, Babcock Ranch and Port St. Lucie.

Three Florida cities made the Money.com list of Top 50 best places to live in the U.S., but none of Florida’s major municipalities made the cut.

Money.com compiled the list, which saw two Florida cities ended up in the Top 10. Tampa’s Ybor City district and Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County both finished in the top tier. Money.com used factors such as local economy, affordability, diversity and quality of life to compile the list.

Ybor City in Tampa came in second on the list of best places to live, only behind Metuchen, New Jersey. Ybor City, only a short distance from Tampa Bay, was described as “the cultural epicenter of one of America’s hottest cities.”

Historic character not only helped Ybor City climb to near the top of the list with its background in cigar manufacturing, but urban comforts also played a role in its high ranking. It’s simply easy to get around Ybor City, according to Money.com.

“Ybor is one of the most walkable areas in Tampa and, by Florida standards, has ample public transit options. A free streetcar system connects Ybor to downtown.,” Money.com writers gushed.

The population is about 5,000 people in the historic district of Tampa and the median price for a home is $322,000 while the unemployment rate is 3%.

Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County, also on Florida’s Gulf Coast, was ranked sixth on the list of best places to live in America. A relatively new creation founded in 2017 east of Punta Gorda and the Peace River, Babcock Ranch was highly ranked largely due to its focus on sustainable energy. A portion of the development is also located in Lee County.

“Babcock Ranch is the first completely solar-powered community built on U.S. soil,” noted Money.com, a wealth and finance publication.

While Babcock Ranch is one of dozens of new communities founded in Florida this century, its namesake is at least rooted in Florida history. Its moniker takes the name from Edward Vose Babcock, who was a lumber industry leader in Florida in the early 1900s.

Babcock Ranch has just more than 5,000 residents, a median home price of $464,800 and a 3.3% unemployment rate.

Port St. Lucie, on Florida’s Atlantic Coast and virtually directly across the state from Babcock Ranch, was ranked 46th on the Money.com list of best places to live in the U.S. The St. Lucie County town is also the biggest city from the Sunshine State on the list, with about 232,000 people residing in the Treasure Coast town.

But the sprawling city, virtually right in the middle between Palm Beach County to the south and the Space Coast’s Brevard County to the north, has more and more people moving to the municipality every year. Money.com noted that such movement means Port. St. Lucie has thriving commercial growth.

“Port St. Lucie’s booming economic growth has led to the development of what the city calls the Jobs Corridor, a 3.5-mile stretch of land that runs parallel to I-95,” Money.com noted.

The median price tag for a house in Port St. Lucie is $449,000 and the unemployment rate stands at 3.5%.

No other state had more than three cities on the Money.com list except for Arkansas, which boasted four towns in the Top 50 best places to live in America.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


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