Raleigh ranked top U.S. city for quality of life: poll

Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette (R) and Bret Hedican (L) hold onto the Stanley Cup as they wave to fans during a parade held in honor of the team's NHL Championship series win over the Edmonton Oilers in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, June 21, 2006. REUTERS/Ellen Ozier

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Raleigh, North Carolina surpassed Washington, Seattle and Boston to be named the American city with the best quality of life in a new poll.

It scored top marks in the survey by the website that ranked 67 metropolitan areas with healthy economies on cost of living, housing stocks, educational systems and traffic.

“There are several factors that pushed Raleigh to the top of the list, with it being the only major market that’s expanding and growing at a rapid pace, resulting in a metropolitan increase of 37 percent since 2000,’ said G. Scott Thomas, a demographer who created the analysis.

“Raleigh has a well-educated workforce and an impressive supply of high-level jobs, not to mention its low unemployment rate and its impressive array of big houses,” he added in a statement.

Washington came second in the survey, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, Bridgeport-Stamford in Connecticut and Salt Lake City.

Bakersfield and Fresno in California came in at the very bottom of the list because their high poverty rate and low scores in the major categories.

“Bakersfield has the highest poverty rate of any major market, as well as the lightest concentration of management and professional jobs, weakest inventory of big houses, and smallest percentages in the three educational categories that track adults with high school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees,” Thomas explained.

New Orleans and Memphis also scored low in the poll, while Denver came in at No. 6, followed by Seattle, Boston, Austin and San Jose, which rounded out the top 10.

Washington D.C had the highest percentage of the population with management and professional jobs. But Omaha had the shortest commuting times to work, with an average of 19.3 minutes, while New York City had the longest with 34.5 minutes.