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For the second year in a row, Jefferson City ranked in the top third of capital cities to live in, largely due to how affordable it is to live in Missouri's Capital City.

Annually, SmartAsset, which provides financial advice and education through its websites, ranks the best state capitals to live in based on three categories: employment and education, affordability and livability.

For 2020 and 2021, Jefferson City ranked at No. 15.

"I think it's always good to see when we are included in a comparison such as this," Mayor Carrie Tergin said. "I think that while we already know what a great city it is to live in, it's always good to have that affirmation of seeing the statistics and knowing that we do rank well."

Overall, Jefferson City scored the highest in affordability with 80.20 and received the second highest affordability score out of the state capitals. Pierre, South Dakota received the highest.

Affordability considers income after housing costs and down payment-to-income ratio based on the 2019 Five-Year American Community Survey, which is part of the Census Bureau. It also considers estimated cost of living based on the MIT cost-of-living calculator.

Jefferson City scored lower in the other two categories: 49.65 in employment and education, and 35.52 in livability.

The first looks at unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, income growth from the 2014 and 2019 Five-Year American Community Survey, and high school graduation rate from the 2021 County Health Rankings.

Livability looks at dining and entertainment from the 2019 County Business Patterns survey, hours worked per week from the 2019 Five-Year American Community Survey, and violent and property crime rates from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Overall, Jefferson City scored a 55.15.

Tergin said the rankings did not surprise her.

"I'm not surprised that we ranked well on affordability and livability overall," she said. "While those things may be hard to quantify, I think if people actually come to Jefferson City or those of us that are familiar with it on a daily basis, they would know that we absolutely rank very well on that. Livability is something that we strive to encompass in our city."

This kind of ranking matters, Tergin said, because they come up when people look into moving to Jefferson City or Missouri.

"How favorable those capitals are often reflects on the state, too," she said. "I think that can be good if people are making considerations on where to either live or work or do business or visit."

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