Jefferson City ranks among best state capitals to live in

Boasting rich histories, a wide variety of jobs and their status as the places where some of the state's biggest milestones take place, state capitals are attracting more and more residents -- and a new ranking of them puts Jefferson City near the top.

Missouri's capital came in as the eighth best state capital to live in by SmartAsset's latest annual ranking, though it came in first in a couple of important areas.

"Jefferson City, Missouri ranks first for both its low June 2022 unemployment rate (1.8 percent) and estimated cost of living for an individual ($21,110)," the report read. "For those settling down in the city, residents can expect to pay roughly 60 percent of their annual income on a down payment and have roughly $45,000 left after housing costs annually."

The city's low cost of living is around $15,000 less than the highest cost of living for any state capital, which goes to Boston, Massachusetts, at roughly $36,400.

The capitals were scored in several areas: employment and education, affordability, and leisure and safety. Jefferson City scored 72.51, 77.23 and 31.28 in those categories, respectively, for an overall index ranking of 60.34.

Jefferson City has moved up the list compared to previous iterations of the report, having come in at No. 15 for 2020's and 2021's rankings with an 80.20 for affordability, 49.65 for employment and education, and 35.52 leisure and safety with an overall score of 55.15.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrier Tergin said these higher scores and the substantial rank improvement show just how hard the community works to create a vibrant and flourishing city.

"It makes us proud to live in the capital, and we know the hard work that goes into making this a great place to live really does have great outcomes," Tergin said. "I think this is something for our Capital City to be proud of."

Capitals for states in the Midwest took half of the top spots in the ranking, ranking high for the most affordable locations as well as the best in terms of employment and education. The rest of the top 10 spots went to northwestern and western state capitals.

Employment and education scores were based on the areas' June unemployment rates, five-year change in income and high school graduation rates. Affordability was based on income after housing costs, down payment to income ratios and the estimated annual cost of living for an individual, while leisure and safety was based on the concentration of dining and entertainment venues and crime rates.

Data was pulled from several sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, county health rankings and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2020 Five-Year American Community Survey.

The report noted the number of people moving across state lines has been increasing: Around 4.2 million people moved from one state to another between 2019-20, while 4.4. million made the move between 2020-21, according to the report.

Tergin said rankings such as this one were great draws for people seeking a new home in a great community.

"It just goes to show what we here in Jefferson City already know: that we live in a fantastic community," Tergin said. "We're really accomplishing that goal of making it a great place to live for everyone and a place that's sought after by others when it comes to things like cost of living and other important factors."

Read the full report at