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Johanna Workman, Deseret News
<b>Salt Lake City:</b> <br> - 18th best place to live <br> - 19th best place to retire <br> - 29th best moneywise <br> - 46th most educated <br> - 2nd small business jobs <br>
While Utah is pretty great all around, Salt Lake City and Provo seem to be its shining stars. Salt Lake City was ranked 18 — and Provo 35 — in Livability’s 'Top 100 places to live.'

We all have our own reasons for loving Utah — maybe it’s the slopes, diverse dining, or expanding TRAX system — but we’re not the only ones who have noticed.

Many recent studies have highlighted Utah and its cities in their “best of” the U.S. lists, so here are a few.

1. We’re good with money

Salt Lake City is in the top 20 percent when it comes to financial responsibility, according to a WalletHub study. Out of the 150 biggest U.S. cities, Salt Lake City tied for 29th based on income, employment, economic mobility, house prices, commute time, credit scores, emotional and physical wellbeing.

And it pays off, too. Emigration Canyon, Utah’s “most affluent town,” according to Business Insider’s coverage of the most recent American Community survey, has a reported median income of $135,469 and ranks No. 27 out of the wealthiest regions of all 50 states.

2. We are smart

Utah has two of the smartest cities in the country: Provo and Salt Lake City. Well, the most educated, that is. A recent WalletHub study ranked Provo the fourth-most educated city in the country, out of the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Salt Lake City came in at No. 46.

Provo also impressed with the fourth-highest percentage of high school diplomas and second-highest percentage of associate degrees or partial college attendance.

Of course, Provo is a college town, but Logan is the one that took home silver in Livability’s “10 best college towns” report. Its beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, free transit, young population, great food and LDS temple make Logan the second-best spot in the nation for college students. That and Utah State University, of course.

But Utah’s high education rate doesn’t mean it’s unfriendly to those without degrees. Some 41.3 percent of all Utah jobs only require a high school diploma or equivalent, according to a report by economists at the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections. With 512,630 jobs, Utah ties for fifth place in the nation for the highest percentage of these types of jobs.

3. We have a strong job market

Utah has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Logan is the sixth-most employed metropolitan area in the country. Salt Lake City, Provo/Orem, Ogden/Clearfield and St. George are in the top 10 percent as well.

Salt Lake City is the 13th-best city to start a career in, according to WalletHub’s study of the 150 most populated U.S. cities. But if you don’t want to go corporate, Salt Lake City is also ranked second in the nation for small business careers by another WalletHub study. This study analyzed the 100 largest U.S. metropolitans for small business variety, vitality, growth, unemployment, opportunity to population ratio, new hire earnings, disposable income, cost of living and personal well-being. And Provo, although it didn’t crack the top 10 overall, came in at No. 3 for “small business vitality.”

4. We have the best of both worlds

Utah has simultaneously one of the best downtowns of the nation, and one of the best small towns. Livability ranked Provo the fourth-best downtown in the U.S., mentioning its convention center, historical buildings and robust arts community as some of its highlights.

Heber City, on the other hand, is the eighth-best small town in the nation, according to Livability. They cited Heber’s robust tourism, diverse outdoor options, frequent festivals, historic stores and, of course, the Dairy Keen as some of its reasons.

5. Utah basically has everything

Not only was Utah ranked the 11th-safest state by WalletHub, but it’s also been recognized for its weather. For four-season lovers, WalletHub ranked St. George in the top three percent of 600 U.S. cities. Provo and Orem in the top 20 percent. For those who like it more temperate, St. George was ranked in the top five percent — with Provo, Orem, West Valley City, West Jordan and Sandy in the top 30 percent.

While Utah is pretty great all around, Salt Lake City and Provo seem to be its shining stars. Salt Lake City was ranked 18 — and Provo 35 — in Livability’s “Top 100 places to live.” It mentioned Salt Lake City’s strong economy and diverse outdoor activities, along with Provo’s strong tech companies and low commute time. And Salt Lake City got the added recognition of the 19th-best place to retire in WalletHub's study.

Of course, everyone has their own idea of what makes a city great, but whether you like prudent spenders, educated neighbors, employed workers, small communities, or good weather, Utah has it all.