25 US cities where housing is affordable, people work less, and there's plenty to do

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  • Work-life balance can be hard to achieve, but it partly depends on where you live.
  • SmartAsset recently released a report ranking the 25 American cities with the best work-life balance.
  • Midwestern cities took the top three spots in the ranking.

Work-life balance is an equilibrium many chase forever, but it can be easier to achieve in some places than others.

SmartAsset recently released a report on the US cities with the best work-life balance. It looked at 10 metrics across the 100 biggest cities in the country using data from the US Census Bureau. This included concentrations of entertainment establishments, restaurants, and bars; the average weeks and hours worked per year; the unemployment and labor force participation rates; housing as a percentage of income; average commute time; and percentage of workers with a commute longer than one hour.

To determine the final list, SmartAsset then ranked each city in each metric and found each city's average ranking. The unemployment ranking was given a double weight, while the average weeks worked and average hours worked were given a half weight.

According to its findings, Midwestern states have the best cities for work-life balance - they took the top three spots in the ranking. Only three coastal states, plus Hawaii, had cities that made the top 25.

See the top 25 cities for work-life balance below, ranked from worst to best.

We included housing affordability, shown as the median housing costs as a percent of income for the median full-time worker; average weeks worked per year; and entertainment density, which is the percent of all establishments dedicated to arts, entertainment, or recreation.

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25. Seattle, Washington

25. Seattle, Washington

Percent of income spent on housing: 28.4%

Average weeks worked per year: 39

Entertainment density: 1.8%

23 (TIE). Minneapolis, Minnesota

23 (TIE). Minneapolis, Minnesota

Percent of income spent on housing: 26.7%

Average weeks worked per year: 38.6

Entertainment density: 1.8%

23 (TIE). Austin, Texas

23 (TIE). Austin, Texas

Percent of income spent on housing: 31.5%

Average weeks worked per year: 38.4

Entertainment density: 2%

21 (TIE). Raleigh, North Carolina

21 (TIE). Raleigh, North Carolina

Percent of income spent on housing: 29.5%

Average weeks worked per year: 37.8

Entertainment density: 1.6%

21 (TIE). Louisville, Kentucky

21 (TIE). Louisville, Kentucky

Percent of income spent on housing: 24.2%

Average weeks worked per year: 36.2

Entertainment density: 1.7%

20. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

20. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Percent of income spent on housing: 22.9%

Average weeks worked per year: 35

Entertainment density: 1.7%

19. Scottsdale, Arizona

19. Scottsdale, Arizona

Percent of income spent on housing: 25.6%

Average weeks worked per year: 37.6

Entertainment density: 1.3%

18. Richmond, Virginia

18. Richmond, Virginia

Percent of income spent on housing: 27.8%

Average weeks worked per year: 33.4

Entertainment density: 1.8%

17. Durham, North Carolina

17. Durham, North Carolina

Percent of income spent on housing: 25.9%

Average weeks worked per year: 36.1

Entertainment density: 1.7%

16. St. Paul, Minnesota

16. St. Paul, Minnesota

Percent of income spent on housing: 29.3%

Average weeks worked per year: 36.5

Entertainment density: 1.8%

15. Honolulu, Hawaii

15. Honolulu, Hawaii

Percent of income spent on housing: 37.4%

Average weeks worked per year: 37.5

Entertainment density: 1.2%

14. Wichita, Kansas

14. Wichita, Kansas

Percent of income spent on housing: 24.6%

Average weeks worked per year: 35.5

Entertainment density: 1.4%

13. Corpus Christi, Texas

13. Corpus Christi, Texas

Percent of income spent on housing: 27.9%

Average weeks worked per year: 34.7

Entertainment density: 1.3%

12. Cincinnati, Ohio

12. Cincinnati, Ohio

Percent of income spent on housing: 22.4%

Average weeks worked per year: 36

Entertainment density: 1.5%

11. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

11. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Percent of income spent on housing: 24.4%

Average weeks worked per year: 32.3

Entertainment density: 1.6%

10. Nashville, Tennessee

10. Nashville, Tennessee

Percent of income spent on housing: 31.1%

Average weeks worked per year: 38

Entertainment density: 4.4%

9. Reno, Nevada

9. Reno, Nevada

Percent of income spent on housing: 27.9%

Average weeks worked per year: 37.8

Entertainment density: 2%

8. Columbus, Ohio

8. Columbus, Ohio

Percent of income spent on housing: 27.6%

Average weeks worked per year: 36.6

Entertainment density: 1.3%

7. Lubbock, Texas

7. Lubbock, Texas

Percent of income spent on housing: 30.3%

Average weeks worked per year: 34.3

Entertainment density: 1.2%

6. Lexington, Kentucky

6. Lexington, Kentucky

Percent of income spent on housing: 25.8%

Average weeks worked per year: 36.4

Entertainment density: 1.9%

5. Boise, Idaho

5. Boise, Idaho

Percent of income spent on housing: 26.6%

Average weeks worked per year: 37.6

Entertainment density: 1.5%

4. Henderson, Nevada

4. Henderson, Nevada

Percent of income spent on housing: 29.1%

Average weeks worked per year: 35.4

Entertainment density: 2.4%

3. Omaha, Nebraska

3. Omaha, Nebraska

Percent of income spent on housing: 26.6%

Average weeks worked per year: 38.1

Entertainment density: 1.7%

2. Lincoln, Nebraska

2. Lincoln, Nebraska

Percent of income spent on housing: 25.1%

Average weeks worked per year: 39.5

Entertainment density: 1.5%

1. Madison, Wisconsin

1. Madison, Wisconsin

Percent of income spent on housing: 27.7%

Average weeks worked per year: 37.1

Entertainment density: 2.2%

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