Where does Springfield rank among the best state capitals in the U.S.?

Marc FilippinoReboot Illinois

March 01, 2017

When it was time to choose, how did decide where you wanted to live?

Did you look for a city with a vibrant culture? Perhaps, good schools were a priority. Or maybe you really wanted to be close to your state’s legislature?

Okay, so maybe that last one wasn’t the case. But there are a bunch of state capitals that aren’t just known for being the center of government.

WalletHub took the time to look at all 50 state capitals and determine which ones had the best living conditions. According to WalletHub, here’s how they did it:

In order to identify the best state capitals to live in, WalletHub’s analysts compared all 50 across four key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Well-Being, 3) Quality of Education & Health and 4) Quality of Life.

They evaluated those dimensions using 42 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most livable state capital.

They then calculated a “State Capital Index” for each state capital based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting indexes to construct the final ranking.

Before we dive into the list — and I promise we will — here are a few fun facts about state capitals. Some of these facts come from an International Business Times interview with Hunter College political science professor Jamie Chandler.

  • There are 17 states where a state’s largest city is also its capital. (Springfield obviously isn’t one of them). Chandler told IBT, “Citizens pressure state politicians to locate the capital in their city so as to encourage economic development.”
  • Springfield is located almost exactly in the center of Illinois. It is also the state’s third state capital. From Chandler:

Kaskaskia was the site of its first capital — the city had been the territorial capital since 1809, so it made sense to keep it there when Congress admitted Illinois to the Union in 1818.

In 1820, the capital was moved 80 miles northeast to the then largely uninhabited Vandalia; lawmakers wanted to encourage settlers to move there. Thirteen years later, the Illinois legislature held a vote for another move. Alton won the designation, but Springfield ultimately became the new home in 1839 due to the lobbying efforts of then young lawyer Abraham Lincoln.

Chicago wasn’t a contender, because it had only just been incorporated in 1837 and wouldn’t become the state’s center of commerce until the Industrial Revolution.

  • At 361 feet, the Illinois capitol building in Springfield is taller than the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

All these fun facts are nice, but where does Springfield land on WalletHub’s list of best capitals to live in? Let’s take a look.

article image

1. Austin, TX

  • State capital index: 64.89
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 9
  • Quality of education & health rank: 2
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 7
  • Quality of life rank: 16
article image

2. Boise, ID

  • State capital index: 64.54
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 8
  • Quality of education & health rank: 14
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 6
  • Quality of life rank: 2
article image

3. Bismarck, ND

  • State capital index: 64.50  
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 3
  • Quality of education & health rank: 1
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 10
  • Quality of life rank: 23
article image

4.Lincoln, NE

  • State capital index: 63.79
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 7
  • Quality of education & health rank: 9
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 3
  • Quality of life rank: 20
article image

5. Madison, WI

  • State capital index: 62.99
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 27
  • Quality of education & health rank: 16
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 2
  • Quality of life rank: 8
article image

6. Montpelier, VT

  • State capital index: 60.86
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 24
  • Quality of education & health rank: 22
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 5
  • Quality of life rank: 5
article image

7. Concord, NH

  • State capital index: 60.11
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 5
  • Quality of education & health rank: 10
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 19
  • Quality of life rank: 25
article image

8. Raleigh, NC

  • State capital index: 59.92
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 6
  • Quality of education & health rank: 8
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 17
  • Quality of life rank: 34
article image

9. Salt Lake City, UT

  • State capital index: 58.97
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 22
  • Quality of education & health rank: 13
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 11
  • Quality of life rank:15
article image

10. Cheyenne, WY

  • State capital index: 58.34
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 1
  • Quality of education & health rank: 6
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 37
  • Quality of life rank: 37
article image

11. Denver, CO

  • State capital index: 58.24
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 38
  • Quality of education & health rank: 5
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 24
  • Quality of life rank: 7
article image

12. Juneau, AK

  • State capital index: 58.17
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 14
  • Quality of education & health rank: 7
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 14
  • Quality of life rank: 36
article image

13. Olympia, WA

  • State capital index: 58.08
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 26
  • Quality of education & health rank: 35
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 13
  • Quality of life rank: 4
article image

14. Pierre, SD

  • State capital index: 57.88
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 15
  • Quality of education & health rank: 42
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 1
  • Quality of life rank:38
article image

15. Columbus, OH

  • State capital index: 57.83
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 13
  • Quality of education & health rank: 20
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 15
  • Quality of life rank: 22
article image

16. Des Moines, IA

  • State capital index: 57.07
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 11
  • Quality of education & health rank: 34
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 8
  • Quality of life rank: 29
article image

17. Helena, MT

  • State capital index: 57.07
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 21
  • Quality of education & health rank: 17
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 23
  • Quality of life rank: 19
article image

18. Nashville, TN

  • State capital index: 55.65
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 18
  • Quality of education & health rank: 3
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 34
  • Quality of life rank: 33
article image

19. St. Paul, MN

  • State capital index: 55.64
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 33
  • Quality of education & health rank: 15
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 9
  • Quality of life rank: 27
article image

20. Springfield, IL

  • State capital index: 55.11
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 4
  • Quality of education & health rank: 30
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 31
  • Quality of life rank: 39

The bottom 5 state capitals in the country

article image

45. Baton Rouge, LA

  • State capital index: 44.81
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 36
  • Quality of education & health rank: 33
  • Quality of Education & Health rank:  49
  • Quality of life rank: 35
article image

46. Carson City, NV

  • State capital index: 44.64
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 44
  • Quality of education & health rank: 39
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 42
  • Quality of life rank: 24
article image

47. Montgomery, AL

  • State capital index: 42.89
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 20
  • Quality of education & health rank: 44
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 50
  • Quality of life rank: 43
article image

48. Trenton, NJ

  • State capital index: 42.13
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 46
  • Quality of education & health rank: 50
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 30
  • Quality of life rank: 41
article image

49. Hartford, CT

  • State capital index: 40.02
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 49
  • Quality of education & health rank: 45
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 20
  • Quality of life rank: 40
article image

50. Jackson, MS

  • State capital index: 39.99
  • Affordability rank Economic Well-being rank: 37
  • Quality of education & health rank: 49
  • Quality of Education & Health rank: 47
  • Quality of life rank: 49
share to facebook share to twitter comment
 
Comments
Be the first to respond to this quote.
Add a Comment commt
Loading...