Study: Fargo named America's best city to live on a $55,000 salary

The RedBall Project, a public art project, makes an appearance Oct. 10, 2018, at the Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo. Forum file photo

FARGO — North of Normal doesn't just apply to Fargo's cultural and entertainment offerings, according to a new study that says it's the country's best city to live in with a $55,000 annual salary.

The study, released earlier this week by financial technology company SmartAsset, started with the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate that the average American family earns about $55,000 per year.

Researchers made a list of all cities with a median household income between $50,000 and $60,000, coming up with 126 communities that were then ranked based on nine factors, including the median household income, median monthly housing cost and housing cost as a percent of income, unemployment and poverty rates, commute times, entertainment and civic establishments per 10,000 residents and more.

Fargo made the top 15 in all of SmartAsset's economic metrics, with the company praising the city's low unemployment rate, good scores in livability factors and short commutes.

The tech company says four of the top 10 cities are in the Midwest, including Billings, Mont. (No. 2), Cedar Rapids, Iowa (No. 7), and Omaha, Neb. (No. 10). Appleton, Wis., was ranked the third-best city for that salary.