KXAN (AUSTIN) — Austinites are used to their city being ranked No. 1 — from the best city to live in Texas to the best city in the country for dating — but when it comes to the best state capitals, Austin is the middle of the road.

A new study by SmartAsset ranked all 50 state capitals to determine which is the best to live in.

The study looked at several factors including employment, education, affordability, leisure and safety to determine the rankings. Each city was given a score out of 300.

Austin ranked #25 nationally. The city’s position was bolstered by a high employment and education score, but was pulled down by low affordability and leisure and safety scores.

How were the rankings determined?

Each capital city was given a score out of 100 for employment and education, affordability and leisure and safety, for a total of 300 maximum points.

Here’s a look at each of the factors considered:

Employment and education

  • June 2022 unemployment rate
  • Five-year income growth
  • High school graduation rate


  • Median household income after housing costs
  • Ratio between a 20% down payment on the median-valued home and the median household income
  • Estimated annual cost of living

Leisure and safety

  • Number of dining and entertainment establishments as a percentage of all establishments
  • Hours worked per week
  • Violent crime rate, per 100,000 residents
  • Property crime rate, per 100,000 residents

Austin scored 72.51 for employment and education, 29.7 for affordability and 32.23 for leisure and safety. In total, the city scored 134.44.

What are the best and worst capital cities?

Many of the highest-ranking capital cities are in the Midwest. Pierre, South Dakota, took the top spot, with a score of 234.12 out of a possible 300.

Madison, Wisconsin; Lincoln, Nebraska; Boise, Idaho and Helena, Montana rounded out the top five. Each had a score of more than 200.

On the opposite end, Dover, Delaware, came in last place, with a score of just 58.54 out of 300.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; Denver, Colorado and Hartford, Connecticut all ranked in the bottom five, with scores of less than 100 each.