CHEYENNE – Wyoming’s capital city has long been known as a hidden gem, but on Tuesday, it was recognized for the quality of life it provides to residents.
Each year, Money – a personal finance website and magazine first published by Time, Inc. – compiles a list of the 50 Best Places to Live using a variety of data, and this year, Cheyenne was ranked as number 36.
“For those of us that live here, it’s not a big surprise because we are seriously just a hidden treasure,” said Mayor Marian Orr. “We continue to grow and be a place where people want to live, work and play.”
In coming up with the list, the team at Money turned to data to determine which cities offer the best quality of life.
To start, they looked at every city with more than 25,000 people. They removed cities with more than double the national crime risk, low median income levels and little to no diversity. Those requirements left a list of 1,890 cities for Money to choose from, but their team delved deeper into the numbers, looking at more than 200,000 data points during the list-making process.
Using that data provided by Witlytic, Money’s research partner, the team looked at factors like employment opportunities, cost of living, housing, health and safety, weather, and lifestyle and amenities. Then, they researched every location to ensure the statistics actually represented what was happening on the ground, looking into other factors like unemployment and housing distress from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Laramie County’s unemployment rates still skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic, they paled in comparison to the rest of the country.
In the Cheyenne analysis, Money’s Samantha Sharf wrote, “Like in the rest of this rural state, the unemployment rate has remained relatively low during the pandemic and was just 6.6% in June.”
Sharf also noted the draw of Cheyenne Frontier Days and other Western features like The Wrangler and trolley tours, writing, “The capital of Wyoming leans into cowboy living.”
Mayor Orr agreed, saying that in addition to the Western experiences in the city, many of Cheyenne’s residents have also adopted the Code of the West as a broader way of life.
“It’s really how we live out here in Wyoming. We respect each other. We work together to make a better community where we help neighbors mend fences and we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps,” Orr said.
Other cities in the region that had appearances on the list include Broomfield, Colorado; Bozeman, Montana; American Fork, Utah; and Parker, Colorado, which came in at number 2.