I agree with Big Media Matt – the criteria used in this Best Places to Live guide sounds exactly like a formula to determine the richest exurban areas and not much else. The $50,000 median income cutoff is a guarantee that all major urban areas are excluded, while the 60-mile radius around a major urban center cuts off all rural areas. (Just out of curiosity, are there any places that clear the income and employment hurdles and which aren’t within 60 miles of a “major city”?)
This “survey” is nothing more than a litmus test. Either one would only ever live in places like The Woodlands and Sugar Land, or one would sooner be broken on the rack than live there. I know a few people who live in the burbs because that’s where they work, and a few people who live out there because that’s what they could afford, but I don’t know anyone who feels like they have a choice in the city-versus-suburbs matter who’s indifferent to it.
I don’t know how granular their financial data is in this, but in some parts of the Big City, there’s a real wide range within a small area. I live in a ZIP code where a lot of folks live at or below the poverty level, but you couldn’t tell that from my neighborhood. And I’ll take it over any “soulless exurban sprawl zone”, even and especially master planned soulless exurban sprawl zones.
There’s more to a place to live than just income levels, and any survey that undertakes to rank them without considering these things will produce bogus results. Keep that in mind before you buy that sprawling swankienda out in Fort Bend or Montgomery County.