Recently, there has been some talk about the worst small cities in Colorado. The results were taken from a comprehensive study done by WalletHub to rank and score 1,321 cities based on affordability, economic health, education & health, quality of life, and safety.

What also needs to be clarified is what WalletHub quantified as a small city. According to the study, they looked at cities that had populations between 25,000 and 100,000. To them, anything less than 25,000 does not make the list, which should hopefully dispel any confusion.

Since the study is so comprehensive, let’s dive into the study more to see which small cities in Colorado ranked the highest and what they do so well.

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5th Best Small City in Colorado: Broomfield

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Sneaking into the top five is Broomfield, which is a suburb of Denver. It came in with a total score of 65.45 and ranks in the 93rd percentile overall.

For each category, Broomfield sits comfortably above the median in terms of rankings. Its worst mark is in safety, where it ranks 534th. However, it does well in affordability, education & health, and quality of life, ranking 256th, 248th, and 377th respectively.

However, where Broomfield really seems to shine is with its economic health, where it ranks all the way up at 27th. This means WalletHub has noticed Broomfield has seen good income and job growth, lower unemployment rates, and a healthy population growth compared to the national average.

4th Best Small City in Colorado: Windsor

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Being in an interesting place in Northern Colorado given it is split between Weld and Larimer counties, Windsor finds its way into the fourth spot. It ranks just ahead of Broomfield with a total score of 65.57, which also places it in the 93rd percentile.

Windsor’s score is greatly helped by high marks in affordability, education & health, and safety, earning rankings of 121st, 449th, and 175th in these categories. Its highest ranking was also in economic health, just behind Broomfield at 33rd.

However, it did rank very low in the quality of life category, with WalletHub placing it at 956th. They calculated this category by looking at aspects like average commute time, average weekly hours worked, and amenities per capita.

3rd Best Small City in Colorado: Littleton

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Get used to the suburbs of Denver on the list, as Littleton comes in on WalletHub’s study as the third-best small city in Colorado. They gave it a total score of 66.22, which puts it in the 95th percentile.

Littleton generally ranks above the median in most categories, but it does take a hit in both affordability and economic health, ranking at 724th and 747th in each. However, it makes up for it in terms of its safety and education & health, with WalletHub placing them at 389th and 276th respectively.

However, what really works in Littleton’s favor is its quality of life ranking. It has the 33rd best quality of life in a pool of 1,321 small cities, which is far and away the best out of the top five Colorado cities.

2nd Best Small City in Colorado: Parker

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Yet another suburb of Denver finds itself in WalletHub’s list of the country’s best small cities. This time it's Parker, who was given a total score of 67.03 which puts it in the 97th percentile.

What helps Parker’s ranking is its high placements in nearly every category. In fact, its lowest ranking is 487th in quality of life, which still ranks well above the median. It does well in economic health, safety, and affordability, ranking 350th, 157th, and 109th in these categories.

Its best ranking is in health & education, where WalletHub placed it at 56th. While it's a fantastic ranking, WalletHub’s pick for the top small city in Colorado just has it beat.

The Best Small City in Colorado, According to WalletHub: Castle Rock

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Taking home the crown for WalletHub’s best small city in Colorado is Castle Rock, which finished just a touch higher than Parker with a total score of 67.07. It also ranked in the 97th percentile.

Castle Rock’s rankings are extremely similar to Parker’s almost across the board, but every category is just a touch higher. Their worst category was also in quality of life, just edging out Parker at 471st. Their rankings in economic health, safety, and affordability also reflect this trend, coming in at 247th, 145th, and 107th respectively.

Their best category was also health & education, where they ranked 54th out of 1,321 small cities. Whether it’s Castle Rock or Parker, it’s fair to say both have the field covered.

What Can We Learn From WalletHub’s Study?

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In general, it seems WalletHub’s rankings greatly favored Denver’s suburbs. In fact, the only small city in the top five that wasn’t in the greater Denver metropolitan area was Windsor.

On the other hand, the main city in the Western Slope that was on the list was Grand Junction, which had a total score of 60.24 and ranked in the 66th percentile.

Other notable Colorado cities were left out, like Durango out West and Sterling in the Eastern Plains. Neither of the cities met WalletHub’s criteria for what was counted as a small city, so they didn’t make the cut.

Overall, what are your thoughts on WalletHub’s list? Do you think they should have broadened their definition of a small city to include more destinations? Do you think each category should have been weighted differently as opposed to the same? Let us know what you think.

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