Nestled in the heart of Utah Valley, the city of Provo may be one of the country’s best kept secrets. Although most people associate Provo with BYU, many aspects of the community have placed it among the top cities to live in the nation.
Provo recently ranked at number 16 of the top 100 cities to live in America by Livability.com. The list is a result of a months-long study conducted by the Martin Prosperity institute that compared different cities in the U.S. by factors such as healthcare, education and amenities.
The research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute, Dr. Kevin Stolarick, said this was the first time the institute had focused on specific cities rather than larger metropolitan areas.
“While getting consistent, reliable data at the city level had its challenges, the results were worth the effort,” Stolarick said in a press release.
Livabilty.com’s survey cited Provo’s thriving economy, highly educated workforce, entertainment scene and proximity to many of Utah’s national parks as some of the reasons that make it one of the best places to live.
Scott Tornow has been in the real estate industry in Provo for 20 years, and he said BYU and UVU provide the community with cultural events and concerts that other places simply don’t have.
“We’re also close enough to Salt Lake that we can go up and watch a soccer game or watch the Jazz play,” Tornow said. “So it’s close enough that we can enjoy it, but far enough away that we don’t have to compete.”
Tornow also mentioned how safe he felt Provo is. Hannah Pusey, a BYU student studying public health, agreed.
“If you lose something like your wallet, you will likely get it back with all the money in it,” Pusey said. “And if you ask someone to watch your stuff in the library, you know they’re going to watch it for you.”
Many BYU students had their own reasons for why they thought Provo deserved to be ranked among the top cities in the nation. From the size of the city to the attitudes of its residents, Provo seemed to have something for everyone.
“I like the size because it’s not a big city, but it has some of that small-town charm,” said Brooke Parker, a BYU senior studying media arts. “But it’s not all that isolated either. There’s still a lot of culture with the art and music scene here.”
Matt Schneider, an athletic training major from Arkansas, said he loves Provo’s accessibility to the mountains.
“Down here in Provo you have everything you need: groceries, shopping, etcetera,” Schneider said. “But in 20 minutes, I can be up in the mountains and not hear the least bit of hustle-bustle from the city.”
Coming from a small town in Arkansas, Schneider said Provo has a much more lively feel than his hometown of Mulberry. He said the youthful atmosphere has been a big change for him and has given him a good reason to get out and get involved in what the community has to offer.
“Here you have a lot of people that are aspiring to good things and they’re motivated,” Schneider said. “It’s easy to catch on to that (attitude). There’s a lot of people that want to get somewhere in life. Back home is kind of a small town, and you don’t really feel that motivation.”