Electoral trends show America’s large cities growing more and more liberal, meaning urban conservatives are becoming more and more isolated. However, there are a handful of cities out there that buck the trend and still provide friendly habitat for city-dwelling conservatives. We scoured the country for large cities with populations over 200,000 that offer a combination of conservative values, a high quality of life, and plenty of big city activities to enjoy.
We looked into recent voting trends, tax rates, business-friendly grades, locals who identify as “highly religious,” gun-friendly laws, conservative local politicians, and more. Then we combined them with quality of life indicators like crime rate, commute times, housing prices, unemployment rate, and more. In the end we concluded these are the 13 Best U.S. Cities for Conservatives to Live…
1st—OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
Oklahoma City is a red city in an extremely red state that offers a great quality of life. The area is awash in oil and gas money, something that keeps the unemployment rate low and ensures it’s the most “recession proof city in America,” according to Forbes magazine. Oklahoma City is situated right in the middle of Tornado Alley, but it’s also home to the corporate headquarters of Sonic Drive-In so a Sonic Happy Hour is always close by. The conservative city doesn’t much believe in government redistributing wealth, but it saw no problem with the NBA redistributing liberal Seattle’s beloved Supersonics to their city. Now that the city has the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s getting even more national exposure for its cuisine, nightlife, and local attractions.
Median Household Income: $44,937
Median List Price For A Home: $134,000
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Home Ownership: 60.6%
Commute Time: 20.1 minutes
Taxes: Income tax and 3.75% sales tax
Reason Liberals Avoid It: Tornadoes and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Things To Do: Dine at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, enjoy the zoo and botanical gardens, check out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and visit The American Pigeon Museum.
Famous Locals: Sports columnist Skip Bayless, chef Rick Bayless, NFL receiver Wes Welker, and… Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Seriously. It’s hard to believe Sen. Elizabeth Warren is from here.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 41.7% (Oklahoma County)
Mayor: Mick Cornett—Republican
2nd—COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
While the hippies in Boulder and Denver meditate and medicate (with marijuana), Colorado Springs is keeping it conservative. This mountain city is home to the U.S. Air Force Academy, a handful of military bases, and numerous defense industry jobs. Forbes magazine gave Colorado Springs an A+ grade in its list of “Best U.S. Cities for Business.” Many are attracted to the fantastic weather, including the U.S. Olympic Training Center, which trains numerous Olympians in high altitude. In recent years, the city has attracted a number of evangelical Christian organizations, including Focus on the Family, Young Life, and numerous others.
Median Household Income: $53,747
Median List Price For A Home: $201,000
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Home Ownership: 61.1%
Commute Time: 20.7 minutes
Taxes: Income tax and 7.63% sales tax
Reasons Liberals Avoid It: Congressional Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who has an A rating by the NRA and 87% on The Heritage Foundation’s scorecard (highest in Colorado).
Things To Do: The neighboring mountains offer ample opportunity for hiking, camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing. Also, Colorado Springs is home to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 38.1% (El Paso County)
Mayor: Steve Bach—Republican
Most conservatives view Southern California as a liberal hellscape, a land of porn stars, pricey social programs, and Hollywood elites who shovel cash into Democrats’ coffers. However, it’s also the state that brought the country President Ronald Reagan, and there’s still Orange County, a Republican stronghold filled with republican cities and towns like Anaheim. While Anaheim’s residents must endure both a state income and sales tax, the financial blow is lessened by perpetual sunshine and the happiest place on earth—Disneyland.
Median Household Income: $45,330
Median List Price For A Home: $426,000
Unemployment Rate: 8.4%
Home Ownership Rate: 49.1%
Commute Time: 26.8 minutes
Taxes: Income tax, 8.0% sales tax
Reason Liberals Avoid It: Disney’s labor practices
Things To Do: Catch a MLB game at Angel Stadium, visit Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, or enjoy shopping and dining out.
Mayor: Tom Tait—Republican
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 44.8% (Orange County)
4th—FORT WORTH, TX
Fort Worth may be home to liberal hero and State Senator Wendy Davis, but it’s still a Republican city. Home to Texas Christian University, Fort Worth is the “5th Most Bible-Minded Large City” and over 46 percent of residents identify as “highly religious”. The city’s famed Fort Worth Stockyards remains a fixture, an example of the locals pride in its western heritage, as well as its cowboy and cowgirl past. Plus, because Fort Worth is in Texas, it retains the constitutional right to secede from the U.S. if it so chooses.
Median Household Income: $50,456
Median List Price For A Home: $247,000
Unemployment Rate: $6.0%
Home Ownership: 59.8%
Commute Time: 25.6 minutes
Taxes: NO income tax, 8.25% sales tax
Why Liberals Avoid It: The bouncers and bartenders can be unfriendly to outsiders at Billy Bob’s Texas.
Things To Do: Take part in the Fort Worth Zombie Crawl, catch some live music at the World’s Largest Honky Tonk, eat steak, tour various museums and galleries, and check out a rodeo.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 41.4% (Tarrant County)
Mayor: Betsy Price—Republican
In the unlikely event that San Francisco and Salt Lake City had a lovechild and raised it in the mountains, you’d have Boise, Idaho. The tech jobs are plentiful, the Mormonism abundant, there are no restrictions on assault weapons, and there’s plenty of art, music and theater. Boise is the cultural heart of one of America’s reddest states, and democrats are increasingly relegated to the sidelines, holding no major seats at the federal or state level. It’s not surprising, in Idaho there are 29.7% more conservatives than liberals.
Median Household Income: $49,516
Median List Price For A Home: $275,000
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Home Ownership: 61.5%
Commute Time: 17.5 minutes
Taxes: Income tax and sales tax (6.0%)
Reasons Liberals Avoid It: Congressional Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Boise), who has an A rating by the NRA and 78% on The Heritage Foundation’s scorecard.
Things To Do: Fly fishing, hunting, skiing, snowboarding, eating deep fried finger steaks, and more. Check this out to learn more: “32 Things to Consider Before Moving to Boise.”
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 42.7% (Ada County)
Mayor: David H. Bieter—Democrat
Nashville may have voted for Obama, but it is still the “Buckle on the Bible Belt.” The city is known as the “Protestant Vatican” because it’s home to over 700 churches, a handful of christian colleges, and the headquarters for the Southern Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention USA, and the National Association of Free Will Baptists. According to the American Bible Society, Nashville is the “America’s Most Bible-Minded Large City,” which isn’t surprising since it’s home to the largest producer of bibles (Thomas Nelson). In addition to being the Country Music Capital of the World,” Nashville’s also home to Christian record companies like EMI Christian Music Group and Provident Label Group and World Records.
Median Household Income: $46,141
Median List Price For A Home: $191,700
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Home Ownership: 56.2%
Commute Time: 23.3 minutes
Taxes: NO income tax (except on dividend and interest income), but sales tax is 9.25%
Reason Liberals Avoid It: They’re waiting for Dolly Parton to come to them.
Things To Do: Watch live music, eat hot chicken, cheer for Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (a Tim Tebow who can throw a football). Here are “27 Things to Consider Before Moving to Nashville.”
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 58.5%
Mayor: Karl Dean—Democrat
Few cities in America offer the natural beauty, or access to natural resources, that Anchorage does. Sure, moose and bears wander the streets in winter and “Sarah Palin” is now considered a dirty word there, but Anchorage is still located in the Wild West of Alaska. Oil drilling is always in style, guns are plentiful and permits are not required, and nobody pays sales or income tax. It’s a conservative wonderland, provided you ignore recent gains Democrats have been making.
Median Household Income: $75,485
Median List Price For A Home: $312,000
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Home Ownership: 61.4%
Commute Time: 18.6 minutes
Taxes: No income tax, no sales tax.
Things To Do: Hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, sled dog racing, ice carving, shouting insults at Vladimir Putin across the Bering Strait, etc.
Why Liberals Avoid It: Because Sarah Palin is from just down the road in Wasilla.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): Under 50%
Mayor: Dan Sullivan—Republican
George W. Bush may live in Dallas, but Dallas belongs to the Democrats now. However, neighboring red cities have Dallas surrounded, offering conservatives an expansive urban refuge unlike anywhere else in the country. Like Plano and Fort Worth, Arlington has a republican mayor, conservative voters, and plenty of economic opportunity.
Median Household Income: $52,699
Median List Price For A Home: $226,000
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Home Ownership: 58.5%
Commute Time: 25.6 minutes
Taxes: NO income tax, 8.0% sales tax
Things To Do: Catch a game at Cowboys Stadium or Rangers Ballpark at Arlington, visit the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, or take a break from America’s political/economic roller coaster and ride the fun ones at Six Flags Over Texas.
Reason Liberals Avoid It: It’s the largest American city not served by a comprehensive public transportation system.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 41.4% (Tarrant County)
Mayor: Robert Cluck—Republican
Once the “Hay Capital of the World,” Gilbert has moved beyond its agricultural roots and become the fourth fastest growing municipality in America. Highly educated, affluent, and incredibly safe (5th Safest in America), Gilbert is a fast-growing city that still feels like a small town. Because Arizona’s only gun restriction is the National Firearms Act, Gilbert residents over 21 are free to purchase, own and carry a gun. Conservative values are a selling point in Gilbert; there’s even a local real estate agent named John VanTilburg who goes by the title of “The Conservative’s Real Estate Agent.”
Median Household Income: $80,090
Median List Price For A Home: $246,000
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Home Ownership: 74.2%
Commute Time: 26.9 minutes
Taxes: Income tax and 7.8% sales tax
Reasons Liberals Avoid It: Local Congressional Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), who has an A+ rating by the NRA and 98% on The Heritage Foundation’s scorecard.
Things To Do: Enjoy family-oriented activities, year-round golfing (over 160 courses within 30 miles), explore the Sonoran desert, and bask in nearly perpetual sunshine.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 43.2 (Maricopa County)
Mayor: John Lewis—Republican
Business-friendly Plano is home to the corporate headquarters of Pizza Hut, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Frito Lay, and other companies that anger Michelle Obama for making America #1 in child obesity. It’s also home to Rent-A-Center, Siemens PLM Software, Alliance Data, and JCPenney and more. Plano routinely shows up on lists for “best places to live,” particularly due to its economic opportunities, wealth, and lack of crime. Because it’s in Texas, there are few regulations on gun ownership, and it has castle doctrine and stand-your ground laws, making it legal to use deadly force on anyone unlawfully attempting to enter one’s home.
Median Household Income: $82,901
Median List Price For A Home: $418,000
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Home Ownership: 65.5%
Commute Time: 25.9 minutes
Taxes: NO income tax, 8.25% sales tax
Reason Liberals Avoid It: Local Congressional Rep. Sam Johnson, a former Vietnam War POW, once offered to solve the President’s Syria problem by personally flying an F-15 over the country and dropping two nukes on it (article).
Things To Do: Get rich
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 33.5% (Collin County)
Mayor: Harry LaRosiliere—Republican
Jacksonville is the hometown of conservative royalty like football icon Tim Tebow, singer Pat Boone, and Southern Rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band. The city has a strong military presence thanks to multiple navy bases, and because it’s located in Florida there’s no income tax. Unlike other large Florida cities like Tampa and Miami, the people of Jacksonville tend to vote Republican. Jacksonville’s current mayor is a Democrat, but he won narrowly, and the previous three mayors were all Republicans.
Median Household Income: $49,192
Median List Price For A Home: $135,000
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Home Ownership: 63.3%
Commute Time: 23.5 minutes
Taxes: NO income tax / 6% sales tax
Things To Do: The city has plenty of performing arts and live music, the largest urban park system in America, access to beaches, and someday the Jacksonville Jaguars will be watchable again.
Mayor: Alvin Brown—Democrat
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 47.8% (Duvall County)
Washington State is divided in half like a McDonald’s McDLT. The west side is the left side, the rainy and wet side, the urban side filled with Seattle liberals. On the east side of the Cascade Mountains is the state’s Republican stronghold, a population of ranchers, farmers, and others actively trying to create a separate state independent from Western Washington. Spokane is the metropolitan center for Eastern Washington, as well as the Inland Northwest. It’s the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis and the most conservative large city in the Pacific Northwest.
Median Household Income: $41,466
Median List Price For A Home: $165,000
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Home Ownership: 57.1%
Commute Time: 19.9 minutes
Taxes: NO income tax, 8.7% sales tax
Reason Liberals Avoid It: It’s really close to Idaho
Things To Do: Outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and boating, as well as museums, semi-pro sports teams, wineries and breweries, and a strong performing arts and music scene.
Famous Locals: Singer Bing Crosby, actor Craig T. Nelson, NBA star John Stockton, and MLB player Ryne Sandberg.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 45.6% (Spokane County)
Mayor: David Condon—Republican
13th—SILICON VALLEY, CA
Sure, the cities that make up Silicon Valley are socially liberal and donate heavily to Democrats, but the southern part of San Francisco Bay is filled with Libertarian wealth creators and techno-utopians that the Republican Party’s actively trying to court. Social conservatism is not en vogue, but the area is filled with Ayn Rand-inspired objectivists committed to the cause of individualism. Is it a sign of change to come that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently hosted a fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, or that Sen. Rand Paul is rubbing elbows with Silicon Valley’s libertarian-leaning entrepreneurs? Perhaps, but a few local billionaires are even dreaming up a libertarian floating city inhabited by tech nerds.
Population: 3.5-4 million
Median Household Income: $89,064
Median List Price For A Home: $743,000 (View homes for sale in Santa Clara County)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Home Ownership: 58.7%
Commute Time: 24.3 minutes
Things To Do: Make money hand-over-fist
Reason Liberals Avoid It: They don’t, but the high cost of living is a challenge for lots of people.
Local Conservatives: Some of the GOP’s largest Silicon Valley donors include HP CEO Meg Whitman (ran for governor), Facebook investor Peter Thiel, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.
Percent Who Voted For Obama (2012): 69.8% (Santa Clara County)