Bremerton, Wash., today was rated as the "best place to live" in the United States in the fourth annual Money Magazine survey.
San Francisco placed third on the list, behind Seattle with Sacramento ninth and Los Angeles-Long Beach 10th.
Eight of the top 10 places picked are in the Pacific Northwest or California.
At the other end of the scale, Allentown-Bethlehem, Pa., was ranked 300th.
The survey pointed out that New England areas that comprised half of the top 10 in 1989 "are among those that dipped in the rankings because of economic stagnation and depressed housing prices."
Nashua, N.H., 1987's winner, slipped to 133rd this year. Danbury, Conn., 1988's winner, was listed as 66th.
Bremerton, about 15 miles southwest of Seattle across Puget Sound with a population of 180,900, was hailed as a "super-burb"--"a medium-size, safe, environmentally clean place, with a rebounding economy."
In the survey, Money asked a representative sampling of subscribers to rate the importance of such regional characteristics as weather, crime, clean air, taxes, medical care, cultural attractions and transportation.
"Interest in the local environment figured significantly this year, and a low crime rate was the second most important consideration," the report said.
However, it added that "high marks were given to areas with the least cyclic economies."
Bringing up the rear with Allentown-Bethlehem was Waterbury, Conn., 296th; Pawtucket, R.I., 297th; New Britain, Conn., 298th, and Fall River, Mass., 299th .
Of other major cities, New York was rated 28th; Boston, 15th; Chicago, 30th; Detroit, 92nd; St. Louis, 172nd; Philadelphia, 140th; Pittsburgh, 111th; Baltimore, 39th; Miami 63rd; Denver, 137th; Atlanta, 156th; New Orleans, 18th.
BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN THE U.S.
1. Bremerton, Washington (179)
2. Seattle, Washington (1)
3. San Francisco, California (3)
4. Tacoma, Washington (49)
5. Columbia, Missouri (108)
6. Eugene / Springfield, Ore. (68)
7. Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minn. (9)
8. Olympia, Washington (147)
9. Sacramento, California (62)
10. Los Angeles / Long Beach, California (13)
Source: Money Magazine
AP/Los Angeles Times