Pittsburgh and Philadelphia may have a lot to offer for Pennsylvania residents, but what about other cities in the Keystone State that are often overlooked? We took some time to check out the mid-sized cities in Pennsylvania with a population between 20,000 and 90,000. After comparing each city's unemployment rate, average housing prices, median household income, crime rate and monthly heating rate, we selected the top choices. We ranked the cities based on where you can get the most bang for your buck: a job, a good salary and an affordable house. These cities don't have the hustle and bustle of a metropolis, but they are great places to live with new opportunities.

We compared the cities to state and national data to determine which cities have the best overall combination of qualities.

  • U.S. unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • U.S. median household income: $53,046
  • Average house listing price in Pennsylvania: $206,670
  • Average Pennsylvania heating rate: 15.14 cents/kWh
  • U.S. crime rate (2013): 296 (the number of offenses per 100,000 people)

Altoona 1

Source: www.altoonapa.gov

1. Altoona

With the lowest crime rate and lowest unemployment rate on our list of cities, Altoona ranked number one. Located in central Pennsylvania, Altoona played an important role in the railroad industry before World War II. While railroads were once the main employer of the city's residents, health care is now the main industry in Altoona. UPMC Altoona, Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Veterans Hospital and many nursing homes provide jobs for residents. With the average housing list price of $105,993 and a crime rate well below the national average, Altoona is an affordable and safe place to live.

  • Population: 45,558
  • Unemployment rate: 5.9%
  • Average housing list price: $105,993
  • Median household income: $36,189
  • Crime rate: 207.4
  • Average residential monthly heating rate using 500 kWh: 12.5 cents/kWh

 

Optimized-Scranton_PA

Source: Wikipedia.org

2. Scranton

Scranton is widely popular for being home to the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company on The Office. While you may not actually find Michael Scott there, Scranton has plenty more to offer residents. Located in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, Scranton has a crime rate of only 224.6 compared to the national rate of 296. Scranton is home to five colleges and universities, including the University of Scranton, which brings a young and cultural feel to the city. For outdoor fun, residents can visit Montage Mountain ski resort, only 8 miles from downtown. All of these characteristics put Scranton at number two on our list.

  • Population: 75,281
  • Unemployment rate: 6.4%
  • Average housing list price: $105,943
  • Median household income: $38,463
  • Crime rate: 224.6
  • Average residential monthly heating rate using 500 kWh: 15.8 cents/kWh

Optimized-Bethlehem_PA

Source: Wikipedia.org

3. Bethlehem

Bethlehem is just 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles west of New York City. Residents can enjoy the culture and atmosphere of a mid-sized city while having access to two of the largest cities in the country. Lehigh University sits on the south side of the city and is home to more than 7,000 students. The average housing list price was the second most expensive on our list, knocking Bethlehem out of the top two spots. However, Bethlehem also had the highest median household income on our list and a low crime rate, putting it comfortably in third place.

  • Population: 75,135
  • Unemployment rate: 6.5%
  • Average housing list price: $228,447
  • Median household income: $46,292
  • Crime rate: 220.7
  • Average residential monthly heating rate using 500 kWh: 15.8 cents/kWh

Optimized-Easton PA 1

 Source: www.easton-pa.gov

4. Easton

Easton is one of the smaller cities on our list, but it has a lot to offer its residents. The factory for the worldwide maker of Crayola crayons is along the Lehigh River, providing jobs for locals and an attraction for tourists. Students of Lafayette College enjoy the city's breweries and coffee shops. The unemployment rate of 6.9 kept Easton out of our top three spots, but the median household income and low crime rate still make it a great place to live.

  • Population: 27,052
  • Unemployment rate: 6.9%
  • Average housing list price: $244,584
  • Median household income: $40,283
  • Crime rate: 268.8
  • Average residential monthly heating rate using 500 kWh: 15.8 cents/kWh

Optimized-Lebanon_PA

Source: Wikipedia.org

5. Lebanon

Lebanon sits in the southeastern side of Pennsylvania. With a low crime rate of 276.2 and an affordable average housing list price, Lebanon made it onto our Top 5 list. The city has 10 parks and six playgrounds, making it a great place to raise a family. Since it's only an hour drive from Lancaster, Reading and Harrisburg, residents can still have easy access to a larger city. The unemployment rate of 7.8 pushed Lebanon out of a top spot for now, but its current economic plan is called "Grow Lebanon" and aims to bring new jobs to the city.

  • Population: 25,573
  • Unemployment rate: 7.8%
  • Average housing list price: $145,897
  • Median household income: $32,794
  • Crime rate: 276.2
  • Average residential monthly heating rate using 500 kWh: 15.8