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These Are The 10 Most Sustainable Cities In The United States

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When it comes to sustainability, the United States is absolutely moving in the right direction. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network has released a report ranking the progress of countries that adopted Agenda 2030, a document outlining 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reach by 2030. While the United States came in at 42nd place among the countries signed up to participate, individual cities are already putting energy into moving in a more sustainable direction.

Agenda 2030’s SDGs are far-reaching, from eradicating hunger and fostering peace to limiting gender disparities and strengthening scientific innovation. The pledge is based on the idea that sustainability requires peace, responsible land stewardship, and dynamic economies rooted in innovation and alternative energies. Here are the top 10. (For a full breakdown of the statistics for each goal, click here.)

10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington

This metro area came in with a score of 53.14, representing less than half its SDG goals. Notable upticks are present when it comes to clean water and sanitation (90.04) and clean, green energy (91.88).

9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire

Beantown and its surrounds got high marks for Bostonian health and well-being (72.01), but overall scored only 53.88.

8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California

The Oxnard-metro region has done very well increasing food access and reducing hunger (62.66), but fell short with just a 53.98 score.

7. Boise City, Idaho

Boise gets a 100-percent for increasing access to clean energy, and a gold star for crime accountability (95.65). Overall, however, the metro area comes in with a score of 55.23.   

6. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York

Albany got a score of 56.29 percent, scoring high marks for partnerships to meet goals and peace and justice.

5. San Diego-Carlsbad, California

California's San Diego region comes in with a score of 56.38. On the upside, its San Diego-Carlsbad metro area does carry the distinction of being the sole top-10 finisher ranking high marks for gender equality.

4. San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, California

The San Fran region got an overall score of 56.53 for its high grades encouraging innovation in business and fighting poverty.

3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

Seattle and its surrounds got a score of 57.98 for their work getting consumers fabulous access to clean energy that’s also affordable (100) and decent work and economic growth (60.09).

2. Provo-Orem, Utah

Coming in at second place is the Provo metro area, which earned 58.05. Good marks were gained by the city’s efforts to lower economic and political inequality (78.12) and its work preserving area forests and biodiversity throughout the region (100 percent).


1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

First place goes to the San Jose region of California. The coastal area scored a 61.4—which, while not great, is clearly head and shoulders above the others on the list. Earning higher marks were the area’s work to combat poverty (82.7), cater to the health of local residents (67.68), provide infrastructure for businesses to succeed economically while pursuing green technology (62.7), and working with organizations to actually work on the SDGs outlined in Agenda 2030.