Kansas City, Mo. Government, lack of congestion and affordability put Kansas City at the top of a Washington think tank's list of 50 cities across the nation.
The National Policy Research Council compiled results from about 160 other studies of the nation's cities, and ranked 50 cities in 11 categories for its guide to America's Best Cities and States: The Annual Gold Guide to Leading Rankings.
Kansas City was 20th overall. But it got the No. 1 rankings for government and infrastructure, meaning congestion, affordability of housing and parking, as well as how "wired" the cities were.
Among 50 big cities nationally, Denver ranked first overall. St. Louis was 37th, and was 48th and 21st in the government and infrastructure categories.
In other categories, St. Louis was 13th in economic dynamism while Kansas City was 18th; for business climate, St. Louis ranked 29th and Kansas City was 32nd.
The research council also ranked states in other categories.
Overall, Kansas ranked 16th and Missouri ranked 32nd. Kansas was No. 9 in education, while Missouri was 32nd. In environmental measures, Missouri was 40th and Kansas 22nd.
Kansas ranked 15th for quality of life, while Missouri was 23rd.
The government category, for which Kansas City was ranked No. 1, considered Governing Magazine's study of the best-managed cities, the Reason Public Policy Institute's study of government efficiency and other research on governments' online abilities.
"It's a pretty darn good rating, to be in the top 20 cities overall," said Chris Madison, media director for the research council. "People are going to use this guide among other things when they're planning on where to move their company. A top 20 score is going to put you on people's lists for good places to do business."
Last month, the Partners for Livable Communities placed Kansas City among the nine most livable large cities in the country.
"It's a prestigious recognition for the city," Mayor Kay Barnes said of the research council's guide. "We continue to strive to provide the best city government we can, and this certainly illustrates that in the areas designated, we are accomplishing that."
Although this is the first guide, Madison said he expects it to become an annual publication. The research council was founded in 2002.