“I think that people are starting to finally get it that Fort St. John offers more than anywhere else,” Councillor Trevor Bolin said. “Anybody who has lived in Fort St. John for long enough has always bragged-up how great our community is, and now when B.C. Business, and CBC, and all these other guys start to get it; I think that’s pretty huge.”

Associate Editor for B.C. Business Magazine Trevor Melanson explains the methodology used when conducting the analysis.

“The way that we ranked these cities was through seven different economic indicators, and the number one used was five year income growth, and Fort St. John led that category with an astronomical 18.20 per cent,” Melanson goes on to say. “That means the average household income in Fort St. John is almost 20 per cent higher in 2014 than it was in 2009.”

Melanson adds, “That’s quite impressive, actually.”

Other methods include population growth, unemployment rates, labour participation, people with degrees, and people taking transit.

“For a smaller town, it’s pretty educated at about 10 per cent of people having degrees, but it’s obviously quite a bit lower than Metro Vancouver – cities tend to attract educated people – and that’s pretty much it,” Melanson explains after also pointing to the low score on the transit category. “Everything else was really good. Your unemployment rate was fantastic; it’s 5.89 per cent. That’s a really low unemployment rate.”

Melanson also points to the role of industry within Fort St. John and Dawson Creek – which ranked 5 out of 36.

“I think it goes without saying that the oil and gas industries is the primary reason that Fort St. John and Dawson Creek do so well, especially when you look at other smaller town and other smaller cities – which generally didn’t do so well on our list – a lot of them had relied on forestry, which has not been doing well the last decade.”

Councillor Bolin seems to agree.

“People should be extremely proud of what’s going on in our city, and extremely proud of the rankings we’re starting to get for being the best,” says Councillor Bolin.

Melanson does warn however, Fort St. John is the best city to live only if it fits the career path you’ve chosen.

“If you’re like a social media consultant, right, you can probably be that in Vancouver and not Fort St. John,” says Melanson. “If you’re into marketing, you’re in advertising, finance; I mean these are city-centric professions.

You can have a look at all 36 cities included in the analysis – as well as where they landed on the ranking system – by following this link.