The nine most affordable places to live in Utah are situated in Utah County, and 13 of the top 20 are in Utah County.

That's according to a survey conducted by Movoto Real Estate, a California firm. The company studied food, utilities and miscellaneous costs, median home price, unemployment rank and adjusted median income. 

Combining those six categories, each of the 53 communities in the state with more than 10,000 residents was considered, with American Fork leading the way.

Following were Payson, Eagle Mountain, Spanish Fork, Springville, Lehi, Cedar Hills, Pleasant Grove, Saratoga Springs and Clinton.

Highland, Lindon, Orem and Provo were also included in the second 10 of the rankings. Salt Lake City ranked No. 39.

American Fork Mayor J.H. Hadfield said there were many factors that went into the city's top billing.

"I think it's wonderful that somebody else recognizes what we try to do in the city," Hadfield said. "There are many good things. The commercial base is exceptional. We no longer have to travel to do shopping. The cost of homes, cost of living, the cost of utilities make this a very nice community.

"What's also important is the quality of life, library, recreation center, recreation programs, the arts. There are not many cities our size that have a symphony or a choral group. We even have a brass band."

Councilman Brad Frost agreed.

"I have no idea who this group is and I know there will be some individuals who will immediately try and discredit this information," Frost said. "As city leaders, I think we should shout it from the rooftops and shout it again.

"We have a lot to be proud of and we should not be shy in reminding our residents, because it's all about them. They are what makes it great. Looks like there are some outside our city who have discovered something we already know."

Val Hale, president of the Utah County Chamber of Commerce, was also pleased.

"Utah Valley continues to be the best place to live, work and play," Hale said. "I have started calling this the valley of superlatives. It is obviously great news for residents of Utah Valley. Our salaries have tended to be rising in the past as well."

Nick Dunn, the public information officer with the Department of Workforce Services, said Utah County's economy is good.

"Utah County is definitely one of the bright spots in our overall state economy," Dunn said. "It is adding a lot of jobs in very important sectors."

He mentioned north Utah County in particular, sometimes nicknamed Silicon Slopes.

"There are a lot of high-tech firms coming in there and expanding," he said. "That helps the statewide economy. It definitely is a strong area of growth for the state. There is a consistently low unemployment rate and it is a strong, robust part of the state economy."

According to the survey, American Fork has 27,147 residents, and residents' adjusted household income ranked eighth in the state at $70,579. The survey singled out free concerts every Monday during the summer and numerous parks. One of those parks is Greenwood Skate Park, which is free to enjoy and sometimes hosts events and competitions.

Payson was noted for its 5.4 percent unemployment and the second-lowest median home price of the top 10 at $186,300. The survey noted its many festivals, celebrating everything from salmon to onions to Scots.

Tied for No. 2 with Payson was Eagle Mountain. It's home to 42 parks, including a skate park and mountain bike park. The adjusted median income is $59,348. 

Spanish Fork was noted for its diversity, with cultural events including Icelandic Days, Fiesta Days and the Festival of Colors. The survey said food prices are very low, the median home price is still decent and the employment rank is No. 12. 

From folk dancing events to art walks, Springville focuses on culture and the creative way of life. Most of its events are free or have low costs. The median home price ranked No. 19 on the list, and 94.6 percent of the adults are employed.

Lehi and Cedar Hills tied for the No. 6 spot. Lehi had 30,621 residents at the time of the survey, with a 5.4 percent unemployment rate. The survey lauded the city's Round Up Week and the associated rodeo. 

Cedar Hills has 10,063 residents and a 5.4 percent unemployment rate, with a median household income of $98,438, which was No. 1 on the list. The city is known for its Family Festival in June, with a focus on bringing the city together to celebrate families and the ties that bind them together.

Pleasant Grove scored 19th for its adjusted median income of $64,715. It boasts an unemployment rate of less than six percent. The Strawberry Days festival has been happening since 1921. 

Saratoga Springs also has a low unemployment rank, as well as a favorable cost of living. The Saratoga Splash in June offers food, music, games, a parade and numerous competitions for all ages.