Studies and reports cross our desks all the time, and they all say basically the same thing: that Denver's the best place in the universe.

U.S. News & World Report publishes an annual list of "Best Places to Live in America" (both small towns and big cities), and for 2017? Denver landed at No. 2, right behind Austin, Texas. Then, WalletHub looked at "Best State Capitals to Live in," placing Denver at No. 7 -- not too shabby, right? For the record, Austin topped that list, too (boo!).

But let's just look at this from another angle for a minute: The other state capitals ahead of Denver on the WalletHub list (Austin, TX; Madison, WI; Boise, ID; Lincoln, NE; Bismarck, ND; and Raleigh, NC) are all significantly smaller in population. In fact, the Denver metro area boasts roughly 1,000,000 more people than the next-biggest capital, Austin. That tells us that Denver manages to pull off capital city (with all the accompanying government quirks), big city, and great place to live -- simultaneously. And while we're at it, let's go ahead and pit ourselves against our biggest apparent competition -- Austin.

Yes, we get that Austin is a whole thing -- a trendy place that's quickly attracting a young, trendy crowd. But so is Denver. In fact, more millennials are moving to Denver than Austin. See Exhibit A:

Courtesy of WalletHub

Also, Austin is smack-dab in the middle of hot, sweltering Texas. I mean, maybe if you could lift the whole city up on a spatula and drop it somewhere in -- I don't know -- pretty much anywhere in Colorado's gorgeous climate, then maybe (maybe!) we'd be comparing apples to apples. But as it sits (literally), there's just no contest. To put it in elementary math terms: Denver > Austin

Specifically, if you're looking to live in a sizable state capital that marries breathtaking scenery with a big-city feel -- not to mention an absolutely amazing quality of life -- Denver's the only choice.

What do you think about where Denver and Colorado consistently rank in reports? Leave a comment below!