We all have different reasons for relocating long distance, but most of them boil down to searching for a better life. That’s why it’s important to consider various interconnected factors when choosing a city to start a new chapter of your life. We’ve listed the best places to live in the United States based on numerous criteria that make a city great to help you in deciding.
Many people choose to live somewhere due to highly personal reasons, such as to be close to a loved one or change the scenery. However, everyone else needs to take many things into consideration when picking a new hometown. So let’s see what these things are and what the most livable cities in the US are.
The Criteria for Choosing the Best Places to Live in the United States
As we’ve said, many factors come down to personal preference, but some things are universal, and you mustn’t overlook them. These include:
- Job market
- Quality of life
- Desirability (net migration)
If a place scores high in most or all of these categories, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’ll be able to settle there nicely.
Where Is the Most Affordable Place to Live in the US?
The most affordable place in the whole country is located in Indiana — Fort Wayne. This place is not the most exciting one in the States, but the overall cost of living is super low. You’ll be comfortable paying rent and groceries, and you can even pay off a whole house in only a couple of years if you choose to buy one.
What Are the 10 Best Cities to Live In?
Affordability is only one aspect of picking a place to live. So what if the city’s affordable if there’s nothing to do or isn’t safe? To help you out in your search, we’ve made a top ten list of the US cities that satisfy the above criteria.
Austin, Texas — The Fastest Growing Large City
The capital of Texas has been making headlines as the best city to live in for years now. As Governor Abbott has famously said, everything is bigger in Texas, and so Austin has been growing in many ways. With 150 new residents every day, it’s one of the most popular cities among younger generations. This is not surprising as Austin is a great place to start a business as well as enjoy some major music festivals and have fun in general. All in all, the quality of life is high here.
Check Out the Silicone Hills of the South
Austin is known as Silicone Hills due to its growing number of tech companies, including giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Oracle. If you’re a techie, you’ll get many opportunities to thrive here.
- Population: 988,218
- Median household income: $55,216
Denver, Colorado — An Urban Mountain Metropolis
What’s there not to like about Denver? The Mile High City is a millennial hub whose job market is as great as the outdoor recreation options it offers. It’s a peaceful mid-sized city with a growing population. The city’s walkability and abundance of greenery make it a beautiful place to live. The peaceful surroundings, 300 days of sunshine, and the economic boom in many different sectors, including healthcare, biotech, hospitality, finance, etc., make Denver a highly livable place and one of the best mountain towns to raise a family.
The Cool Green City
Denver is not only green in terms of parks, but it’s also a cannabis boomtown. Colorado made recreational use of the plant legal back in 2012, and the cannabis industry is flourishing in Denver. This fact is yet another one that shows what a laid-back place the city is. So if you’re young, hip, and outdoorsy, Denver might be the right choice for you.
- Population: 727,211
- Median household income: $68,377
Cincinnati, Ohio — The Queen of Affordable Metros
The Queen City is one of the most affordable major cities in the US, which makes it highly desirable. With a booming job market, especially when it comes to healthcare and finance, beautiful architecture, and a massive amount of outdoor spaces to enjoy, Cincinnati is a piece of heaven. What’s more, even if you’re not into hiking and taking peaceful walks, there’s always something to do here. With a vast number of cafes and restaurants, over 40 breweries, numerous festivals, museums, and more, you’ll never get bored in the Queen City.
A City of Diverse Neighborhoods
Each neighborhood of Cincinnati is like a town of its own, so you can pick and choose where you want to live. From high-end Hyde Park to the vibrant historic Gaslight District, you’ll never get bored exploring the city and its many faces.
- Population: 303,940
- Median household income: $43,585
Nashville, Tennessee — The Capital of Country and Easy Living
Nashville is best known for its iconic music scene, which has spawned many country legends, such as Dolly Parton and George Jones. But Music City is also a great place to live, which is why there are over 30,000 new residents there each year. The economy is stable, and the cost of living is 3% lower than the national average. This city is also a great choice for families and people looking to further their education as many of its schools and universities are top-ranked in the US.
A Hot Music Scene and Sensational Sports
If you opt for Nashville, you’ll be close to a variety of iconic music venues and have the opportunity to hear national, international, and local legends here. However, Music City is also a sports city, with teams in football, soccer, baseball, and hockey leagues.
- Population: 692,587
- Median household income: $54,492
Des Moines, Iowa — A Capital City With a Small-Town Vibe
Even though Des Moines is not the most desirable city in the US, it’s still quite popular among millennials and young families. Part of the reason for that is extremely affordable housing, especially in the suburbs. As the city is the capital of insurance in the US, the job market is strong and growing. It’s also one of the Midwest places with the cleanest environment and lowest unemployment and crime rates. What’s more — the food scene is superb!
A Strong Sense of Community
Des Moines is a capital city, but it’s not that big, and the sense of community is strong. The people here are very friendly. You don’t have to worry about how to meet new neighbors as they’ll instantly feel like family. This close-knit atmosphere is perfect for raising kids.
- Population: 216,853
- Median household income: $46,430
Minneapolis, Minnesota — One of the Healthiest Cities in the US
Minneapolis was long overlooked, but it’s finally its time to shine. Although Midwest is known for greasy fried food, Minneapolis residents are among the healthiest and longest-living in the nation. This fact isn’t surprising, considering their vast park network, amazing bike trails, cleanliness, and abundance of locally produced fresh produce. Minneapolis is also culturally diverse and supportive of various social issues. Overall, no matter your age, this is a great place to live.
Watch for Various Developments in the City
Minneapolis has been undergoing some changes lately, which will improve the overall quality of life in the city and deal with population growth. The staggering two-billion-dollar project called “The Big Build” consists of a series of smaller projects meant to change Minneapolis for the better by adding green space, new facilities, and public amenities.
- Population: 425,403
- Median household income: $63,590
San Francisco, California — The Golden Gate to Heaven
It’s no surprise that San Fran is one of the most desirable cities in the world. With a lovely climate, great economy, and progressive culture, the City offers the best possible quality of life — that is, if you can afford it. The only criterion that San Francisco doesn’t satisfy is the affordability, as housing is exceedingly expensive. However, thanks to its rapidly growing technology sector, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to land a high-paying job, which will allow you to live here comfortably.
Outdoors Lifestyle and Fair Weather
People who love to spend time outdoors will fall in love with San Fran’s nature. From walking in a park to hiking, mountain biking, and more, you’ll never get tired of gorgeous surroundings. What’s more, despite the fog, the weather in Frisco is always mild, and high temperatures and humidity are never a problem.
- Population: 883,305
- Median household income: $96,265
Portland, Oregon — The Capital of Weird
Portland has been called “weird” for years because of its eccentric culture, mixing strip clubs, naked bike rides, and similar events, as well as various hipster places. The city’s smallest park, Mill Ends, which is basically a plant in a pot in the middle of a pedestrian crosswalk, is the epitome of Portland’s strangeness and charm. The city’s quirkiness aside, Portland is a wonderful place to settle down. With numerous job opportunities, the average salary higher than the national average, four distinct seasons, great neighborhoods, and central location, you can’t go wrong if you relocate here.
Portland Is Great for Artistic Types
Portland boasts a thriving arts scene and provides plenty of opportunities for local artists to showcase their work. If you’re an artsy person, you’ll enjoy three monthly art walks and other exhibitions, as well as get a chance to share your own work with the world and mingle with like-minded people.
- Population: 653,115
- Median household income: $53,230
Seattle, Washington — It’s Raining Coffee and Dogs
The residents of Seattle tend to complain about rain, but it’s not as bad as they would have you believe. There are many advantages of living here that far outweigh a little rain. The city is nestled between water and mountains and is generally a peaceful place. The residents love to sip their coffee, which is why there are so many cafes and bars in the area. The job market is healthy, and there are plenty of things to do. The city is also one of the most walkable ones in the States.
Your Dog Will Love It Here
It’s interesting to note that Seattle has more dogs than children. Seattleites take their dogs seriously. Every park allows dogs, and you can also bring your pup to work, many shops, and even restaurants. So if you’re moving with pets, this place is a good choice.
- Population: 744,955
- Median household income: $92,545
Raleigh, North Carolina — A City on the Rise
Similarly to Austin, Raleigh’s population is growing at such an incredible rate that it has almost doubled in the last ten years! A population boom is one of the strongest indicators that there’s something amazing about a city. Raleigh, the largest city in the Research Triangle, is doing everything right. There are numerous job opportunities, especially in the tech industry, and it’s home to some of the best healthcare institutions in the US. The cost of living is much lower compared to other cities, and arts and culture are thriving.
Mild Weather, Warm People
Raleigh has four distinct seasons and is never too hot or too cold. Such weather is perfect for outdoor activities all year round. The residents of this city are warm and friendly — it might be due to the temperate climate. All in all, it’s a beautiful place to settle down and raise a family.
- Population: 469,298
- Median household income: $65,695
What Is the Best Place to Live in the United States 2020?
All of the cities covered in this article are amazing options for starting a new chapter in life, but which one takes the crown? Without a doubt, the best place to live in the States is Austin, Texas, as confirmed by the U.S. News & World Report, which has voted it the most livable city in the US three years in a row.
However, no matter which city you opt for, it’s important to enlist professional long-distance moving services, which will make your transition effortless and painless. If you’re too excited about the move to think about the nitty-gritty of the relocation process, you can even take advantage of professional packing services and arrange for auto transport, while you take a comfortable flight to your new home.