Which cities are considered the best cities in America? That depends on whether you just want to visit for a few days or stay there for good. Cities like Las Vegas, for example, attract many visitors each year, but most of these people don’t stay permanently.
But determining the top cities to live in the US can also be a problem because different people have different ideas regarding their ideal city to live in. It’s like choosing the best car. Some people consider fast cars such as a Porsche as the best, but for people with kids an SUV may be the best choice. For cash-strapped teens, a ten-year old Honda Civic is perfectly acceptable.
When it comes to choosing the best cities to live in the US, we encounter the same problem. So the best answer to this question is to list down the best cities based on different factors.
Top Cities for Families
For many parents, the best cities to live in the US will probably be based on several factors. They have to take into account the affordability of the homes, the cost of living, and the quality of the schools for their kids. The employment opportunities for the parents and the crime statistics that determine the safety of the entire family must also be considered.
With these factors in mind, here are the top cities to live in the US for families:
Boston, Massachusetts. Parents will love the traditionally low unemployment rates in Boston. For March it was pegged at 4.2%, which is quite better than the state’s 4.8% and NYC’s 6.5%. The US unemployment rate is at 5.4%.
There are also a lot of good schools in the area, and for educational trips in the city there are lots of museums and historical sites to visit. And the city is also big on sports, with teams in all the major sports. Boston has always been one of the best cities in America, and for very good reasons.
Colorado Springs, Colorado. If your family is more of the outdoorsy type, then this is a great place to go to. In fact, it’s a major tourist destination with more than 5 million visitors every year. You have lots of parks and trails, and it is at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains. You’ve got numerous ski resorts as well. There are fewer than half a million people here, sharing an area that spans almost 200 square miles.
If you plan on moving here with your family, make sure you get a job ready with the military, the tech industry, or in tourism. These are the top employers in the city. Once you secure your employment here, Colorado Springs is one of the top cities to live in the US if you have a family to take care of.
The weather is great, there’s a lot of wilderness to explore, and the average income compares well with the cost of living. These are just some of the reasons why so many people are moving here.
Nashville, Tennessee. Music is in the very DNA of the city, but that’s not the only reason why in 2013 it was the 2nd-fastest growing city in the US. Its growth is so phenomenal that some of the old-timers refer to Nashville as «Little Dubai». That’s mainly because the employment growth has been fueled by the ascent of the tech industry in the city, which has joined the music, education, and health care industries as a major employer.
Here in Nashville, homes are more affordable, and there’s not much stress. It’s a very relaxing place, while students can enjoy good schools and the availability of Google Fiber.
Dallas, Texas. This city is renowned for the high quality of both private and public schools. And kids don’t need to learn just in the classroom, because there are many gardens open to the public such as the Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, and the Trinity River Audubon Center with its numerous outdoor activity offerings.
Top Cities for New Graduates
Not everyone who’s looking for a place to live has to worry about a burgeoning new family. Some are too busy worrying about themselves. These include the new college graduates who are looking for a place to enjoy their new-found independence.
For new graduates, the most important factors include low employment rates not just for everyone but especially for twenty-something adults. They need places where there’s a good likelihood of jobs with above-average wages, while the cost of living and the rent aren’t all that expensive.
Of course, these young adults also seek others of their age, so the local social life should be very active and filled with other young adults as well.
With all these factors in mind, here are some of the cities new graduates should consider:
Boulder, Colorado. This is a great place for young adults, especially those who aren’t exactly enamored with crowds. There are only about 300,000 people here, but about 17.1% of them are in their twenties.
The entertainment possibilities are endless. The outdoorsy folks will have lots of opportunities for biking, hiking, and climbing. For those whose tastes are more urban, there’s always the Pearl Street Mall, where there are a thousand businesses where you can meet up with other young people.
The rent is a bit more expensive than the national average, but the employment for young adults is excellent. And so is the median salary for new graduates, which is at a healthy $44,200 a year.
Salt Lake City. There are a lot of adults in their twenties here, which is why the median age for the city is not even 31 when the median age in the whole country is 37.2 years. Part of the reason for that is because the unemployment rate is so low at just 3.3% for March 2015 and about 27% of all job openings are for entry-level positions that are perfect for new grads.
The median salary for new graduates is at a healthy $43,600 a year, but the cost of rent is lower than the national average at about $846 month. That leaves a lot of money for entertainment.
Anchorage, Alaska. This may be a surprising recommendation, especially when you consider the drawbacks. It’s cold and remote, the cost of living is a bit higher than usual, and the rent is more than 19% higher than the national average.
But then again, there’s money to be made here, and young adults don’t have children to worry about. It’s why out of the 380,000 or so people here, fully 16% of them are in their twenties. There are lots of open positions for entry level jobs, the median salary is an astonishing $50,100 a year, and you don’t even have to pay sales taxes or state taxes. And if you stay here for a full year, the state oil fund gives you a dividend which can reach up to $900.
Cheapest Cities to Live in the US
For some people, it’s always about the cost of living. That means for them the best cities to live in the US are those which offer low rents or affordable home prices plus low prices for goods and services. The health care ought to be affordable as well.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should immediately head on out to the cheapest places to live in. Some other factors, such as income, safety, and entertainment opportunities have to factor in as well.
Memphis, Tennessee. This town has a rich musical heritage, and every year in May there’s a month-long musical festival that attracts tourists from all around the globe.
But for residents, the real attraction here is that there are low prices for everything. Housing is quite affordable, with the average cost of is just a little bit over $180,000 and rent for an apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms cost an average of just $726 a month. Overall, the cost of living here in Memphis is about 14.3% lower than the national average.
Fayetteville, Arkansas. Homeowners will like the average price of homes, at just $228,000. But the rent is truly low, as the average rent for an apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms is a miniscule $543 a month. Food and entertainment won’t cost you much, and overall the cost of living is 15.4% lower than the national average.
But here’s an additional bonus – according to Forbes magazine, Fayetteville is also among the top cities for businesses and careers. That means it’s easier to earn money here, yet you don’t get to spend as much.
Appleton, Wisconsin. It’s very affordable to live here. The median price of a home is 20% below the US median home price. On average, an Appleton resident spends only 28% on housing and 18% on transportation.
But Appleton has a lot more to offer, which is why both families and young professionals are drawn to the city. There are numerous entertainment opportunities here, and coupled with the low costs that means good times don’t have to be expensive. And the unemployment rate is very low as well, which in turn keeps the crime rate low as well.
Madison, Wisconsin. For a state capital, it’s surprisingly affordable here, and that’s probably because it’s not a coastal city and its atmosphere is that of a hip college town. The housing is very affordable as well. It’s a place where young folks can stretch their money while still have a great time. There are plenty of recreational and entertainment options, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg even if you’re just starting out.
In truth, Madison is really also a great place to live in if you have a family. That’s because the schools here are terrific, and your kids won’t get bored with all the activities here. And what’s more, you won’t have to worry too much about your family’s health, as the health care is not just excellent but also reasonably priced.
Of course, having lots of money and plenty of entertainment opportunities won’t mean much if you’re not safe on the streets or even in your own home. Crime rates are an important statistic to consider, especially in heavily populated areas where tempers can run high and low unemployment can lead to high crime stats.
If this is your number one priority, here are some of the best cities in America you should consider in terms of safety. These are places which have low crime rates, fewer sex offenders per capita, a more significant police presence, and low availability of small firearms.
Edison, New Jersey. It has very low crime rates, as well as very few sex offenders per capita. Factor in the acceptable police presence and availability of small firearms, and you have a very safe place to live in.
Port St. Lucie, Florida. It just missed the top spot because it has a slightly larger number of violent crimes than Edison, and there’s a noticeable absence of violence due to the police presence and fewer available guns.
Santa Clarita, California. If you’re worried about your family or you’re a single woman, Santa Clarita is a very safe place to live in. It has a very low number of sex offenders per capita. It has a low crime rate in general, the number of guns in the streets isn’t high, and there are lots of police officers.
Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. This city is just across the river from Staten Island, and it’s very peaceful. You have few sex offenders, very little property crime, and not much violent crime.
So what are your personal criteria for the best city in the US? Regardless of how you define «the best», there’s a good chance that any one of the best cities in America listed here will have many of the things you’re looking for in a place where you can settle down.