U.S. News & World Report revealed its 2021-2022 Best Places to Live in the U.S. rankings on Tuesday, breaking down how the 150 most populous metro areas measure up when it comes to affordability, job market, desirability, net migration and quality of life.
The annual Best Places to Live rankings examine key factors that people consider when moving to a new place, from typical commute time to average unemployment rate and housing affordability.
[READ: How to Decide Where to Live.]
Boulder, Colorado, ranks as the No. 1 best place to live in the U.S. for the second year in a row. Boulder doesn’t have a particularly low cost of living, but its desirability among U.S. residents (based on a survey of more than 3,600 people), college readiness among high school students, reported well-being among residents and stable job market all contribute to it taking the top spot.
While Boulder maintained its place, the overall rankings show how the COVID-19 pandemic that overtook much of 2020 impacted many metro areas across the U.S., with soaring unemployment rates, altered views on where would be an ideal place to live and a rising cost of living in many parts of the country. As a result, metro areas that exhibited more stability, be it in employment or housing affordability, among other factors, rose in the ranks compared to the year prior.
[Read: How to Vet a Neighborhood Before Moving.]
The 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022:
1. Boulder, Colorado
2. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
3. Huntsville, Alabama
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
5. Austin, Texas
6. Colorado Springs, Colorado
7. Naples, Florida
8. Portland, Maine
9. Sarasota, Florida
10. Portland, Oregon
The ability to afford to live comfortably is of gross importance to many, and the cost of living is a major consideration when people weigh the possibility of moving to a new metro area. The Best Places to Live rankings factor in how the cost of living compares to the area’s median household income, but U.S. News & World Report also broke out the data into its own ranking.
[READ: What to Expect From the Housing Market in 2021.]
The 10 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022:
1. Huntsville, Alabama
2. Fort Wayne, Indiana
3. Quad Cities — Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline-Rock Island, Illinois
4. Hickory, North Carolina
5. Des Moines, Iowa
6. Green Bay, Wisconsin
7. Grand Rapids, Michigan
8. South Bend, Indiana
10. Fayetteville, Arkansas