It’s been said that variety is the very spice of life, and the United States certainly embodies this truth. Each of its regions—the Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West—is unique, having its own personality and customs. And with approximately 20,000 cities, towns, and villages scattered across the land, such variations can be even more pronounced.
As a result, determining which cities are the best places to live can be a daunting task. Nonetheless, several publications do just that every year. With May being National Moving Month, it’s a great time to explore some of America’s most scintillating cities—and the reasons why you should consider residing there.
These rankings are rather straightforward. We compiled the top twenty-five cities in 2022 as ranked by four sources—Money, US News & World Report, Livability, and Niche—and then made a top ten list according to the cities’ frequency and placement in the original sources.
Interestingly, all four lists varied quite a bit as a result of their unique criteria. Here are some of the more interesting facts:
- The number one city was different on each list: Atlanta, Georgia (Money), Huntsville, Alabama (US News & World Report), Madison, Wisconsin (Livability), and Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania (Niche).
- The top city on each list wasn’t even ranked in the top fifteen of the other three lists.
- No city ranked in the top twenty-five on all four lists.
The top 10
10. Franklin, Tennessee
The smallest city in our top ten with fewer than 100,000 residents, this Nashville suburb is noted for its charm and job opportunities.
9. Salt Lake City, Utah
Livability gushed over the beauty of Utah’s capital, calling it “nearly picture-perfect.” Similarly, US News & World Report said it “has one of the country’s best backyards” because of its mountain views.
8. San Jose, California
San Jose is the only city on this list with over one million people. US News & World Report gave it high marks for its job market and quality of life.
7. Boise, Idaho
Lauded by both Money and US News & World Report for its outdoor areas, Boise ranks high for its growth, quality of life, and unemployment rate.
6. Naperville, Illinois
Perhaps the most unheralded city in the top ten, this Chicago suburb placed first on Niche’s list of best cities to raise a family, and Money hailed it for its employment opportunities.
5. Carmel, Indiana
This city due north of Indianapolis received high grades for its outdoor living (Livability), excellent public schools (Niche), and things to do (both).
3. (tie) Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs ranked number two on US News & World Report’s best-of list, thanks in large part to the perfect ten it received for desirability. Livability remarked on the city’s exquisite scenery while also giving it credit for its strong economy.
3. (tie) Madison, Wisconsin
For the second consecutive year, Madison got the top spot in Livability’s rankings due to the strength of its economy and its many amenities. US News & World Report also loved it for its “casual, down-to-earth feel.”
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
As the only city to rank in the top six on two lists, Raleigh slides into the number two spot here. Money called this Southern hotspot a “foodie destination” and cited its lower-than-average home prices and a booming economy among its many perks.
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ranking in the top eleven on three of the four lists, Ann Arbor nabbed our top spot by finishing first on US News & World Report’s list for quality of life and scoring high on technology and diversity on multiple lists. To top it off, it’s a great place for young and old alike—this college town also ranks number eight in the country for best places to retire, per US News & World Report.
The sources used here tend to update their lists annually, so keep an eye out for their 2023 versions later in the year. However, regardless of which lists you review, remember to prioritize your own unique needs and wants when it comes to your dream city. Only by doing so can you determine the best place in America to live for you.