While the ideal place to live is based on personal preferences, such as proximity to family, politics, and climate; however, some cities have objectively more favorable living conditions than others. While cities like New York or Los Angeles are very desirable, their high cost of living can make them a little less livable for many people.
To determine this, five metrics were analyzed and given a score: job market, value, quality of life desirability, and net migration. “Value” includes both household income and the cost of living. “Quality of life” includes crime and quality of education among other factors.
Based on these metrics, the ten most livable cities in the United States are:
- Austin, TX
- Denver, CO
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Fayetteville, AR
- Des Moines, IA
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- San Francisco, CA
- Portland, OR
- Seattle, WA
- Raleigh & Durham, NC
Austin, Texas took the top spot on the list for the third consecutive year in a row. With a population of just over 2 million people, Austin gains about 150 new residents every day. Austin’s quality of life score is 7.3, known for its live music scene and cultural institutions. Additionally, Austin has a 9.0 for both desirability and net migration.
Denver and Colorado Springs switched spots for the 2019 list, with Denver taking the second spot and Colorado Springs taking the third. Denver is more of an economic hub full of progressive-minded nature lovers and is not a mountain town. Denver also a booming cannabis industry boosting the economy since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012. Colorado Springs is less of an economic hub than Denver; however, it has a desirability score of 10 out of 10, offering a low cost of living, a low unemployment rate, quality education, and proximity to ski resorts.
San Francisco is ranked as the seventh-best place to live in the United States and is somewhat of an outlier on the list. San Francisco has a desirability score of 10; however, its value score is 4.9. San Francisco is an entrepreneurial hub full of progressive-thinking people and a variety of unique neighborhoods, each with their own personality; however, the constant influx of people has put pressure on the real estate market and has resulted in skyrocketing housing costs.