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CITIES

The 50 Best Places to Live in the U.S. Right Now

Ellen Gutoskey
Big Spring International Park in Huntsville, Alabama.
Big Spring International Park in Huntsville, Alabama. / gatorinsc/iStock via Getty Images
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Choosing the best city to live in depends on your own personal priorities. Maybe you’re specifically looking for somewhere that’s great for single people, remote workers, or foodies. Maybe you’re a meat lover who mainly just wants access to the best barbecue America has to offer.

In other words, best can be a pretty subjective modifier. But there are certain metrics that we can all agree do help evaluate how good or bad a city might be to live in—like unemployment rates, housing costs, crime rates, air quality index, average commute time, and the quality of education and healthcare systems.

Based on those and other factors, the city of Huntsville in northern Alabama is apparently heaven on Earth (or as close as you can get without leaving the country). Huntsville, which plays host to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, is ranked number one on U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of the best places to live in the U.S.

The city’s overall score was a 7.0, edging out runner-up Colorado Springs, Colorado, by just two tenths of a point. Rounding out the top five were Green Bay, Wisconsin; Boulder, Colorado; and San Jose, California.

Many of America’s most famous cities did make the list: San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. all landed in the top 20. But in general, there are quite a few dark horses. Florida, for example, has six cities in the top 50, but Orlando and Miami aren’t among them. Similarly, New York has four—but New York City is conspicuously missing. In short, cultural meccas and highly trafficked vacation spots aren’t necessarily ideal places to settle down.

See if your city made the top 50 below, and find out more about U.S. News & World Report’s rankings here.

  1. Huntsville, Alabama // 7.0
  2. Colorado Springs, Colorado // 6.8
  3. Green Bay, Wisconsin // 6.8
  4. Boulder, Colorado // 6.8
  5. San Jose, California // 6.7
  6. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina // 6.7
  7. Fayetteville, Arkansas // 6.7
  8. Portland, Maine // 6.7
  9. Sarasota, Florida // 6.7
  10. San Francisco, California // 6.7
  11. Ann Arbor, Michigan // 6.6
  12. Naples, Florida // 6.6
  13. Austin, Texas // 6.6
  14. Des Moines, Iowa // 6.6
  15. Boise, Idaho // 6.6
  16. Grand Rapids, Michigan // 6.6
  17. Madison, Wisconsin // 6.6
  18. Boston, Massachusetts // 6.6
  19. Washington, D.C. // 6.6
  20. Melbourne, Florida // 6.5
  21. Albany, New York // 6.5
  22. Portland, Oregon // 6.5
  23. Salt Lake City, Utah // 6.5
  24. Jacksonville, Florida // 6.5
  25. Nashville, Tennessee // 6.5
  26. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania // 6.5
  27. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota // 6.5
  28. Lincoln, Nebraska // 6.5
  29. Omaha, Nebraska // 6.5
  30. Charlotte, North Carolina // 6.5
  31. Hickory, North Carolina // 6.4
  32. Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas // 6.4
  33. Knoxville, Tennessee // 6.4
  34. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky // 6.4
  35. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania // 6.4
  36. Seattle, Washington // 6.4
  37. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina // 6.4
  38. Syracuse, New York // 6.4
  39. Tampa, Florida // 6.4
  40. Kalamazoo, Michigan // 6.4
  41. Cincinnati, Ohio // 6.4
  42. Rochester, New York // 6.4
  43. Greenville, South Carolina // 6.4
  44. Pensacola, Florida // 6.4
  45. Buffalo, New York // 6.4
  46. Asheville, North Carolina // 6.4
  47. Hartford, Connecticut // 6.3
  48. Fort Wayne, Indiana // 6.3
  49. Charleston, South Carolina // 6.3
  50. Peoria, Illinois // 6.3
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