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Best Places To Live In the United States

best cities to live in the united states

Moving to a new city is a stressful process! It’s a big life decision that takes a lot of careful planning and saving. But how do you know that the city you’re considering is the right one for you? There are so many different factors to consider when choosing your new home, including cost of living, job opportunities, home prices, and many more. 

If you’re currently feeling a bit overwhelmed by the planning and research, then allow CreditNinja to take some of it off your plate!

We have collected an extensive amount of data and research to help you find the best city for your needs. Maybe you’re looking for a city that offers great home prices, or the most opportunity for job growth. No matter what your priorities are, you’re bound to find your new home within one of the lists below. 

Top Cities for Couples

Are you and your significant other looking for a great city to call home? Click here to learn more about the best cities for couples, and what they have to offer!1

Full Top Cities for Couples infographic can be viewed here.

Top Cities for Raising a Family

Raising a family is hard work, no matter where you live. But some of the cities on this list might make it just a little bit easier. Check out the top cities for raising a family to learn more!2

Full Top Cities for Raising a Family infographic can be viewed here.

Top Cities for Working Women

As of 2020, 57.4% of women in the United States are members of the labor force. If you’re one of them then click here to learn more about the top cities for working women!3

Full Top Cities for Working Women infographic can be viewed here.

Top Cities for Middle-Class Families

Cost is usually one of the top considerations of people looking for a new city, whether they’re middle class or not. Click to learn more about the best cities for middle-class families!4 

Full Top Cities for Middle-Class Families infographic can be viewed here.

These guides are meant to aid in your search for your new home city. While they aren’t meant to be your only source of information for potential cities, they can help. At CreditNinja, we always recommend doing plenty of thorough research on your own when making a large financial decision like where to live. 

For more personal finance tips and advice, visit the CreditNinja Blog today! 

Methodology & Resources:

  1. To find the best cities for couples, CreditNinja studied 57 metropolitan areas across the United States. The research was conducted to identify areas of the country that possess specific characteristics that would make them an ideal place for a new or established couple to settle in. Our research assumes that both people in the relationship are seeking full-time employment and would pool income as a single household. Children or dependents were not considered. Cities on this list were ranked regarding their overall living standards to provide insight into categories that generally influence business opportunities and aspects of the local lifestyle. Each city/metro area was reviewed by comparing the cost of living expenses against median income. To balance the research, environmental factors that could affect the quality of life for two people living together were considered. The following factors were calculated: Median household income, average (mean) annual salary, median monthly rent, cost of living expenses, percentage of married households, employment rate. These factors were then grouped into weighted categories: Employment 30%, Personal Income 25%, Housing 20%, Living Expenses 20%, Household Income 5%. The data was then plotted on a 30-point scale. Factors relating to income and financial security are added to a city’s score. Commonly shared expenses (like housing and cost of living) were deducted from each city’s score. Our top-rated city (Arlington, VA) scored a 25.40. In comparison, our 57th ranked city (New York, NY—the nation’s largest city) scored a 2.93.
  1. To determine the best places to raise families, CreditNinja evaluated 58 metropolitan areas across the United States. The research was conducted to identify indicators that couples or individuals would look towards when deciding where to live and work while caring for children through high school. To that end, cities on this list were ranked regarding their overall living standards to provide insight on categories that generally influence business opportunities and aspects of the local lifestyle. First, each city/metro area was reviewed by comparing the cost of living expenses against median income. Then, environmental factors that could affect potential parents and students were used to round out each city’s ranking. Overall, we looked at the following data points: Median household income, average (mean) annual salary, median monthly rent, median home value, crime rates (based on reported crimes every 1,000 people in every city), cost of living expenses, percentage of people living at or below the poverty line (annual income of $26,500 for a family of 4), employment rate. These factors were then grouped into weighted categories: Employment 30%, Income 25%, Housing 20%, Expenses 20%, Crime 2.5%, Poverty 2.5%. The data was then plotted on a 20-point scale. Factors relating to income and financial security are added to a city’s score, while expenses and risks (cost of living expenses and crime rates) are deducted from its score. For example, our #1 rated city (Franklin, MA) scored an 18.85. In comparison, our 58th ranked city (Santa Cruz, CA) scored a -1.99.
  1. To determine these ideal cities for working women, CreditNinja evaluated 80 major U.S. cities and their metropolitan areas across nine critical indicators of environments in which women are most likely to find gainful employment and advancement opportunities. Moreover, research was also conducted to assess the number of women entrepreneurs and leaders in corporate and governmental roles, which influences both business and lifestyle. Finally, each city/metro area was also evaluated for its livability by comparing the cost of living expenses against median salaries among female employees, professionals, and business owners. Overall, we looked at the nine following factors: Percentage of managerial positions held by women, Percentage of legislative seats held by women in each city’s stat, Average (mean) salary for working women, Percentage of women earning $75,000 or more, Median earnings of female business leaders, Percentage of businesses owned by women, The average percentage of earnings needed for rent/housing, The average percentage of earnings required for child care, Current unemployment rates. These factors were then grouped into weighted categories: Employment: 30%, Sr. Managers & Legislators: 20%, Income: 25%, Ownership: 15%, Expenses: 10%. The data was then plotted on a 50-point scale, with our #1 rated city (Alexandria, VA) scoring 48.86. In comparison, our 80th ranked city (The Villages, FL) achieved a 19.86.
  1. CreditNinja evaluated 95 cities and metropolitan areas across the United States to determine the best places for middle-class families. But, first, we sought to identify the data that would be most important to middle-class families. To get an accurate assessment of whether a city is middle-class friendly, our researchers considered many factors. The most important one is the cost of living and what it takes to maintain a particular lifestyle. For example, middle-class families will find it challenging to live in a city where rent prices are too high or salaries aren’t enough for an acceptable quality of living. Additionally, parents want to raise their families in relatively safe areas. That makes statistics like crime rates an essential factor. Our research focused on the following data points: Median household income, Average (mean) annual salary, Median monthly rent, Violent and Property Crime rates (based on reported crimes for every 1,000 people per city), Cost of living expenses, Employment rate. These factors were grouped into weighted categories: Income 25%, Housing 20%, Expenses 15%, Employment 35%, Crime 5%. Our researchers examined data points for each of the target cities. The data consisted of the most sought-after information by couples or individuals when deciding where to live and work while caring for school-aged children. The data was plotted on a 20-point scale. Factors relating to income and financial security were added to a city’s score, while expenses and risks (cost of living expenses and crime rates) were deducted. For example, our top-rated city (Joplin, Mo) scored 17.37. In comparison, our 95th ranked city (Birmingham, AL) scored a 0.87.