Finding someone to share your life with brings about lots of changes. Relationships can rearrange or even create new priorities, and among them is finding a place for the two of you to call home. No matter how long you have been a couple, taking the step to move in together is a decision that will always represent the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in your relationship.
When looking for a place to live, it’s important to consider the needs and desires of both individuals. For any couple, this usually means finding a city that can provide the best options for employment and personal growth.
For generations, we have associated love and romance with our location. Why? Because our cities are more than just the places where we live, work and play. They are the places where we build the most important relationships that we have in our lives.
To help with this important search, CreditNinja has compiled a detailed list of the top cities for couples to settle in and make a happy home. These metropolitan areas are diverse, have affordable rent, and provide some great opportunities to make a great living. Sit down with your partner and take a look at this list together. You never know— you may find your new hometown!
#1 Arlington, Virginia
Median Household Income: $180,097
Arlington is a city situated in Northern Virginia, right across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It’s been placed at the top of many lists for its overall livability because it offers so much. It’s proximity to the nation’s capitol makes it part of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Additionally, Arlington is also home to a number of government agencies, like the Department of Defense and the Transportations Safety Administration (TSA). These and many other public and private employers provide thousands of job opportunities across the area. These opportunities have brought the city’s employment rate to an amazing 74.7%—one of the highest in America. And these jobs seem to be lucrative; the city’s median household income and average personal income is the best. Over half of Arlington’s households (53%) are married, which is a very good sign that this city is a place where couples can be happy both at home and on the job.
#2 Alexandria, Virginia
Median Household Income: $156,545
Alexandria is one of the most populous cities in Virginia. Along with Arlington, it is a part of the Washington, D.C. metro area. Alexandria is largely populated by professionals employed by the US federal civil service, government contractors, and its largest employer, The U.S. Department of Defense.
Also like its sister city, Alexandria’s government-related employment opportunities make it an ideal spot to find a career that pays. It has the second-highest average per person income ($54,597/yr) and the 4th highest household income on the list. Those numbers are arguably balanced by cost of living expenses, which are about 49% higher than the national average. However, with the majority (51%) of households reporting married, it would appear that couples are finding Alexandria a great place to pool resources and live comfortably.
#3 Lewisville, Texas
Median Household Income: $95,857
Lewisville is a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth, located about 20 miles north of downtown Dallas. Nestled in the country’s fourth-largest metro areas, It is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. With a diverse economy that spans a number of industries, the metropolitan region is a major player in banking, commerce, insurance, telecommunications and technology.
Any couple that needs to carefully watch their budget should consider Lewisville in their search. Although it is part of an enormous urban area, the cost of living expenses for the average couple sit just 3% above the national average. Additionally, the average monthly rent is only $1,065, which is 12% lower than the rest of the country. This mix of accessibility and affordability make Lewisville a great place for young couples to get a great start.
#4 Lincoln, Nebraska
Median Household Income: $86,982
Named for the nation’s 16th president, Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska, and the state’s
second largest city. Lincoln’s economy is fairly typical of a mid-sized American city. Lincoln is home to a range of prominent industries, including finance, insurance, publishing, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. High-tech and information technology are also major contributors to the city’s economy. These industries help the city maintain a solid 68% employment rate.
On top of its abundance of employment opportunities, Lincoln also scores high with its low numbers—in expenses, that is! The city has one of one of the lowest rent rates on the list, at just $950 a month. The overall cost of living in Lincoln is also low, coming in at 12% under the national average.
#5 Conway, Arkansas
Median Household Income: $87,788
Even though Conway, Arkansas is a suburb of Little Rock, very few residents work outside the city limits. And after a quick look at this small city, we could easily see why. Conway is a growing city, thanks in part to its diverse technology and higher education jobs. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports and cultural hub for Central Arkansas.
Conway is another city where a couple can live great at a low cost. The average monthly rent ($662) is the second lowest of all of the cities we studied. Cost of living expenses are among the lowest on the list as well, running at 19% below the rest of the country.
#6 Irving, Texas
Median Household Income: $98,774
Irving is a keystone city located within the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, with nearly a quarter million residents. Irving is home to thousands of global corporations that span across various industries, Irving is also one of the most culturally diverse cities in the entire United States, making it an even more ideal place to work and live.
Irving has an employment rate of 70%, and 56% of its households are married. These factors, along with a strong cost of living index that sits right at the national average, gives couples a chance to make a great start in this city.
#7 Lexington, Kentucky
Median Household Income: $89,033
Lexington is the second largest city in Kentucky, It’s stable economy includes the headquarters of several large corporations and hubs in the tech, construction, and freight industries.
Lexington is another city that can provide couples with affordable living options. Residents spend an average of $923 on rent, which is just 17% of the median household income.
Cities That Round Out Our Top 20 picks:
#8 Omaha, Nebraska
Median Household Income: $88,240
#9 Raleigh, North Carolina
Median Household Income: $98,115
#10 Little Rock, Arkansas
Median Household Income: $84,190
#11 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Median Household Income: $83,628
#12 Tulsa, Oklahoma
Median Household Income: $77,231
#13 Austin, Texas
Median Household Income: $113,583
Median Household Income: $90,628
#15 Charlotte, North Carolina
Median Household Income: $90,873
#16 Dallas, Texas
Median Household Income: $89,911
#17 Tyler, Texas
Median Household Income: $78,934
#18 Minneapolis, Minnesota
Median Household Income: $102,824
#19 Houston, Texas
Median Household Income: $95,272
#20 Orem, Utah
Median Household Income: $81,317
To find the best cities for couples, CreditNinja studied 57 metropolitan areas across the United States. Research 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 certain 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 in regards to their overall living standards to provide insight on categories that generally influence business opportunities and aspects of local lifestyle. Each city/metro area was reviewed by comparing 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 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.