Housing

The Best City to Live in America

Nearly 30 million Americans moved in the past year. Most of them did so to improve their standard of living in some way. People may choose to move to a more affordable area, where they can buy a bigger home. Or they may consider safety and crime, schools or the local job market. Where we live matters.

Of course, there are nearly 30,000 cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods in the United States. While each has something to offer, only a handful stand out as exceptional, with a wide range of qualities that have almost universal appeal.

Using over two dozen metrics related to affordability, economy, the standard of living and community, 24/7 Wall St. identified the best city in which to live in the United States. In order to ensure geographic diversity, we only considered the highest-ranking city in each county as we put together a list of finalists. Data came from a number of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While household income was not itself a factor in the index, many of the cities and towns on the list of finalists are relatively wealthy. This likely is not a coincidence, as income is closely tied to several other measures used to create this list, including low crime, low unemployment and better health outcomes. Here is a look at the richest city in every state.

Population growth can be a sign that an area is attractive to new residents and families. Not surprisingly, most cities on the finalist list are home to more people today than five years ago. A little over half of the cities on the list reported greater population growth than the United States as a whole between 2013 and 2018.

Palo Alto, California, is the best city in which to live in the United States. Its population is 66,573. The city’s five-year population change was an increase of 0.9%. Palo Alto’s median household income is $158,271, and its five-year average unemployment is 3.2%

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the city of Palo Alto and the surrounding area are home to a high concentration of tech companies, including giants such as Facebook and Google as well as startups. Jobs in the area tend to be high paying, as most households in the city earn over $158,000 a year. About 40% of households earn over $200,000. In part because the area has become a tech industry hub, unemployment is low. It averaged about 3.2% over the past five years, well below the comparable 5.3% national figure.

Click here to see all the best American cities to live in.

Methodology: To identify the best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 25 measures that fall into one of four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life and community.