About one in every five American workers whose job could be performed remotely worked from home before the COVID-19 pandemic. That share jumped to nearly three in four following the abrupt closure of offices nationwide, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2020. For millions of Americans, the shift to remote work is now permanent, and the new dynamic means they are no longer tied to a specific city for their job and can choose a place to live based on other factors, including quality of life — which varies considerably in the United States.
Affordability, access to public spaces and services, the presence of entertainment and cultural amenities, crime rates, and socioeconomic conditions are just a few of the factors that can influence quality of life in a given city or town.
24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 25 measures in four main categories – economy, affordability, quality of life, and community – using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, and other sources to identify the best city to live in each state. We considered all boroughs, census designated places, cities, towns, and villages with at least 8,000 residents.
Meridian, a city of about 102,000 residents just west of Boise, ranks as the best place to live in Idaho. The city has a strategic growth plan designed to allow for sustainable expansion and promote industry without sacrificing quality of life. Recently, FedEx opened a 120,000 square foot distribution facility in the area, bringing several hundred jobs with it. Over the last five years, an average of just 3.7% of the local labor force were unemployed, below both the comparable 4.3% state and 5.3% national jobless rates.
Incomes in Meridian are also far higher than they are in much of the state. The typical area household earns $71,389 a year, well above the median income of $55,785 across Idaho. As is often the case in areas with strong job markets and high incomes, Meridian is also safe. There were only 159 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the city in 2019, compared to 224 per 100,000 in Idaho and 367 per 100,000 nationwide.
Our index is composed of data across four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life, and community. Data is all for the most recent year available and came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, The Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other sources. This is the best city to live in every state.
|Place||Population||Median home value ($)||Median household income ($)||5-yr. avg. unemployment (%)|
|Arizona: Paradise Valley||14,362||1,516,200||211,393||2.1|
|Florida: Key Biscayne||12,915||1,211,000||151,310||5.3|
|Georgia: Sandy Springs||107,072||471,800||78,613||3.0|
|Hawaii: Urban Honolulu||348,985||683,000||71,465||3.7|
|Iowa: North Liberty||18,829||220,800||83,949||1.1|
|Kentucky: Fort Mitchell||8,257||272,200||67,745||0.5|
|Maryland: Takoma Park||17,672||583,800||84,591||5.6|
|Michigan: Royal Oak||59,195||224,600||81,665||3.2|
|New Hampshire: Portsmouth||21,775||425,600||83,923||2.1|
|New Jersey: Hoboken||53,193||720,700||147,620||3.0|
|New Mexico: Corrales||8,588||447,600||85,580||2.8|
|New York: Rye||15,820||1,392,100||192,688||4.1|
|North Carolina: Davidson||12,735||448,300||124,853||2.8|
|North Dakota: West Fargo||35,397||241,000||85,120||1.5|
|Ohio: Bay Village||15,325||247,900||103,582||1.3|
|Rhode Island: Newport||24,663||448,800||67,102||5.2|
|South Carolina: Mount Pleasant||86,982||461,000||103,232||2.1|
|South Dakota: Brandon||9,934||225,200||87,250||1.6|
|Texas: Highland Park||9,168||1,508,900||211,136||1.4|
|Utah: South Jordan||71,198||405,400||104,597||1.6|
|Vermont: South Burlington||19,162||307,500||73,065||3.7|
|Washington: Mercer Island||25,675||1,218,200||147,566||4.0|
|West Virginia: Weirton||18,670||94,800||49,496||6.6|