What makes a location the best place to live, work or retire? These lists will help you determine just that. Among other criteria, they cover which cities are ranked as the safest to live in, which cities have the best job opportunities, and which cities are most family-friendly.


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The Best Places to Live

The 50 best places to live in America, (Business Insider, Feb. 27, 2018) — When deciding where to put down roots, many factors rest in the eye of the beholder, such as climate, politics, or proximity to extended family.

This is the best place to live in every state, (Time/Money, Jan. 26, 2018) — What's the best place to live in your state? It should be someplace that pairs strong economic and educational performance with affordability, and then ticks other boxes as well: convenience, safety, a pleasant way of life.

The 2018 Top 100 Best Places to Live List is Here!, (Livability, Jan. 16, 2018) — We asked more than 2,000 people across the country to tell us what matters most to them about the place they live. Affordability? Great schools? A fun cultural scene? Job prospects? Tight-knit community?

The best place to live in every U.S. state, (The Insider Blog, Jan. 11, 2018) — Before moving to a new city, you may want to consider how safe you'll feel or how far your dollar will go in that state.

The Best Places to Live in America, (Money, Oct. 2017) E — The basic elements that make somewhere a great place to live rarely change - good schools, a good economy, good neighbors. Yet, around the edges, preferences tend to shift over time.

Most livable: America's 50 best cities to live in, (USA Today, Oct. 13, 2017) — As the land of opportunity, the United States has attracted people from around the world for centuries. Yet not all parts of the country are equally desirable, and some cities are far more livable than others.

This is the best place to live in America, (Time/Money, Sept. 18, 2017) — The basic elements that make somewhere a great place to live rarely change - good schools, a good economy, good neighbors. Yet around the edges, preferences tend to shift over time.

100 best places to live in America – which one is the right fit for you?, (Market Watch, Feb. 17, 2017) — The list breaks down the 100 most populous metro areas by desirability, value, job market, quality of life and net migration.

The 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S., (Moving Blog, Jan. 24, 2017) — Before moving to a new city, you may want to consider how safe you'll feel or how far your dollar will go in that state.

The 15 Best Places to Live in the U.S., (New York Post, Sept. 14, 2016) – They’ve ranked the cities and towns that are considered the best places to live in the US right now.

The Best Places to Live in the U.S., (Conde’ Nast Traveler, Mar. 4, 2016) — Our apologies for all the impending injuries to hometown pride, but when looking at the numbers, some cities are just better places to live than others.

The 5 Best Cities for Starting Over, (WiseBread, Feb. 24, 2016) — The number one reason people push for getting a fresh start in a new city is economic opportunity — with 44% of respondents citing a new job or business endeavor as their primary motivation, according to Pew Research report.

The Best Affordable Places to Live

2018 best affordable places to live, (Livability, Feb. 19, 2018) — Annual list highlights the best places to live that won't break the bank.

The 25 best affordable places to live in the U.S. in 2017, (U.S. News & World Report, May 17, 2017) — Which metro areas allow your paycheck to go further when it comes to housing costs?

The top 25 cities offering jobs and affordable housing, (CNBC, Sept. 15, 2017) — If you're one of many Americans struggling to manage sky-high rent, student loans and credit card debt, finding a place to live comfortably can seem impossible.

2018 cities with the lowest cost of living, (Niche, June 14, 2017) — Explore the cheapest cities to live in America relative to income.

The 17 Most Affordable U.S. Cities of 2016, (Mint Blog, June 29, 2016) — In no particular order, they’ve rounded up a list of 17 cities with the lowest cost of living and affordable property.

15 Best Places to Live If You’re Trying to Save Money (and 15 Worst), (The Huffington Post, Apr. 11, 2016) — Some cities offer higher-paying jobs, but if the cost of living is also higher, a big paycheck still might not go that far.

The 10 Best Affordable Places to Live, (The Street, Feb. 5, 2016) — Is your current city too expensive? If so, you may want to consider moving to a place where you can get more value for your dollar.

Safest Places to Live

2018 Safest Cities, (Niche, 2018) — Explore the safest cities in America. Niche ranks U.S. cities based on assaults, burglaries, and violent crime rates. A high ranking indicates that a city has low crime rates across multiple categories. 

The 33 safest American cities to live in, (Business Insider, Mar. 7, 2018) – The cities listed have relatively low population numbers. Cities with higher densities tend to have more crime. But within a city, high traffic areas are generally safer than low-traffic areas.

The best places to live for safety and security, (U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 11, 2017) – A sense of security is paramount to residing happily in a community, but it can be subjective. People have different thresholds for nearby crime and necessary security measures in the same way they have differing thresholds for weather extremes.

The 25 safest American cities to live in, (Business Insider, July 8, 2016) – Safety is a priority whether you’re choosing your next vacation spot, relocating for your career, or just exploring a new part of your city.

The 9 Safest Cities in America, (CBS News, Nov. 20, 2015) — Safety first, right? Whether you're thinking about relocating for your career, looking for a good neighborhood in which to buy a home or trying to decide where you want to attend college, safety is always a top consideration. It's a pretty safe bet to say that no one wants to live in a place where they feel threatened or afraid.

America’s Safest, Most Secure Places to Live, (Forbes, June 29, 2013) — Top 10 metro areas with the lowest risk of damage from natural disasters.

Most Secure Places to Live, 2011, (Sperling's Best Places, Dec. 15, 2011)

10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters, (WiseBread, Mar. 28, 2011) — A list of ten U.S. cities that have a low likelihood of being struck by a major natural disaster.

Best Places to Live for Your Health

2018 Healthiest Places to Live in America, (Niche, 2018) — Explore the healthiest places in the U.S. based on rates of smoking, alcohol abuse, and obesity as well as access to healthcare, mental health, and fitness centers.

2018's Healthiest & Unhealthiest Cities in America, (WalletHub, Feb. 12, 2018) — Location matters when it comes to health. Some places promote wellness by expanding access to nutritious food and recreational facilities. Others strive to keep healthcare costs affordable for everyone or keep parks clean and well-maintained.

The best places to live in the U.S. for quality of life in 2017, (U.S. News & World Report, June 21, 2017) — These metro areas offer the best education, health services and crime rates.

The best and Worst US States for Your Health, (Fox News Blog, Dec. 24, 2016) – How healthy is your state? The United Health Foundation knows.

10 Healthiest Places to Live in America, (Health Blog, Sept. 19, 2016) — For anyone who wants to prioritize fitness, eating right, and aging well, it certainly can't hurt to live in a place where healthy values are woven into the local culture.

10 most healthy states in America, (Huffington Post, Dec. 13, 2014)

The Best Places to Live for Millennials

2018 Best Cities for Millennials in America, (Niche, 2018) — Explore the best cities for your professionals based on the number of millennial residents, job opportunities, and access to bars, restaurants, and affordable housing.

Millennial Migration: 5 small cities attracting big waves of young people, (Livability, Jan. 18, 2018) — Today's millennials are forgoing big coastal metropolises for smaller towns and cities - here's where they're going (and why).

The 23 best citites to move to if you're a broke millennial, (Business Insider, Jan. 5, 2018) — If you're considering taking the plunge, MoveHub has done the hard work for you and sussed out the cities where young people can find the best quality of life for their money.

Where are Millennials moving? The answer may surprise you, (USA Today, Oct. 7, 2017) — A study of more than 2,000 millennials found that one in five have moved back home for a chance to live their dream or win over that someone special.

25 U.S. cities that millennials can afford - and actually want to live in, (The Penny Hoarder, July 22, 2017) — The Penny Hoarder has developed a definitive list of the top 25 coolest and most affordable cities for millennials. It's based on a rigorous analysis of housing and local price data, economic statistics and something called a Coffee Fanatic Score.

The 10 best cities for Millennials in 2017, (Forbes, July 11, 2017) — If you're a millennial thinking about moving to a new city, you're likely mulling over its job market, cost of living and tendency for sunny days. But perhaps you're also considering whether a city has a vibrant, diverse community.

The 25 best cities in the U.S. for people under the age of 35, (CNBC, Nat 23, 2017) — The so-called "urban wave" of young people moving to cities continues. So which are the best ones for millennials to live in?

These are the 10 best U.S. cities for Millennials, (Huffington Post, Apr. 20, 2017) — America nabbed 10 spots on this global list of 100 cities.

The 20 Best Cities for 20-Somethings, (Greatist Blog, Oct. 10, 2016) — There’s a new set of go-to destinations for young people—some of which are quite surprising.

20 Great Cities for Millennials and Generation Z in 2016, (Forbes, Sept. 19, 2016) — When you’re young and in the early chapters of your career, there are certain criteria that make life more fun and work more satisfying.

Top 10 Cities for Millennials Home Buyers, (realtor®.com, June 2, 2016)

The 6 Best Cities for Single Millennials, (WiseBread, Mar. 10, 2016)

Millennials Want the ‘Anti-Suburb Suburb’, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 26, 2016) — Forget what you’ve read about the millennial generation not buying homes in the suburbs. The latest surveys show they are, and not only that, they are leaving a powerful footprint on the feel of suburbia.

Best Places for Business and Careers

These are the 5 best cities to start your career, (Business Insider, Nov. 18, 2017) — What criteria would be helpful for young professionals when making their personal decision on where to live and work?

The best small cities for business and careers 2017, (Forbes, Nov. 6, 2017) — The areas are ranked on 14 factors related to job growth (past and projected), costs (business and living), income and economic growth, quality of life and the education of the workforce.

These are the 25 best cities for jobs right now, (Business Insider, Sept. 14, 2017) — While the job market has dramatically improved and unemployment has hovered around historically low levels, where you live an have a huge impact on the availability of work.

The 10 Best Cities in the US to Start Your Career, (Business Insider, Apr. 26, 2016)

Cities with the Best Job Opportunities in America, (Niche, May 11, 2015) — Explore the cities with the best job opportunities. Niche ranks US cities based on employment rates, employee and business turnover, and cost of living. A high ranking indicates that a city has growing businesses and a robust job market.

Best Family-Oriented Places to Live

2018 Best Places to Raise a Family in America, (Niche, 2018) — Explore the best cities to raise a family.

2016’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family, (WalletHub Blog, Jan. 8, 2018) — Raising a healthy, stable family sometimes requires moving to a new state.

25 affordable cities that are also awesome places to raise families, (The Penny Hoarder, Dec. 18, 2017) — There comes a time in everybody's life when they need to start thinking more about diapers than dive bars.

The 10 best places in America to raise a family now, (Time/Money, Dec. 12, 2017) — This list offers families quality public education, low crime, plenty of kid-friendly activities, and of course affordability - because children already cost plenty.

2016’s Best & Worst Cities for Families, (WalletHub Blog, Sept. 7, 2016)

Affordable and Growing: Best Small Cities for Families, (NerdWallet, Aug. 2, 2016) — Costly homes. Crowded neighborhoods. Underperforming schools. Some families would rather not put up with the challenges of big-city living.

The 30 Safest Cities to Raise a Child - 2016, (Safewise Blog, June 27, 2016) — Raising children is stressful enough without having to worry about their whereabouts and safety. Luckily, there are a number of cities across America that are ideal for raising kids.

Best Places to Live Worldwide

These are the 20 greatest cities to live in, (The Telegraph, Mar. 20, 2018)

27 cities around the world where expats are happy, rents are affordable, and jobs are plentiful, (Business Insider, Nov. 14, 2017) — If you're thinking about living abroad, the best people to ask for tips might be the people who have already done it: expats.

The 10 best places to live in the world, (Conde` Naste Traveler, Aug. 16, 2017)

The 23 cities with the best quality of life in the world, (Business Insider, Mar. 14, 2017) — This ranking is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and is carried out annually to help multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

Want to Move Country? These Are the World’s Best Cities for Expats, (CNN, Nov. 10, 2016)

The 27 Cities With the Best Quality of Life in the World, (Business Insider, May 18, 2016)

Western European Cities Top Quality of Living Rankings, (Mercer, Feb. 26, 2016)

The 10 Best Places to Live Rich Without Money, So You Can Bring Your Dreams to Life, (David Wolfe, Feb. 2, 2016) — Have you ever felt the desire to pack a few bags and leave everything else behind? To move somewhere exotic and live simply, without technology or the stresses of everyday life?

World’s Top 30 Best Countries to Live In 2016, (LifeStyle9, Jan. 8, 2016) — Where on earth the happiest people reside? Which one is the best place to live in / relocate to?

10 best places to live in the world: Where does the U.S. fall on the list, (San Francisco Gate, Dec. 16, 2015) — The report includes an index that ranks 188 countries according to livability. Each country was given a score based on data in three areas: life expectancy, education and income-standard of living.

The Best Places to Live in the World 2015, (Global Finance, Nov. 19, 2015)

The 10 Best Places to Live Abroad, (Huffington Post, Sept. 23, 2015) — Have you ever entertained the thought of dropping everything to move abroad? If so, prepare yourself, because it's about to look a whole lot more enticing.

The 20 Best Places to Live Overseas, (Business Insider, Mar. 7, 2015) — Tired of your old job? Looking for a new environment? There are a lot of reasons to leave your home country behind in search of greener pastures, but picking where to go can be an overwhelming decision.

Best Places for Retirement

Best U.S. Cities to Retire In, (The Street Blog, Jan. 25, 2018) — Thinking about where to retire is one way to get through a long work day. These cities, with more than 100,000 people, will give you a few places to dream about.

The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2018, (International Living, Jan. 1, 2018) — The Retirement Index is still the most comprehensive and in-depth survey of its kind. It's the best way we know of to sift through the wealth of opportunity the world offers, bring some order, and help you pinpoint the best destination for you.

How to Choose the Perfect Country to Retire in, (WiseBread Blog, Oct. 16, 2017)

The best places to retire in 2018, (U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 2, 2017) — These retirement spots provide a high quality of life at an affordable price.

Great Places to Retire, (Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Aug. 2017) E

25 best places to retire in the U.S., (AARP, Apr. 21, 2017) — new list shows college towns are popular with retirees.

The World’s 12 Best Places to Live or Retire in 2017, (Huffington Post, Jan. 18, 2017) — The secret to taking control of your retirement in 2016 and making this phase of life a grand adventure, even if your retirement nest egg is modest, is expanding your horizons. Take your retirement global and you can maximize your quality-of-life return for every dollar spent.

10 Best Countries to Retire to in 2017, (Investopedia, Jan. 10, 2017)

The Best Places to Retire, (Time, Oct. 24, 2016)

2016’s Best and Worst Places to Retire, (WalletHub, Aug. 15, 2016) — After toiling in the workplace for decades, it seems natural to expect financial security in our golden years. But not everyone can look forward to a cushy retirement.

The 10 Best and Worst U.S. Cities to Retire in 2016, (The Huffington Post, Aug. 15, 2016)

Best Places to Retire, (Southern Living, Aug. 11, 2016) — Whether you’re about to retire or still dreaming, here’s the list of some of the best places in the South to set your sights.

These Are the 10 Best (and Worst) States to Retire, (Money Talks News, Feb. 2, 2016)

Best and Worst States to Retire, (CNBC, Jan. 23, 2016) — Most people are focused on when they will retire. A better question may be where.

Best Places for a Second Home

Top places to purchase a winter home, (RIS Media Blog, Dec. 7, 2017) — Looking for a second home is no easy undertaking and shouldn't be taken lightly. Chances are you want to find a place that isn't close to where you currently live, which translates to even more research than you likely did when you bought that house in your hometown or your college town.

The 20 best cities to own investment properties, (Business Insider, Nov. 8, 2017) — There are some common themes when it comes to finding the best city to own investment property.

These are the best U.S. cities to invest in a vacation rental, (Coastal Living, Aug. 5, 2017) — As if you needed another reason to run out and buy that dream escape on the coast.

25 places to buy a vacation home on a budget, (USA Today, July 7, 2017) — If you're dreaming of a vacation home but also have a budget to manage, there's some great news for you.

Foreign Real Estate: More Than a Second Home, (International Living, Jan. 18, 2017)

What to Know Before Buying a Home at Your Favorite Vacation Spot, (Money, Sept. 17, 2015) — You need to visit your vacation home often to make the purchase worth it, so ensure you truly love the location and won't grow tired of it.

Top 10 places in the U.S. to buy a vacation home, (Crain's Wealth, Aug. 6, 2015)

Vacation properties are hot: Where to shop for that home away from home, (Washington Post, May 28, 2015)

30 best places to have a second home, (The Times, Mar. 12, 2015) — Fancy a cottage in Cornwall, or a house with views across Britain’s best golf course? Property experts on Bricks & Mortar have the inside track on where to buy that weekend retreat, from a £150,000 terraced house in a thriving market town to a millionaire’s party pad in Battersea Power Station.

5 of the world’s best places to buy a second home in the sun, (Huffington Post, Jan. 6, 2015) — Which overseas property markets should have your attention this shiny new year? The world is alive right now with markets in crisis and markets benefiting from the strong dollar (and the weak euro).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Making Home, (Kindle, eBook)

Where to Retire, (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

This is where you belong, the art and science of loving the place you live, (New York, NY: Viking, 2016)

The end of the suburbs, (New York, NY: Portolio/Penguin, 2013)

Places rated almanac: your guide to finding the best places to live in North America, (New York, NY: Time, Inc., 1999)

The Best Places to Live Today, (New York, NY: Time, Inc., 1998)

Small town bound, (Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 1996)

A Place to Live is the Place to Start: A Statement of Principles for Changing HUD to meet America's housing and community development priorities, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1995)

A Better Place to Live: Reshaping the American Suburb, (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, 1994)

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

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