Field Guide to the Best Places to Live
(Updated March 2017)
What makes a location the best place to live, work or retire? We've gathered the top lists into one spot to help you determine just that. Find out which cities are ranked as the safest to live in, which cities have the best job opportunities, which cities are more family-friendly, and much more in this field guide. (D. McCormick, Budget & Operations Manager)
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The Best Places to Live
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 50 best places to live in America, (Business Insider, Feb. 8, 2017). — 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.
Best Places to Live in America, (Moving, Dec. 27, 2016). — From large cities to small, cultural meccas to quaint art communities, there’s something here for everyone.
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 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S.: 2016, (Outside Magazine, Aug. 14, 2016). — It’s easy to fantasize about living in one of these 16 adventure
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.
Top 100 Best Places to Live, (Livability, 2016). — More than 2,000 cities were ranked, so every city on this list is in the top 5 percent of livable communities in the U.S. Spend some time getting to know them, and when it comes time for your next move, maybe you'll think small.
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.
2015's Best & Worst Large Cities to Live In, (WalletHub). — Everyone has a natural habitat. Some of us prefer the slow pace and bucolic setting of the countryside. Others are drawn to the part-rural, part-urban charm of suburbs. But more and more clusters of people are falling in love with the energetic pulse of the large metropolis.
America's 50 Best Cities to Live In, (USA Today, Nov. 5, 2015). — A host of factors play an important role in the decision where to move, including the quality of schools, the strength of the local economy and job market, safety, culture, and even climate. Americans facing this decision have much to consider.
The 15 Best Places to Live in the United States, (The Street, Sept. 20, 2015). — Looking for a change of scenery? Is your current city too expensive, isolated, or even boring? Livability surveyed 2,000 American adults about what qualities they believe are important in the communities in which they live and the ones to which they might one day consider moving.
The best places to live in America: How college towns perfected the city, (The Street, Sept. 19, 2015). — They're high-tech magnets with street life, culture and lots of energy. No wonder the new "college city" is so hot.
We've Found the Best of the Best Cities to Live In, (realtor.com®, Sept. 3, 2015).
The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S., 2015, (Outside Online, Aug. 18, 2015). – Here are the 16 finalists—the places you say are the top spots in the country to work, run, eat, sail, paddle, drink, ride, and climb.
The 10 Best Places to Live Now, (Men's Journal, Mar. 12, 2015). – Start a business, surf on your lunch break, buy your dream home — here are 10 cities and towns where life is good.
The 10 best downtowns in the U.S., (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 6, 2015). — What qualities make up a vibrant downtown? According to a recent list of the best downtowns in America by Livibility.com, high-performing downtowns "foster creativity, inclusion and innovation" and should offer a mix of architecture, art, a solid variety of attractions, and a chance for people of all walks of life to connect.
The Best Affordable Places to Live
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.
The 20 Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S., (U.S. News & World Report, May 12, 2016). – These cities will leave more cash in your pocket.
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.
2016 Best Affordable Places to Live, (Livability, Feb. 10, 2016). — These are not the least expensive places to live in America. There are places where you can buy a home for pocket change, and whole towns that cost less than a home in Palo Alto, Calif. But if you ask the question “Would you want to live there?”, the answer is likely “No.” Instead, this is a list of affordable cities you’d actually want to live in.
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.
The 15 Most Affordable Places to Live in America, (CBS News, Sept. 22, 2015). — It's not just housing costs that are affordable in many of these middle-class cities. Other fixed expenses, such as commuting costs and utility bills, contribute to the city's affordability.
The 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S., (Huffington Post, Sept. 16, 2015). — Wanna live somewhere cheap? One particular region has your back.
The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family, (Wise Bread, Apr. 29, 2015). — Looking to start a family? Many major metro areas can be tough choices, given their high cost of living, crime statistics, and public school quality. This article digs a little deeper to uncover seven U.S. metro areas that offer the best environments for starting a family.
America’s Most Affordable Cities in 2015, (Forbes, Mar. 12, 2015).
Safest Places to Live
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.
2016 Safest Cities, (Niche, 2016). — 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 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.
Beaverton and Portland Rank among the Safest Places to Live in the U.S., (RIS Media, Mar. 23, 2010).
Seventh Annual Farmers Insurance Study Ranks the Most Secure Places to Live in the U.S., (Sperling's Best Places, 2010). — Safety and security are among the most basic human needs, and a safe, secure environment in which to live, work and raise a family is of utmost importance to many Americans.
Best Places to Live for Your Health
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.
2015 Top 10 Healthiest Cities, (Livability, Feb. 10, 2015). — There are two ways to look at a great healthy city. The first and obvious way is to look for cities with the best health care in terms of access, quality and affordability. The second is to dive a little deeper into how the city promotes and enables a healthy lifestyle for its residents. For our Top 10 Healthiest Cities, we looked at both sides of the equation.
10 most healthy states in America, (Huffington Post, Dec. 13, 2014).
The CNN 10 healthiest cities, (CNN, Sept. 4, 2014). — Our health is not just a byproduct of how we live. It’s also about where we live. Just ask the residents of these 10 cities.
The 10 Cities With the Highest Quality of Life, (Huffington Post, Aug. 27, 2014). — If you're looking to improve your happiness, you might consider heading to the Midwest. According to new rankings based on a study by Nerdwallet, the top five cities in the U.S. with the best quality of life are all located in the middle of the country.
10 of the Healthiest Places to Live in America, (Huffington Post, Aug. 14, 2014). — Even though we all know the basics of living a healthy life -- eat well, exercise, practice mindfulness -- we don’t all act accordingly. Maybe it’s because of poor time management or lack of access to the necessary resources; or maybe it’s just a matter of where you live.
The Best Places to Live for Millennials
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.
10 Best Cities for Millennials Right Now, (Techco, Dec. 14, 2015).
7 Livable Cities for Millennials, (The Home Story, Oct. 28, 2015). — What do Millennials look for in a hometown? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best cities for the younger generation to play in, work in and — who knows — maybe even lay down roots in.
15 Best Cities for Millennials, (Earn Spend Live, Oct. 1, 2015). — They’ve compiled a list of the 15 best cities for young professionals where you have the best shot at success – so what are you waiting for?
A Millennial’s Guide to the Most Livable Cities in the U.S., (Ploymint, July 17, 2015). — Once the degree is earned and the career path is set, Millennials tend to focus on where they’ll choose to settle next. Sure, for a few years there may be that transitional period when you’re figuring out what you want to do. You may end up moving around as a result, but sooner or later you’ll want to buy. Not rent. The question that arises is, where?
35 Best U.S. Cities for Millennials to Live and Work, (Monster, Dec. 10, 2014). — Relocating and moving closer to work might be the key to shifting your glass to half full.
Best Cities and Neighborhoods for Millennials, (Forbes, Apr. 14, 2014).
Best Places for Business and Careers
2016’s Best and Worst Places for Business and Career, (MSN Money, Dec. 5, 2016).
The 10 Best Cities in the US to Start Your Career, (Business Insider, Apr. 26, 2016).
The Best Places for Business and Careers, (Forbes, July 29, 2015).
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.
Top 3 Cities to Live in for the Best Career Opportunities, (The Street, Jan. 29, 2015). — Looking to move your career forward? Well, the cities you need to consider living in may surprise you.
The Best Places to Work in 2015, (Forbes, Dec. 10, 2014).
The Best Places for Business and Careers, (Forbes, Sept. 23, 2014).
24 Best Places to Live and Work 2014, (Sunset, Feb. 11, 2014).
Best Family-Oriented Places to Live
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.
The Best Cities for Children, (SmartAsset, Nov. 3, 2015). — Families move for a wide variety of reasons. In one U.S. Census Bureau survey of Americans who had recently relocated, roughly half of all respondents cited housing as the primary reason for their move, while 30% said they moved for family reasons and 20% moved for work-related reasons.
2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Families, (WalletHub, June 17, 2015). — Whether you’re a newly married couple or a victim of America’s economic transition – is to choose an area conducive to economic prosperity and the overall pursuit of happiness.
Best Cities to Raise a Family in America, (Niche, May 11, 2015). — Explore the best cities to raise a family. Niche ranks US cities based on school ratings, crime rates, age demographics, and access to affordable housing and childcare.
2015 10 Best Cities for Families, (Livability, May 11, 2015). — Discover why children and parents have more advantages in these cities.
Best Small Cities for Families, (NerdWallet, Jan. 20, 2015).
The Best Places for Families to Live, (Love Money, Oct. 23, 2014).
The 10 Best Cities for Families, (Huffington Post, July 24, 2014).
Best Places to Live Worldwide
The World’s 10 Best Cities to Live in, (The Telegraph, Feb. 24, 2017).
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.
The World's 10 Best Cities to Live in, (Daily Telegraph, Jan. 29, 2015).
And the Best City to Move to Is..., (USA Today, Feb. 23, 2014).
Where Is the Best Place in the World to Live?, (LA Weekly, Feb. 4, 2014).
Best Places for Retirement
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 World’s Best Places to Retire in 2017, (International Living, Jan. 5, 2017). — With spiraling costs compelling more and more North Americans to retire overseas, retiring abroad has never been more attractive. But finding the right location among the myriad options available can be daunting.
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 to Retire Are All Over the Map, (CNBC, Dec. 18, 2015). — You work hard, you want to retire well. That's assuming you ever get to retire. Or want to.
10 Best Cities for Retirement in America, (Bankrate, June 29, 2015). — If you want to find some of the best retirement spots in America, our advice to you is this: Head outdoors.
2015’s 10 Best American Cities for Retirees, (Huffington Post, June 8, 2015). — Forget the surf-and-turf enclaves of Florida. The top city in the U.S. to retire is actually Phoenix, according to Bankrate.com's first ranking of the best cities for retirement.
The Most Livable Places at 50+, (AARP, Apr. 18, 2015). — The top neighborhoods and cities to stay healthy, get around and enjoy life.
The 10 Best Cities for Empty Nesters in 2015, (Huffington Post, Jan. 8, 2015). — When the kids are gone and you no longer care about the quality of neighborhood schools, a new realm of possible places to live opens up. Rent.com compiled a list of the 10 top cities for empty nesters -- their first -- based on low crime, lower-than-average living costs, climate and convenient access to travel.
6 of the Best American Cities for Growing Old and Happy, (Huffington Post, Aug. 18, 2014). — When it comes to naming the best places to grow old in America, there are lots of formal studies out there. One by the Milken Institute found Provo-Orem, Utah to be among the best large metro areas for successful aging. Another focusing on countries found Sweden to be the best place for seniors to live out their retirement.
Best Places in the World to Retire: 2014 Edition, (Forbes, Jan. 6, 2014).
Best Places for a Second Home
Foreign Real Estate: More Than a Second Home, (International Living, Jan. 18, 2017).
10 Best Cities to Buy Your Vacation Home Coast to Coast, (Ask Avenue Blog, June 24, 2016).
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).
Best places to buy a vacation home, (Zillow, Jul. 2, 2014). — If you're an outdoor adventurer, amusement park enthusiast, history buff or golf lover, you may have day dreamed about buying a vacation home near your favorite destination. To help second home shoppers identify seasonal home sweet spots, we've analyzed the cities nearby various popular vacation areas.
10 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home, (Huffington Post, Sept. 17, 2013).
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
Making Home, (Kindle, Adobe PDF eBook)
Where to Retire, (Kindle, Adobe PDF eBook)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. 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 Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.
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).
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