In the years following the pandemic, more and more Americans are seeking their ideal life. And whether that means a career change, a new haircut, or a new city, the time to go after it might just be now for many folks. If you’ve been considering a move, you’re far from alone. A 2022 study found that 40% of Americans are also contemplating a new location. If you’re among those making a move this year, you may want to consider some of the best places to live in America.
Moving is far from a beloved task for most adults. In fact, a survey found that one in eight Americans would actually consider it to be more stressful than jail. Though research suggests that the average American has moved five times in their life, most of us would prefer to minimize our hops from city to city or state to state.
That’s why choosing a place to live is such an important decision. It’s no small feat to pack up a life and move it elsewhere, but when there’s something greater out there, it can be a major step toward a better future. A 2019 survey found that 52 percent of people would consider moving to a new city to land their dream job. In 2020, another survey found that 13 percent of movers were relocating to be closer to family.
Whether you are determined to make a change or just pondering, America has thousands of great options to choose from. With 50 states filled with happening cities and towns, the choice can be based on a lot of factors. From climate, to education, to economy, weighing the decision can feel overwhelming to say the least. To help navigate the process, StudyFinds searched 10 expert lists to round up the top five best places to live in America. Our list is comprised of the five cities most frequently listed atop others’ reviews. But if you have a suggestion that we missed, be sure to share it in the comments below!
The List: Best Places To Live In America, According To Experts
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home to a vibrant culinary scene, growing technology industry, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is a city with a lot to offer. “Dismissing Ann Arbor as just another college town would do this southeast Michigan city — often called ‘Tree Town’ — a huge disservice,” says Money.
“Well-designed trail systems, a passion for the arts, worldly restaurants, plus friendly, smart residents who are civically engaged are also among the reasons Ann Arbor is one of the best cities to live in the U.S,” adds Livability.
Among the many benefits of life in Ann Arbor is the sheer variety that the city offers. “Ann Arbor is a mix of the rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech city,” says MovingWaldo. “Ann Arbor boasts excellent public schools, an increasingly diverse job market, a culturally diverse community, a robust public park system, and low crime rates.”
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
If you’re looking to build a career in tech while enjoying the comforts of the American South, Raleigh is the city for you. “As one of the three corners of the state’s famed Research Triangle, Raleigh has made a name for itself as an East Coast center of innovation, and there are plans for a billion-dollar Apple campus coming soon,” says Bankrate. “Even if you aren’t chasing career ambitions in the tech or research sector, this state capital is equally appealing due to a mild year-round climate, a blossoming foodie scene and plenty of opportunities to cheer for the hometown NC State Wolfpack.”
Though Raleigh is a growing city, residents and visitors say it still holds on to classic Southern hospitality and a small-town feel. “In Raleigh, you will encounter some of the friendliest, warmest, and most welcoming people who are quick to provide a pleasant conversation,” claims MovingWaldo. “Residents are mostly young, friendly, diverse, and educated individuals who enjoy dining out in local restaurants and gathering over craft beers in one of the city’s microbreweries.”
Money writes, “Known as the City of Oaks, Raleigh boasts lush green space, with more than 9,000 acres of parkland, paired with more amenities than you’d expect from a city of less than 500,000.”
3. Huntsville, Alabama
If you haven’t heard of Huntsville, odds are that you will soon. The city is the fastest growing in the state of Alabama, and for good reason. “The once-sleepy town of Huntsville, Alabama, gained fame in the 1960s when it became a hub for NASA,” says Business Insider, placing the city in its top spot. “Now Huntsville is undergoing another renaissance, with tech companies, craft breweries, and artists all flocking to the town in recent years.”
The city is a great place for people of all ages, offering exciting restaurants and bars for young people, great schools for families, and favorable weather year-round for all its residents. “Huntsville’s city has many new shopping, dining, and entertainment options alongside the largest privately owned arts facility in the south,” MovingWaldo says. “The downtown is gentrifying, with an old cotton mill turned to a performing arts center, and a renovated school now home to craft breweries and bars,” adds Inc.
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
As the home of The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville combines youthful energy with a classic, small-town feel. “Fayetteville is a vibrant, progressive city with vast entertainment options,” says MovingWaldo.
“The city has experienced immense growth, according to a local expert, who said the region has evolved ‘from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism,’” Business Insider adds.
Thanks to its location in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville also draws a crowd of nature lovers. “The surrounding Ozark Mountains appeal to outdoorsy types and the city has been growing rapidly,” Inc. notes. “This is because of its abundance of state parks, acres of community green space, playgrounds, parks, and walking trails,” MovingWaldo says.
5. Colorado Springs, Colorado
A paradise for hikers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers, Colorado Springs perfectly rounds out our list of best places to live in the US. “Colorado Springs is ‘booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks, and cultural attractions,’ touts a local expert,” says Business Insider.
“This quiet, wholesome town puts you near both Denver and the upscale ski resorts of Vail and Aspen, but with more affordable housing and less horrible traffic,” Inc. adds.
Beyond the beautiful landscape, Colorado Springs also holds a wealth of opportunity. “However, it isn’t all fun and games here,” says Livability. “The city’s more than 495,000 residents also enjoy excellent job prospects, tons of higher education opportunities, lots of sunshine and an authentic community feel.”
You might also be interested in:
- Friendliest Cities in the USA
- Best Places to Live in California
- Best Places to Live in Florida
- Best Places to Live Off-Grid
- Best Diners In The US
- Business Insider
- Travel + Leisure
- Home Bay
- 24/7 Wall St.
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.
I wouldn’t live in Michigan if you paid me
As an Ohio State alumni all I can say is someone must be holding the list upside down.
As a U of Michigan alumnus, I’m going to tell you that alumnus is the singular of alumni.
A latin scholar!
I’ve lived in Michigan all my life. I wouldn’t live anywhere else if you paid me.
No Michigan!!! Snow, ice, rust your cars, Dems, oh did I mention snow, ice, rust your cars and Dems. Very high heating costs and will only get higher along with property taxes. Not sustainable for most people. If you’re Trans or from Detroit please move there you will love it. They need more diversity in Ann Arbor.
Thats 1/2 of the east. Cold, rust, taxes. I think they are referring to AA being the culteral center of Mi at this point. I’ve had a great time there. Detroit will come back in another 20-30- years. Right now AA is the best there is in that area. i think most of the appeal is that, Mi has great fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, backcountry, .. As far as culture. Yeah, I must a missed it.
I could see living in northern Michigan and spending Jan thru April in Alabama.Best of both worlds.I have travelled northern Alabama a good bit,it’s lovely.
Ann Arbor? Sure, if you like a hardcore leftist attitude and intolerance of anything other than the leftist viewpoints. Plus the weather sucks and it’s not far from Detroit. The UM is a progressive joke.
Gary IN, East St. Louis MO, Oakland CA, The Bronx, and the 6th ward of New Orleans are the top 5 places to live provided you tweak the criteria properly.
Colorado Springs is awful. I don’t know why anyone would live there. The fishing sucks. There is too much crime and the people are not nice. At least that is the vibe I get.
Spread this message.
Nailed it. Homeless people everywhere and drug paraphernalia and trash at a lot of the trailheads these days.
Roughly 7% of Washtenaw county middle schoolers are addicted to heroin. This is just clickbait.
Lmao. That’s a really specific claim that almost certainly has no basis in face. Nearly 1 in 10 *middle schoolers* there are heroin addicts? Do you have a link or other evidence to back that up?
Good choices compared to most of these types of lists.
Ann Arbor is fine IF you like extreme left politics and can tolerate the Arrogant Asses at UM!!
Your governor sucks, education lacking, seasons cold, fishing terrible, politics way left. No Brandon way!!
How’s it feel to be disliked by your own family?
Bonnor springs, Kansas or Olathe, KS for the win…go chiefs
Oof… If you like no natural beauty, no culture, and no interesting food
Agreed. Kansas and Nebraska are so flat and boring.
This article is propaganda, Ann Arbor has a low crime rate because the police refuse to write reports when they don’t catch a suspect in the act. It is not even close to being the #1 place to live in the usa. And the culinary scene here is moderate at best compared to other surrounding cities. Its a town full of elitists who don’t want poor people living within 12 blocks of them, although its next door neighbor Ypsilanti has transient criminals that are happy to kick in your door while you’re at work. If you go downtown be prepared to walk a couple of miles because you cant drive anywhere, and everything here costs about 20% more, with some of the worst service you’ll ever get in a tourism town. Also the river is disgusting, you couldn’t pay me to swim or fish in it. No doubt the rest of this article missed the mark just as badly. Gonna guess the author did very little actual research on this blog entry.
You think Ann Arbor is bad……….you should see Columbus.
I grew up near columbus and frequent the city, trust me, I’d live in Columbus over The Ace Deuce any day. Ann Arbor is mostly full of blight with the exception of a few gated communities and the campus. Its a party town and thats all it has going for it, once you sober up you realize what a crap town it really is.
AA Michigan smells like dirty hotdog water.
Only valid if you don’t care how lgbt folks or women desperate for abortion are treated. Or see don’t see drag queens as only good silly fun.
Please move there MS/Mr propaganda
I don’t on the first two and drag is for groomers
Everyone please move there Now!!
Ann Arbor? YGBSM! Expensive housing, oppressive taxes, far left politics, and an arrogant government.
There is no perfect place to live in America and it keeps getting worse everyday. RIP America.
I had me some green apes once.
You want lefties, come to the “Peoples Republic of Madison Wi”. We got lefties up the arrogant a-hole. Papa Joe’s coming on Wednesday, we’re so left.
Did you hurt yourself typing this drivel, sweetie?
Funny I have seen the other cities listed in a lot of other top 20 list but never AA….. they must have paid some hefty marketing dollars to whoever made this list. Liberal swamp
Arkansas, North Carolina and Alabama and you’re calling it liberal swamp? Seriously?
I live there, its a liberal swamp. Orobably one of the worst in the nation actually
“swamp” aka anyone trump whines about. You are realllly triggered by infrastructure, safety regulations and public education spending huh?
All five are college towns. Was that a sine qua non criterion?
I got a degree from U of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Spent four years there. I have to ask: Have any of the study authors spent time in Ann Arbor in February? During my last winter in Ann Arbor, most of the people that I knew had some kind of injury from falling on ice. We got snow in early December and then a brief and partial thaw. Then the temp went below freezing for the next three months. There was ice EVERYWHERE! On sidewalks, yards, porches, steps, tree trunks … So many people had bruises or sprains or even broken bones from falling.
And did I mention that we didn’t see the sun for those three months? Low overcast the entire time.
Your comment is spot on. My mother’s family is from Michigan, and I have spent some winters there. If you were in Ann Arbor right now, you would be discovering the truth of the wit’s statement that February is the month God invented to show non-drinkers what a hangover is like. I HAVE spent significant time in all the other cities, and this list is an example of taking random statistics and applying them to unrelated aspects of life. (I’m a native of Denver, I graduated from high school about 20 miles from Fayetteville, AR, I once worked for an Alabama company, I had extensive dealings with Volvo Trucks in NC. I could probably live in most of these places (except Ann Arbor) and be happy enough, but it would cost me more and not make me happier than where I live now, by choice, in central Texas.
What brain dead person created this stupid list? Arkansas or Alabama? Redneck toothless hillbillies. No thanks
And Michigan?????? Unless they were going for guns per capita, the judges had to be on crack!
Are you really that cluess. Huntsville is the head of the US space agency. Arkansas is absolutely beautiful in the mountains. And at least neither of them are led by Woke clueless imbeciles like California or New York.
Arkansas is beautiful in the mountains? Anywhere beautiful in the mountains. But the extremely high illiteracy rate and the fact it is overrun by Christian nationalists should scare most intelligent people away from Arkansas.
Apparently you’ve not been in southern states much. Ppl are friendlier, more responsible and smarter than NYC’s, Chicago’s, etc AVERAGE people.
You mean Awake people. You mean those that express tolerance and treating people with dignity. Well sone of us feel it’s imperative to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not just preach it. You know there is that little faith without works is dead James talked about? Oh well not important to you. I am proud to be woke.
What do you mean by “woke”? By the way, the smartest people live in NY and LA, so save your triggered fantasies.
Yankee idiot- saying those ignorant comments about Alabama and Arkansas. I am an ex New Yorker and love the South. Seems like since the North has so many problems with crime and taxation- many are moving to the South. I live in the FreeState of Florida and I have all my teeth – idiot- thinking people in the South don’t have teeth!
“free state” what does that even mean? I spent most of my life in Florida–it is a humid dump filled with uneducated trash and shopping malls.
If that’s true then why is everybody moving to FL from California and new york.
We unfortunately have thousands moving here daily. You may be the uneducated one
You’re right, Bob. Please don’t move here. We’ll take our $90k median household income, low crime, low cost of living, excellent food scene, over 300 miles of mountain bike trails, world class museum, etc…and keep it to ourselves. You stay right where you are.
Probably someone wise enough to look beyond stereotypes (or to read the byline to see who wrote the article).
Those are the places that will keep all the people like you away, so the conservative people, can live happily Oh and what is wrong with people from the south, they seem to be happier than Blue areas. so do us all a favor and live as far North as you can get.
Apparently you’ve not been in southern states much. Ppl are friendlier, more responsible and smarter than NYC’s, Chicago’s, etc AVERAGE people.
Gee, Bob what an open minded person you are. Your attitude is not so very pleasant, but make it a good day.
You need to also include what the Healthcare is like in these lists of best places to live.
Grow where you’re planted! Now stfu!
Wow. Dumb comment, THEN crude.
Happy to see no place close to my little piece of heaven is listed.
I’ve been/Lived in all the places on the lists. AA is a fun party town. You’re not going to retire there, it’s the most moneyed town in the cityplex. Rich liberals send their nkids to school there. The locals give them a bit of reality. Maybe deer hunting on Belle Isle with baseball bats. Raliegh WAS a nice place. Grew like a weed 25 years ago. There are still jobs. You can buy a brand new 4 bedroom/2 bath /2 car garage house for $300k. Mountains are close. It’s cheap to live, low taxes. What do you want?? For what people are paying bums to live under overpasses in San Fran they could live in a house in NC.. A lot of transplanted NY’rs moved there. You can stay out of the Florida and Texas crowds. Low crime. I could live there. It is what you make it. Lived in FT Collins Co for 20 years, We went to Colo Springs a lot. Good hiking, mountain areas. The city is a dump. Lots of industry closed/ left. It’s tough to make enough to live decent there. The nice areas are really expensive thanks to CA money pouring in. The City Government is all super liberals. Shouldn’t be on the list. Denver is also a hell hole. The whole Front range is overcrowded. It is the new California. Alabama and Ark, haven’t spent enough time in either to be certain. As a rule you’ll experiance Bad healthcare in the south, A lot of poverty which means crimes, Beautiful lakes , cheap homesites, Hot and sticky most of the year,. You can retire their cheap and nice. If you sell your house and between everything you have $750k plus your SS, you can live on a nice lake, , nice home boat, 10 acres, a country gentlmans life. I’m thinking about it. One thing… Ticks, ticks, Ticks, I hate those things.. if you are an outdoors person. Did I mention ticks?.. Not all places are cliche, but the south has ticks. . I’m in Upstate NY wine country/Finger Lakes area now. No place prettier in the summer/ Fall. But the folks passed on so it’s Time to go. West slope of the rockies, chase the sun, before the buzzer sounds. In my 60 years I always look for a town with a college, doesn’t have to be anything special but it helps culture, not too much poverty, within decent medical (A couple hours drive) , That is more importent as you get older.
Work if you need it. I’ve always had skills, electrical, plumbing, cars, on top of a profession. People are pretty lazy today. Anyone willing to work won’t starve. Experiance the US .You’ll never know the place just passing through or in a weeks vacation.. You only get one ticket. As Warren Zevon said, “Enjoy every sandwich”..
I grew up in Dearborn…not very far from Ann Arbor. I’d agree with it being #1. However, Raleigh being anywhere on that list is an absolute JOKE! You cannot get a 3 to 4 bedroom home for the prices you list. I have no clue where you’re getting that information from? I got the hell out of Raleigh and moved to Timberlake, NC. Raleigh has turned into an absolute Shithole!!
Yikes you sound like a real whiny snowlfake. What is it you don’t complain about?
Good comments! But most ppl want NOTHING to do with the terrible winters of Ann Arbor, or upstate NY where you are now.
The south is fine but the churches make it difficult to express yourself. Eastern time is lame for sports and national TV events. It just feels out of step with the country. There are other places west with more sunshine and less congested. Its a matter of your ability to build friendships.
Churchgoing folks don’t let u express yourself? You hafta stay up too late to watch sports?
Get a life dude.
I picked up a little on the way to a HS diploma and a BS in engineering. I don’t think that I could carry on a conversation in Latin, though.
Please. Stop moving to Colorado Springs. It’s not what you think and you’re ruining it for us.
Many of assumptions here.
Why is a “diverse” “progressive” city with “many breweries” necessarily an advantage?
Such cities might be on the slippery slope to becoming liberal dumps.
Diversity is an important factor for some because people who aren’t y t would like to know if they are moving to a city where they will be the only poc in the restaurant, school, job etc. Most of y t America doesn’t think about that because they are majority most places. Colorado Springs RIGHT NOW is having issues with a POC farmer being harassed because he had the nerve to buy land and raise animals in an area where apparently he “isn’t welcome”. Luckily he is getting support from others who live in the nearby city part of the Springs and Denver. Imagine if he were in a place that didn’t have a “diverse” city nearby? His family and livestock may not even be alive by now. His animals are being poisoned and he’s been stalked and threatened but thanks to the internet, he now has support. THIS is just ONE reason why diversity may be an important factor for some looking to move.
Actually, there are a lot of nice places to live in the USA if you just ignore lists like this one. I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan and it was wonderful except for the weather. However, weather and people’s attitudes have something in common. Lousy cold and cloudy days produce a lot of morose people. People are friendlier in the south for sure.
Who are the “experts” cited in the article who came up with this list? It’s ridiculous! These cities are nice, I’ve spent time in all of them, but certainly NOT the “best” places to live. Just more proof that all these lists are total BS.
All you have to do to find out that the “low crime rate” claim on Ann Arbor is BS is listen to the police scanner. So many property and drug crimes every day, but Ypsilanti, which is directly adjacent to AA, is even worse. The people in Ann Arbor are some of the most miserable I’ve ever encountered – Ann Arbor is the only city I’ve ever been road raged on in the middle of the city, and it has happened more than once, and I don’t even know what I did to make the person angry! People in Ann Arbor are stuck up, disconnected from reality in general, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that AA is one of the least friendliest cities in Michigan. These “experts” must be using the same drugs that the people in Ann Arbor are. Lmao
These comments don’t really seem to be about best places to live. Your comments are more about political feelings. You should be happy wherever you live. Otherwise, move.
My sentiments exactly!!
Having some input regarding crime would also be relevant. Case in point, Colorado Springs has one of the highest crime and homicide statistics in the US. Just Saying!
I live in Michigan and wouldn’t put Ann Arbor on the list unless the criteria included a love of face masking, CRT in the schools, and elitist attitudes.
I live in Ann Arbor and it is an absolutely lovely place to live. I haven’t seen many face masks lately. CRT is a college-level concept, not taught in our schools. And calling someone “elitist” is just another way of saying “I don’t agree with you”. I’m curious; have you ever lived here? Or are you making this statement purely out of political malice or based on college sports rivalries?
Ann Arbor has low crime, low traffic, lots of greenery, parks, and trails. It has some pretty good restaurants and night life. It has a top-notch health care system and a bustling economy. It is both drivable, bike-friendly, and walkable. Winters are relatively mild. Summers are spectacular. The Huron River is an amazing resource. The University of Michigan also provides a good “college town” feel, which brings a lot of youthful energy, theaters, and weed shops.
Jesus what a negativity thread! Ireland. That’s where you all need to go. Friendly, beautiful and big corporations are moving there.
OMG, obvious you have never been to Colorado springs in the last 5 years. I grew up here and now live outside of the city. Yes CITY? Overgrown with poor infrastructure to handle the out of control growth. Rude nasty road raging drivers from Texas, California and Florida , crime is out of control. We do not need more people here the growth has made it as poor place to live. Please get your facts straight before writing about things you have not a clue about.
Amen Perry! I have been here since 1969 and 4 years old and it is ruined from all of the people that have moved here. Try to go hiking and find dirty underwear on the trail never mind trash and no respect! Our politics have also been ruined! Totally, get your facts straight and please stop publishing things about colorado!
I agree completely. I’ve lived here my entire life. Colorado Springs is a terrible place to live. It’s sad because it used to be so nice, but all of the poor quality people who moved here have really messed things up. First off, the traffic is BAD. The drivers are extremely aggressive and in a rush all of the time. Expect to be tailgated and cutoff despite how fast you’re going.They moved here trying to get away from whatever hell hole they crawled out of, just to make this place suck too. Well, mission accomplished. The housing is a nightmare and Cost of living is very high, but really the worst part about it is how rude the people who are moving here are. If they were decent people who were respectful, didn’t litter, and treated others the way they want to be treated, I wouldn’t have a problem.
It’s not all that bad…well, bad enough for me to leave, but not THAT bad. Yeah, the growth is absolutely bonkers, housing prices are out of control, the “quality” schools are all on the wealthy side of town while all the other public schools are poor at best. Crime, gangs, homeless people panhandling, it goes on & on. In the 8 years I lived there it lost most of the charm that drew us in.
I’ve lived in Colorado Springs since 1971 and it was a great place to grow up. It’s exploded in the last few years and it’s infrastructure is not built for this many people. Unfortunately not only good people moved here but also scum of the earth people invaded our city. It’s out of control with high crime, unaffordable housing and inflated prices on food and everything else. Any appointments are months out, the trails, parks and fun activities have unbelievable lines of people. Restaurant wait times are ridiculous and the trash and filth is everywhere. Very sad situation for the people who have lived here all their life. It’s not an easy thing to move elsewhere when your home, jobs, and family have been living here all your life. Articles like this is what has ruined out beautiful city. I sympathize with the people that are from here and the people that don’t agree can go back to where they came from. They’re the ones who comment for us to move if we don’t like it.
These “expert lists” are obviously meaningless, however it’s always funny to see the boomers complain about “those people that moved here”, and acting surprised how “things weren’t like this in 1970”. Never fails.