The 15 best places to live in the US, where homes are cheaper and there are lots of jobs to choose from

  • US News & World Report released its 2024 list of the best places to live in America.
  • The list is based on factors such as housing affordability, job opportunities, and quality of life.
  • Naples, Florida, tops this year’s list, followed by Boise, Idaho, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Picking a place to live can be tough.

Some people relocate several times in a decade, searching for adventure and happiness. Others take the plunge but then regret their moves.

Data can help. Each year, US News & World Report ranks 150 major cities on factors including quality of life, education, crime rates, employment opportunities, and housing affordability to determine the best places to live in the United States.

The 2024 list is out — and the best cities to live in are mostly in the South and the Midwest.


This year’s top spots include a few cities consistently ranked among the best places to live, including booming Boise, Idaho; sandstone-hued Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the southern banking hub of Charlotte, North Carolina. Newcomers include Austin, with its growing tech hub, and two pretty South Carolina spots: Greenville and Charleston.

In addition to the availability of jobs and housing, US News & World Report places a strong emphasis on the overall standard of living in each area.

In the beachfront city of Naples, Florida, the unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in March, according to the most recent economic data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. That’s lower than the national average — but residents also delight in a vibrant community teeming with diverse restaurants and outdoor recreational options.

“Naples is an incredible town, with a pleasant mix of kitschy beachside quirk and high-life glamor,” one person said on neighborhood-ranking site Niche. Another said, “Naples is a great place to live if you love the beach and good food.”


Here are the 15 best places to live in the US, according to US News & World Report. In these spots, residents are pretty satisfied with their lives, homes are relatively affordable, and there are plenty of jobs.


15. Lexington, Kentucky

An aerial view of Lexington.
Lexington, Kentucky. Getty Images

Population of the metro area: 320,154

Median home price: $329,000

Median monthly rent: $1,500

Median household income: $62,908

Known for: With more than 450 horse farms, Lexington is known as the horse capital of the world. The Kentucky Derby, however, takes place in Louisville, about 80 miles west of Lexington.


14. Madison, Wisconsin

People walking on a street in Madison.
Madison, Wisconsin. Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Population of the metro area: 280,305

Median home price: $420,000

Median monthly rent: $1,675

Median household income: $73,647

Known for: Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and the second-largest city in the state. It’s a college town but still has many perks of city living.


13. Charleston, South Carolina

A street in Charleston.
Charleston, South Carolina. f11photo/Shutterstock

Population of the metro area: 155,369

Median home price: $577,000

Median monthly rent: $2,970

Median household income: $83,103

Known for: Known as the Holy City for its more than 400 churches, Charleston is a haven for history lovers and architecture buffs. It also offers easy access to miles of beachy coastline.


12. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Buildings on the waterfront in Green Bay.
Green Bay, Wisconsin. DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Population of the metro area: 105,744

Median home price: $276,000

Median monthly rent: $1,145

Median household income: $55,177

Known for: The oldest city in Wisconsin, Green Bay is home to the Green Bay Packers, a storied NFL team.


11. Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida. Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Population of the metro area: 57,602

Median home price: $523,800

Median monthly rent: $2,900

Median household income: $68,870

Known for: Sarasota is nicknamed the Circus City because Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus used the beachy town as its winter quarters. These days, people are attracted to Florida for its weather, slower pace of life, and lack of income tax. A LinkedIn report found that for every 10,000 members of the site in the North Port-Sarasota metropolitan area, more than 100 moved there in 2023.


10. Boulder, Colorado

People sitting on a bench on a street in Boulder, Colorado.
Boulder, Colorado. Page Light Studios/Shutterstock

Population of metro area: 105,898

Median home price: $1 million

Median monthly rent: $2,780

Median household income: $81,608

Known for: Nestled in a valley near the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is known for outdoorsy activities, with rock climbing, hiking trails, ski runs, and cycling paths. The city is home to several large universities, lending it a youthful and free-spirited energy.


9. Austin

An aerial view of Austin at sunset.
Austin. Kruck20/Getty Images

Population of metro area: 979,882

Median home price: $527,400

Median monthly rent: $2,250

Median household income: $89,415

Known for: Austin is an artsy, contemporary city known for its vibrant nightlife, live music scene, diverse cuisine, and local colleges. Since 2020, many tech giants, including Oracle, have opened offices in Austin. Many West Coasters working in the tech industry have moved to Austin, attracted by the booming job market and relatively low cost of living.


8. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Aerial view of the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kyle J Little/Shutterstock

Population of metro area: 453,649

Median home price: $374,000

Median monthly rent: $2,100

Median household income: $83,245

Known for: Virginia Beach is a coastal spot with miles-long stretches of sandy beaches, seafood delicacies, and boardwalk entertainment for people of all ages. Its mild climate makes it a popular seaside destination not just in the summer but year-round, too.


7. Huntsville, Alabama

Buildings on the edge of a lake in Huntsville, Alabama.
Huntsville, Alabama. Denis Tangney/Getty Images

Population of metro area: 225,564

Median home price: $314,800

Median monthly rent: $1,450

Median household income: $68,930

Known for: On the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Huntsville has been a major site for the aerospace and defense industries since the US space program started in the 1950s. More recently, it’s become known as the Silicon Valley of the South, with Amazon, Google, and Apple having opened offices there. Jeff Bezos’ space venture, Blue Origin, also has a presence in Huntsville.


6. Raleigh, North Carolina

Aerial view of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina. Getty Images

Population of metro area: 482,295

Median home price: $453,000

Median monthly rent: $1,895

Median household income: $75,424

Known for: North Carolina’s capital city has a lively downtown, free museums, multiple universities, and more than 200 parks. In recent years, a push toward innovation and entrepreneurship has deepened its reputation as an East Coast tech hub.


5. Charlotte, North Carolina

Aerial view of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images

Population of the metro area: 874,579

Median home price: $432,300

Median monthly rent: $1,999

Median household income: $74,401

Known for: Charlotte is America’s second-largest banking hub after New York. An economic powerhouse of the South, Charlotte is also home to professional basketball, football, and hockey teams, in addition to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


4. Greenville, South Carolina

Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville at dusk.
Greenville, South Carolina. Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Population of the metro area: 70,720

Median home price: $344,000

Median monthly rent: $1,825

Median household income: $67,340

Known for: Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville attracts new residents for its moderate temperatures and mix of urban offerings and natural beauty. Greenville is also home to several major corporations, including Michelin, and GE’s newest gas-turbine plant, the largest in the world.


3. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado, Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jacob Boomsma/Getty Images

Population of the metro area: 478,961

Median home price: $455,000

Median monthly rent: $1,800

Median household income: $78,568

Known for: Home to the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers, Colorado Springs is especially attractive to athletes. Trails for hiking and mountain biking are abundant, and famous natural sights include the sandstone oasis Garden of the Gods and the iconic Pikes Peak.


2. Boise, Idaho

A road with mountains behind it in Boise, Idaho.
Boise, Idaho. vkbhat / Getty Images

Population of the metro area: 235,684

Median home price: $482,100

Median monthly rent: $1,825

Median household income: $81,425

Known for: The secret is out after thousands of new residents fled to Boise over the past decade, making it America’s fastest-growing city in 2018. Idaho’s vibrant capital city combines urban amenities such as microbreweries and cider houses with easy access to rivers, canyons, and mountains in nearby state parks.


1. Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida
Naples, Florida Mint Images/Getty Ima

Population of the metro area: 19,115

Median home price: $650,000

Median monthly rent: $5,800

Median household income: $135,657

Known for: Naples is a picture-perfect city on Florida’s Gulf Coast with white-sand beaches, luxury homes, and more than 1,350 holes of golf — the most in the entire Sunshine State. Naples, which has long attracted wealthy residents, is home to the most expensive home for sale in America: a $295 million compound with a 231-foot private yacht basin and dedicated room for gift-wrapping.

Sources: Population and income data are from the US Census, median home price from, and median rent from Zillow.

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