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Figure out the Best Places to Live

February 17th, 2016 - 10:02 AM

What is the best place to live?

All over the Internet, you will find list after list of the “Best Places to Live" giving you a laundry list of cities they consider the best. These lists are compiled using their own parameters and factors. However, when you take a look at those results, how do you really know which is the best city to live in for you? Finding the best places to live is such a personal thing – so the best way to figure out where you should live is to go through our list of criteria and decide which items are most important to you.

Best places to live

Make your own list of the best cities to live in​

If you explore resources online, you’ll find various measures used to determine the top cities including education, the cost of living, unemployment rates, housing costs, health care, transportation, entertainment and recreation. To make your own list of places to consider, read through these items and check out the resources. You’ll be able to better determine which places might be the best for you and your family.

The best city to live in for education

If you have children, living near a place with excellent education standards might be at the top of your list. Finding quality schools, whether public or private, is key. If you’re planning on getting a degree, it’s vital to consider the higher-ed institutions in a town. If you want to check rankings for schools, we suggest using Great Schools or School Digger. These sites will give you a rating along with data about student/teacher ratio, test scores, extracurriculars and performance. Some of the top schools in the US include:

  • Prince William County Public Schools in Manassas, VA
  • Tucson Unified School District in Arizona
  • Lovejoy Independent School District in the Dallas, TX, metro area
  • Saratoga Union School District in Santa Clara, CA

The best cities for cost of living

If you’re wanting to keep more money in your pocket, you may be interested in moving to a place with a lower cost of living than where you currently live. Now, if you’re moving from New York, ranked as the most expensive place to live, then just about anywhere you go will be cheaper! You can use this cost of living comparison to check where you currently live against other places. Some of the cheapest places to live include:

  • Conway, AR – affordable healthcare at 15% less than national average
  • Houston, TX – the metro area with the lowest cost housing
  • Pueblo, CO – least expensive real estate in Colorado and below average groceries and utilities
  • Tulsa, OK – cheap utility costs and affordable entertainment options

The best places to live for the economy

Looking atthe unemployment rate is one of the best ways to determine how healthy the economy of a city is. When people are employed, they are fueling the economy of the town. You can check the unemployment rates here, or consider one of these cities with the lowest unemployment rates:

  • Bismarck, ND
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Odessa, TX

The best place to live for housing costs

For anyone planning on buying a home, housing costs can be a significant decision maker. The national real estate market has been up and down in different areas, so it can be tough to locate places where the price is low. Check Zillow to see current housing prices, or find affordable housing in one of these cities:

  • Lake Wales, FL – Near Orlando, you can get a 4-bedroom house for $82,000+
  • Park Forest, IL – A Chicago suburb with 4-bedroom homes for $75,000+
  • Riverdale, GA – Just outside of Atlanta, you’ll find 4-bedroom homes for $68,000+
  • Cleveland, OH – In the heart of the city, you can find 4-bedroom houses for $64,000+

The best cities to live in for health care

Whether you are dealing with an illness, preparing for the worst, or just want to be sure you have access to affordable healthcare, having  hospitals, doctors, and treatment facilities nearby is essential. It can be difficult to locate resources online that allow you to investigate the health care situation of a town, so we recommend checking to see how many hospitals are in the area. Many of the top places to live for health care include multiple hospital networks and world-renowned medical schools including:

  • Rochester, MN – Home of the Mayo Clinic
  • Burien, WA – high ratio of primary care physicians to residents
  • Grand Rapids, MI – 12 hospitals with three having national rankings
  • Iowa City, IA – named the “Healthiest Town” by Men’s Journal in 2010

The best places to live for transportation

If you want to be able to live without a car, depending on public transportation is a must. You'll want to find a place that's not only walkable but also has a robust public transportation system. While you'll have to check city by city to investigate their local transportation options, another great way to see how you can get around without a car is to check the walkability score. It will show you how accessible restaurants, shops, schools, and parks are without a car. Some of the best cities for public transportation include:

  • Seattle, WA – Covering many modes of transportation including ferries, monorails, buses, and trains
  • Boston, MA – The oldest mass transit in the country with commuter ferries and rail lines
  • New York, NY – Famous for subways, but also having buses and ferries
  • Denver, CO – Public transit includes rapid lines and an airport shuttle

The best cities to live in for entertainment

For a full social calendar, it’s central to be somewhere with plenty of entertainment options. From live music, plays, orchestras, sporting events, and festivals, a quick search will find you cities with lots to do. While there is no “compare entertainment options in each city” tool online, you can check for a few things. Are there professional or semi-pro sports teams located in the city? Is there a big theater with regular events? Are there local festivals on the community calendar? Once you dig into your entertainment options, you might find a lively schedule. Some of the best cities for entertainment include:

  • Chicago, IL – Sports, musicals, concerts, and festivals abound here
  • San Francisco, CA – Professional sports and a local music scene give locals plenty of fun
  • Dallas, TX – The cultural hub of the south is home to every entertainment option you can think of
  • Los Angeles, CA – Of course, Hollywood is known for entertainment! You’ll be entertained all the time, even spotting celebrities

The best places to live for recreation

Outdoor lovers want a different type of scenery, one with plenty of options for fun in the sun. Of course, varied terrain gives you lots of options from hiking through the mountains or paddle boarding at the beach. Again, this is a factor you'll have to weigh each city individually on; there isn’t a comprehensive online resource for rankings. However, if you think of your favorite outdoor activities, you want to look for places where you could do those year-round. We also recommend checking the local parks department to check their offerings. Some of the best cities for recreation include:

  • Fremont, CA – This is one of the highest percentages of parkland in the country
  • Cincinnati, OH – The city spent over 6 billion on parks in 2013
  • Anchorage, AK – Wildlife and wilderness open up a world of recreation possibilities
  • Provo, UT – Runners and cyclists love the terrain and call the area Happy Valley

So which town is the best place for you to live?

While we wish we could gaze into our magic ball and tell you where you should move, you’ll have to decide based on what’s most important to you. When you look at the factors listed above, which one is at the top of your list? What are the top 5 most important factors? Start from there, and you’ll have a narrowed-down list to choose from pretty quickly. When you figure out the best places to live on your list, let us know. We’re happy to provide you with a free moving quote so you can start planning your move!

If you have any questions as you determine the best places to live, please let us know. We’re here to help.