Best Places To Live? Big Roundup of Major Top 10 Lists

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Where are the best places to consider relocating to? I knew that almost every major financial media outlet had their own “best places to live” list, and my plan was to see which cities popped up most amongst them. Well, that was a bust as every list seemed to be so different; The top city on one list might not even be on the next list at all. Why? There is no one best place to live, it all depends on what criteria is important to you.

Instead, I’m just going to give you the direct links to all the major Top 10 lists (alphabetical-ish), and let you peruse at your leisure over the weekend. I listed the top city pick for each one – all in different spots across America!

Let me know if I missed one, but be careful since many other smaller lists are actually based on those above. In the end, choosing where to live is just one factor in your life, and you may already be happiest where you are right now. But why not make sure it’s a conscious decision? A good place for additional research is which I believe used to work with CNN Money on their list.

This post is part of my Expense Reduction Guide: Housing.

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  1. The number one city in the world for the quality of life was by most publications in the last few years Vienna, Austria. I lived there for 6 years. It is really beautiful, has wonderful infrastructure and comfort, however, the important things for me were missing. So I fired that city from my life. πŸ™‚ Of course it depends on subjective criteria, however, there are common things we all need: family, friends and money (the importance varies). The city that scores the highest on your most important categories, even if it’s in a desert, will be the best for you.

  2. Thanks for the post.. but hey, there is life outside America as well! “Best places to live” are definitely somewhere else.

  3. I guess the lists just go to show to what degree money and economic survival skew decisions about where and what is desirable.

  4. Do the colors of the States in the map represent anything? I wasn’t sure why some States are linked to other States by the same color.

  5. @InACents: I think they just didn’t want two states next to each other the same color.

  6. Interesting that they vary so much. Its important to look at their criteria for these lists to see what they’re actually measuring.

  7. This kind of discussion is a *bit* academic. I suppose it makes sense if you are coming from another country and had the *entire* US as your set of choices.

    The reality is that you probably already live in the US, have family here, have friends, have a type of job that greatly favors a particular location, etc. What is really needed is a weighted average discussion, that pulls in personal preferences as well as your current situation.

    For example, for me, Alabama might come out on top until I factor in the distance from my current home and friends and family. Or until I factor in some intangibles, like the local Tea Party militants.

    I particularly found one of the previous posts about tax rates and the effects it has on where you live to be kind of silly. Even though some people wrote in to say that an area’s high taxes compelled them to move, I had a hard time believing that someone would move for that reason. I think it’s all the heated talk about “high taxes” these days that makes this a bigger issue than it is. (???)

  8. Jonathon, are *you* personally considering relocating? If so, maybe share with us some of your thinking about why and where…

  9. I wonder how cities would score if diversity was considered.

  10. Nothing significant about the color of states, that I know of. I just picked a generic map and put stars on where the cities were.

    I am not personally considering relocating, primarily due to the wishes of Mrs. MMB to be near her big family. Where I am living now is already a great place to live anyway, so I am not unhappy at all. The major negative is the expense of living here. Honestly, we would own a house mortgage-free by now in many other places.

    However, in my experience people can get used to living anywhere and once you are there for a few years (even if not by choice) you start to appreciate the positives of any city. I didn’t think I’d like living in Minnesota, but it’s nice there. I didn’t think I’d like living in Oregon initially, but I love it there too. I don’t think I would have moved to Texas on my own otherwise, but I spent several years there as a kid and love it there as well.

    Sure, I like some places more than others but I think I could really live almost anywhere, so if I was struggling financially and could make more money and spend less on housing, I would definitely consider moving.

  11. Ooooh, I’ve lived in Omaha (by chance) and Austin (by choice). I’m a little concerned I may now have been city spoiled!

  12. @bluecat:

    “For example, for me, Alabama might come out on top…. Or until I factor in some intangibles, like the local Tea Party militants.”

    Funny, many of us Red Staters feel the same way about the waves of economic refugees from the Blue States, many — not all, but many — of whom want to bring the same policies that failed them originally to their new homes.

    That’s one of the reasons I am a big fan of a small and limited federal government. Let the states duke it out over standards of living, welfare levels, amount of regulations, etc. Vermont and Alabama may be about as opposite as two states in the same country could be, but there are people that love each one!

  13. “I could really live almost anywhere” You may be more adaptable or easily pleased than other people. I know people who have moved to other states for work for a while and moved back because they simply didn’t like living there.

  14. This info seems to vary so much from site to site but it’s great that Colorado is on this one!

  15. @bluecat

    “Funny, many of us Red Staters feel the same way about the waves of economic refugees from the Blue States, many β€” not all, but many β€” of whom want to bring the same policies that failed them originally to their new homes.”

    zwuh? bring their policies that failed them? did the red states not have a housing-bubble bursting economic collapse as well?

  16. As many have pointed out, the best place to live is subjective.

    I also think it has something to do with personality. I have been rather happy everywhere I have lived and my husband has been rather unhappy, so I usually think it wouldn’t matter where we live. But as we get older, the winter weather where we are is less and less desirable. Since our current location has a fairly low cost of living, we are considering renting a furnished apartment for several cold months/year.

    I’d love to see an interactive site where I could answer questions about what is important to me. I’m retired so I don’t care much about commute times, school systems, or night clubs that cater to 20-somethings. I care about cost of living, moderate climate, good libraries, cultural events, walking trails, low crime rates, healthcare facilities, and if I have to pay taxes on my pension and/or SS.

    Does anyone know of such a site?

  17. Harry King says:

    Great Article! This will help me a lot in choosing where to start a new life. Although I really hoped you included the criteria on which these are based on, that way we can make a good conscious decision.


  18. I’m a native to Raleigh NC. It’s just ehh. There’s not a ton to do here compared to other cities, the triangle, to the west some, does offer alot of tech jobs. The Ral/Dur area is a mix of all types of folks. If you stray outside the cities at all, you’re in native small town southerner country, just saying, as a native southerner. Also, we’ve recently gone fully red, after 100 years of being blue, if that matters to anyone.

  19. I was hoping to see a city in Florida listed. I should be migrating there soon, so that particular state really interests me.

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