Unsure If Your City Made The Cut? See Which U.S. Places Boast The Best Quality Of Life In 2024

The U.S. News and World Report, a trusted source for comprehensive rankings, has just released its highly anticipated ranking of the top cities in the U.S. that offer the best quality of life in 2024. Here's what the report revealed. 

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Intended to help people choose a city to live in, the report looks at several factors that contribute to a good quality of life. These factors are broken down and calculated percentage-wise. Included is:

  • Crime rates: This includes a metro area's murder, property and violent crime rates per 100,000 people 
  • Quality of education: This is done by calculating the average college readiness across all schools 
  • Well-being: This meant calculating satisfaction levels for purpose, financial, social, community and physical factors
  • Commuter index: This was done by calculating average commute time via foot, car, bicycle or public transport 
  • Air quality index: Reports were provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
  • Quality and Availability of Health Care: The quality of health care available per area was calculated 
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Risk Index: This was used to determine an area's risk to natural hazards and risks to the community   

In addition to these factors, researchers also considered the area’s value index by studying housing affordability and the average annual income per household. They also considered the area’s job market by examining the unemployment rate and the average salary earned. The final factor in the results was desirability. 

The report included several surveys that asked Americans across the country where they most wanted to live and retire. The U.S. News and World Report revealed, "Without question, individual preferences and family proximity weigh heavily for those choosing where to retire." 

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The results found that Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the number one city that boasts the best quality of life. The city scored a solid 7.9 out of 10 because of its strong job market, strong economic vitality and rich culture. According to the U.S. News and World Report, "Ann Arbor is a city of contrasts. It is at once rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech, counterculture and high society." 

The affordable cost of living and taxes are big reasons why Ann Arbor is at the top of the list. While homeowners pay property taxes, workers in the city do not pay income tax. 

The second-best city on the list is Boulder, Colorado, with a score of 7.7 out of 10. U.S. News and World Report described the city as a place for "people looking to bring balance to their work life." If there's one thing that Boulder is known for, it's a stunning beauty, from snow-capped mountain peaks to forests. Unlike Ann Arbor, Boulder has a higher cost of living, driven by a combination of state, county, and city sales taxes. City leaders are currently addressing the shortage of affordable housing due to the increase in the number of new residents in Boulder. 

Third on the list is Madison, Wisconsin, which scored 7.4 out of 10. U.S. News and World Report describes the city as "a hotbed of the health care, information technology and manufacturing industries." The cost of living in Madison is higher than state and national averages, however, when compared to other larger cities in the Midwest like Chicago, Madison is a desirable alternative.

Other cities on the top 10 list of U.S. places that boast the best quality of life were

4. San Jose, California 

5. Portland, Maine 

6. Boston, Massachusetts

7. Green Bay, Wisconsin 

8. Hartford, Connecticut 

9. Rochester, New York 

10. Trenton, New Jersey  

U.S. News and World Report explained that this result should help readers make the most informed decision when choosing where to settle down.

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