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The Best Cities to Live in the United States, According to US News & World Report

The Best Cities to Live in the United States, According to US News & World Report


A worrying trend in the cost of buying a home

A worrying trend in the cost of buying a home 02:15

Why was Naples, Florida just rated the best place to live in the United States? That has a lot to do with the beach city's job prospects and residents' overall quality of life, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Naples, a resort city, scored particularly highly for the value residents get for their money and for the plentiful job opportunities, both of which were more heavily weighted in the publication's rankings this year compared to previous editions.

“This year's survey found that people are concerned about the economy and want more financial stability. So the value and job market categories were the most important factors for people. That's something that really helped Naples,” Erika Giovanetti of US News and World Report. loan expert, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Naples – with an ultra-low unemployment rate of just 2.9% in April, well below the overall US rate of 3.9% – also offers relatively high wages and has one of the strongest job markets from the country. Top local industries in terms of employment prospects include tourism and healthcare.

“There is a large retiree population, so there is plenty of good-paying work for health care employees willing to care for an aging population in this part of the country,” Giovanetti said.

A marina in Naples, Florida. Getty Images

The U.S. News analysis ranks 150 major U.S. cities based on criteria including the health of the local job market, housing affordability, value, quality of life and overall appeal. The rankings are designed to help Americans make informed decisions about where to reside based on their priorities, according to the outlet.

To gauge these priorities, U.S. News asked thousands of Americans what matters most to them when choosing a place to live. It created four indices based on respondents' responses, weighted as follows: quality of life (32%), value (27%), job market (22%), desirability (19%). The latter category takes into account factors such as the weather, the number of bars and restaurants per capita and net migration.

This year's results reflect growing consumer concerns about career opportunities and the overall affordability of a city. Quality of life remains the top priority for Americans and was therefore the determining priority in the ranking.

“Even though inflation has fallen in recent months, Americans are still feeling the impact on their wallets. So it is increasingly important to find housing that is affordable and where they feel they have job stability ” said Giovanetti. “We have also seen a slowdown in the job market in recent years, and more and more people feel they have less power with employers, and therefore want to live in places where they will not be Unemployed.”

Boise, Idaho, ranked second in this year's rankings, scoring high for its value while scoring lower in the desirability category, while Colorado Springs, Colorado, is ranked third.

Greenville, South Carolina, ranked No. 4, while Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina ranked No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, with all three cities scoring well for their vibrant job markets and their quality of life.

All of the cities in U.S. News' top five “had a good balance of everything” and were particularly strong in terms of value, housing affordability and the job market, Giovanetti said. “We’re really looking for cities that shine in these categories.”

A woman runs on a trail with downtown Boise, Idaho, visible in the background. Lee Cohen/Getty Images

It's no surprise that major cities like New York and Los Angeles, California have struggled in the value category due to the high cost of living. New York ranked 124th on U.S. News' list, while Los Angeles ranked 130th.

“It can be very difficult for large cities to rank well, and a lot of that is due to the value index, particularly the outsized impact of value on this year's rankings,” Giovanetti said at CBS MoneyWatch.

“Especially for people looking to buy, it's not reasonable for them to think about finding a place to buy in New York or Los Angeles, even though higher wages help reduce that. It's not enough to offset the value,” she added.

The 10 best cities to live in the United States are featured below by US News. Click here for the full list.

Naples, Florida Boise, IdahoColorado Springs, ColoradoGreenville, South CarolinaCharlotte, North Carolina Raleigh, North CarolinaHuntsville, AlabamaVirginia Beach, VirginiaAustin, TexasBoulder, Colorado

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