Skip to main content

Even before the pandemic, Americans had been leaving big cities and moving to smaller metros or suburbs.

In May of 2020, about 35% of Americans worked remotely because of Covid-19—that was the peak of remote work, according to the BLS. In August of this year, only 13.4% worked from home.

But housing isn’t cheap, and if you’re one of those 13% that can work from home and you’re looking for an affordable place to live, this list is for you.

To find the best places to live in the U.S., Livability.com analyzed data on more than 2,300 cities with populations between 20,000 and 1 million. The data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Affairs, the EPA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, USDA, NOAA, and the Dept. of Education. They also sourced data from private-sector sources and nonprofits.

Each city was given an overall score based on more than 50 data points grouped into nine categories:

TheStreet Recommends

  • Quality of amenities, such as golf courses, public parks, farmers markets, arts and culture.
  • Remote-readiness (includes accessibility of broadband, high-speed internet, number of businesses that could allow for working from home, and the number of libraries.)
  • Economy
  • Demographics
  • Housing (includes access to affordable housing)
  • Social and civic capital
  • Education
  • Health care quality
  • Transportation and infrastructure

The ranking also considers low crime rates, climate and quality of life needs such as reputable schools. They also used the results of a survey asking 1,000 Americans, "If you can work from anywhere, where would you choose and why?" Their conclusion was that Americans are looking for affordability, job opportunities, diversity and inclusion. Livability used these results to determine how much weight to give to each data point.

Here are the top 30 of Livability's 100 best places to live in the U.S. We listed each city's highest score and lowest score among the nine categories.