The best place to live in the United States has topped US News & World Report’s list for several reasons. Good weather is not one of them.
Green Bay, Wisconsin, jumped two spots to become the best city to live in in 2023, according to the publication’s annual rankings. With a population of roughly 107,000, Green Bay gets particularly high marks for bangers for money and overall quality of life — the two heaviest criteria for determining the rankings.
“It doesn’t perform well in the climate category — it has harsh winters. But it’s considered very affordable… and performs well in its quality of life,” US News real estate editor Devon Thorsby told CBS MoneyWatch.
The average cost of a home in Green Bay is $247,092, which may help offset any qualms residents may have about the city’s harsh winters. Temperatures in Green Bay, Wisconsin’s third-largest city after Madison and Milwaukee, average 24 degrees in January, with more than a foot of snow falling that month alone.
As high inflation continues to strain household budgets, how far a person’s dollar will stretch in a given locale is increasingly important to any American.
“The price element is one of those things that people start to emphasize more when they’re considering moving to a new part of the country,” Thoresby said.
To assess the value of money cities offer, US News examined factors such as housing affordability and “price parity,” which reflects the general cost of goods in an area.
“For the most part, Green Bay has been able to maintain a very low cost of living,” he said. “Maybe the fact that the weather might deter some people keeps it from being a very fast-growing metro area.”
Huntsville, Alabama, is No. 2 on US News’ Best Places list, which ranks the nation’s top 150 most populous metro areas based on their scores in the following categories: quality of life (accounting for 36% of the score), value (23%), desirability (22%). ), job market (19%). The quality of life index is based on data including high school students’ college readiness, quality of education, proximity to quality health care, crime rates and air quality.
To measure a city’s overall desirability score, editors conduct a survey asking people where they would prefer to live based on preferences. Weather and features such as museums, parks, restaurants and bars compared to a metro area’s total population also help determine cities’ scores.
At number 98, New York City isn’t as low as in previous years. Not surprisingly, the Big Apple looms large in the quality department.
“The biggest struggle for New York is its affordability, because it’s one of those metro areas that has some of the wealthiest people in the world but also some of the poorest,” Thoresby said. “This combination makes things like housing and goods and services much more expensive.
“But the aspirational and job market always overperforms,” he added. “It’s been ranked low in the past – 98 is pretty good.”
Here is the list of the 10 best places to live in the United States (see the full list):
1. Green Bay, WI
2. Huntsville, AL
3. Raleigh & Durham, NC
4. Boulder, CO
5. Sarasota, FL
6. Naples, FL
7. Portland, ME
8. Charlotte, NC
9. Colorado Springs, CO
10. Fayetteville, AR