The U.S. Cities With the Best Quality of Life in 2024, Ranked


This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Quality of life is one of the biggest determining factors when deciding where to lay down roots.

US News & World Report created a list of the country’s most livable cities by weighing factors such as affordability, healthcare quality, and the overall happiness of residents.

Here are the top 15 cities with the best quality of life in 2024, ranked from worst to best, according to its report.

15. Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado. RiverNorthPhotography/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score (out of 10): 7.2

Population of the metro area: 354,670

Average annual salary: $59,120

Median home price: $596,583

Median age: 36.3 years old

Known for: Fort Collins is known not only for its stunning natural beauty and plethora of outdoor recreational activities but also for its bustling downtown that’s said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street, USA.

14. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan. Maria Dryfhout/Shutterstock via BI

Quality of life score: 7.2

Population of the metro area: 1,081,665

Average annual salary: $52,660

Median home price: $338,977

Median age: 36.1 years old

Known for: Only an hour’s drive from the shores of Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is a popular location for people looking to take advantage of the city’s expansive parks, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Ballet, which is the state’s only professional ballet company.

13. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Outdoor dining on the sidewalk in downtown Raleigh

Outdoor dining on the sidewalk in downtown Raleigh. Wileydoc/Shutterstock via BI

Quality of life score: 7.2

Population of the metro area: 2,034,246

Average annual salary: $61,759

Median home price: $434,741

Median age: 37.5 years old

Known for: Raleigh-Durham is quickly becoming a premier destination for great food and entertainment with a second-tier city feel. Home to some of the state’s top universities and colleges, as well as more than 20 craft breweries, shopping centers, and local museums, this region of North Carolina is a great place to lay down roots.

12. Washington, DC

Washington DC

Washington, DC. Getty/Chip Somodevilla via BI

Quality of life score: 7.2

Population of the metro area: 6,332,069

Average annual salary: $80,480

Median home price: $538,037

Median age: 37.5 years old

Known for: The country’s capital, Washington, DC, is home to some of the United States’ most famous cultural landmarks, including the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. There’s also a blossoming food scene in this city and plenty of opportunities for a fun night out.

11. Boise, Idaho

Boise Idaho

Boise, Idaho. Anna Gorin/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.2

Population of the metro area: 750,669

Average annual salary: $49,440

Median home price: $221,475

Median age: 36.9 years old

Known for: Boise’s stunning natural surroundings are just one reason to move to this up-and-coming city. In addition to more than 180 miles of public trails for hiking, biking, and running, artistically inclined folks can take in a show at one of the city’s theaters, while sports fans can root for the Boise State University Broncos.

10. Trenton, New Jersey

A drone shot of downtown Trenton, New Jersey with the capitol in the distance

Trenton, New Jersey. halbergman/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.3

Population of the metro area: 384,951

Average annual salary: $71,600

Median home price: $344,842

Median age: 38.9 years old

Known for: Trenton is renowned as one of the more affordable cities on this list. According to US News & World Report, the average median sale price for a single-family home falls below the national median price. Residents have access to Mercer Meadows, which is a 1,600-acre park, local wineries, vineyards, and breweries.

9. Rochester, New York

rochester new york

Rochester, New York. Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock via BI

Quality of life score: 7.3

Population of the metro area: 1,088,373

Average annual salary: $56,830

Median home price: $195,508

Median age: 40.4 years old

Known for: The historical figures Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass once lived in Rochester, adding to this city’s rich cultural history. Today’s residents can partake in the city’s many recreational activities, such as watersports on Lake Ontario, skiing at nearby Bristol Mountain, and the local Seabreeze amusement park.

8. Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut. Alexander Farnsworth/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.3

Population of the metro area: 1,213,324

Average annual salary: $67,140

Median home price: $347,842

Median age: 40.6 years old

Known for: While the population of Hartford skews older than many cities on this list, there’s no shortage of buzzy restaurants and corporate offices for those looking to grow their careers in the Connecticut capital. The Bushnell Theater brings Broadway shows to town regularly, and The Mark Twain House and Museum is a popular destination for literary buffs.

7. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay Packers fans

Green Bay Packers fans support their team. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.3

Population of the metro area: 326,590

Average annual salary: $51,510

Median home price: $278,558

Median age: 38.9 years old

Known for: Sports is a way of life in this Midwestern city, thanks to the Green Bay Packers. When football season ends, residents can enjoy Green Bay’s thriving arts-and-entertainment scene or hike along one of the city’s nature trails.

6. Boston

Woman drinking coffee in Boston, Massachusetts.

A woman drinking coffee in Boston. 2p2play/Shutterstock via BI

Quality of life score: 7.3

Population of the metro area: 4,912,030

Average annual salary: $76,850

Median home price: $716,746

Median age: 38.8 years old

Known for: One of the most historic cities in the country, Boston offers many exciting cultural activities, including walks along the Freedom Trail and performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Fine dining and buzz-worthy restaurants abound, as do historic taverns and bars, and two Boston chefs were nominated for the James Beard Awards in 2024, Eater reported.

5. Portland, Maine

kayak in portland maine

A kayak instructor in Portland, Maine. Michael D. Wilson/Aurora Photos/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.4

Population of the metro area: 547,792

Average annual salary: $57,060

Median home price: $501,164

Median age: 43.6 years old

Known for: Portland, Maine, has quickly become the New England city to watch, thanks to its thriving food scene, plethora of outdoor recreational activities, and exciting music and nightlife scene. But the cost of living in Portland is rising steadily, leaving the city at a crossroads of how to create more affordable housing while retaining Portland’s small-town feel.

4. San Jose, California

San Jose, California

San Jose, California. Walter Bibikow/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.4

Population of the metro area: 1,995,351

Average annual salary: $99,430

Median home price: $1,524,907

Median age: 37.4 years old

Known for: Known as the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is a destination for many looking to break into the world of tech and innovation. The cost of living is high, but the close proximity to the ocean and the Sierra Nevada mountain range improves the quality of life for San Jose’s outdoorsiest residents.

3. Madison, Wisconsin

Pedestrians in Madison, WI

A view of Madison, Wisconsin. Walter Bibikow/Getty Images via BI

Quality of life score: 7.4

Population of the metro area: 674,506

Average annual salary: $59,510

Median home price: $398,096

Median age: 36.5 years old

Known for: As the capital of Wisconsin’s Dairyland, Madison has a thriving food scene built off local cheese and breweries. The city’s lakes and bike paths also make this city a great place to live in the warmer months.

2. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado. Page Light Studios/Shutterstock via BI

Quality of life score: 7.7

Population of the metro area: 328,713

Average annual salary: $73,360

Median home price: $881,147

Median age: 37.2 years old

Known for: Boulder boasts more than 60 parks and 155 miles of hiking trails for nature lovers. The city’s downtown area also abounds with restaurants, cafés, and bars, while the outdoor Pearl Street Mall is a popular shopping destination.

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan. Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock via BI

Quality of life score: 7.9

Population of the metro area: 372,428

Average annual salary: $61,010

Median home price: $405,142

Median age: 34.1 years old

Known for: Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor combines a small-town feel with the benefits of a bigger city.

According to US News & World Report, more than 90% of Ann Arbor residents live less than a 10-minute walk away from a public park, giving them access to hiking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing. The city’s downtown is also a thriving hub for shops and restaurants, as well as craft breweries and distilleries.



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