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Alabama’s largest city, Huntsville, has been named the best place to live in American, taking the prize from Boulder, Colorado for the first time in two years.
Huntsville’s high quality of life, affordability and cheap property appealed to Americans looking to put down roots amid the current ski-high housing costs, according to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking system.
Every year U.S. News ranks 150 of the country’s metropolitan area, relying five indexes: job market, housing affordability, quality of life, desirability and net migration, which measures the trend of people moving to or away from a metro area.
1. Huntsville scored high in housing and job market on the U.S. News & World Report list of best cities to live
The Huntsville Botanical Gardens make the southern city one of the most livable metropolitan areas in the U.S.
Best places to live in America
- 1. Huntsville, Alabama
- 2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
- 3. Green Bay, Wisconsin
- 4. Boulder, Colorado
- 5. San Jose, California
- 6. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
- 7. Fayetteville, Arkansas
- 8. Portland, Maine
- 9. Sarasota, Florida
- 10. San Francisco, California
Most dangerous cities in the U.S.
1. Memphis, Tennessee
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
3. Anchorage, Alaska
4. Bakersfield, California
5. Little Rock, Arkansas
6. Chattanooga, Tennesee
7. Corpus Christi, Texas
8. Tulsa, Oklahoma
9. Columbia, South Carolina
10. Kalamazoo, Michigan
2. Colorado Springs. This city ranked second best for its desirability for its outdoor lifestyle and youthful demographics
3. Boulder, Colorado slipped in the ranking due to the high cost of living and housing prices
The former agricultural town blasted off in the 1960s after NASA locating the Marshall Space Flight center, which developed the Saturn V rocket that propelled the Apollo astronauts to the moon, in the Southern city.
Add to that the Redstone Arsenal, the U.S. Army’s chemical weapons plant, the FBI’s operational support headquarters and the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command, which all give the area a steady economic base. There’s also a growing biotech industry. Salaries from these jobs tend to be higher than the national average.
Huntsville scored high in housing and job market, no wonder with all those stable government jobs, but faltered in desirability.
The rising cost of homes and the work-from-home trend that came out of the pandemic made location less a factor on this year’s list.
The expensive urban areas lost out to Southern and Western city because people were looking for a cheaper lifestyle and better quality of life, U.S. News real estate editor Devon Thorsby said.
‘Much of the shakeup we see at the top of this year’s ranking is a result of changing preferences,’ Thorsby said. ‘People moving across the country today are putting more emphasis on affordability and quality of life than on the job market, which in many ways takes a back seat as remote work options have become more standard.’
The average cost of a house in Huntsville is $192,667 compared to the national average of $365,646.
Colorado Springs, Green Bay, Boulder, San Jose, Raleigh and Durham, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Portland, Maine, Sarasota and San Francisco rounded out the U.S. News for top 10 best places to live.
Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy are two major draws for the second best city in America, Colorado Springs.
This Rocky Mountain town scored a perfect 10, compared to Huntsville’s 4.6, in desirability. Credit its outdoor activities for that. Mountain biking, hiking and climb abound in this youthful city, where the median age is 35. Colorado Springs is full of jocks. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers are located there.
The cost of living here is higher than the national average. The price of a home can run about $555,072.
‘We’ve become pretty accustomed to ranking among the best places to live in the nation — now in our fifth year of ranking in the top six of 150 cities ranked and highest in desirability for four straight years,’ Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told The Gazette. ‘These consistently high rankings are testament to the resilience and staying power of our city.’
Huntsville, which ranked third last year, knocked out Boulder in the number one spot. Like Colorado Springs, there’s plenty to do in Boulder, but not just outside. In addition to the hiking, climbing and biking it offers, the mountain town is abundant in yoga studios, wellness and mediation centers and, of course, marijuana dispensaries.
The publication also offers a precautionary list of the most dangerous places to live in the U.S.
Avoid settling down in Memphis, Tennessee if you value your life, according to U.S. News. The ‘Home of the Blues,’ a city of 1.3 million people, is the most dangerous place to live in America because it routinely has one of the top homicide rates in the country.
Anyone who’s seen ‘Breaking Bad’ can tell you that Albuquerque, New Mexico is a place to tread lightly. The publication rank the Southwest City has the second most dangerous place to live.