BAM Key Details: 

  • U.S. News has published this year’s list of the best places to live in 2024-2025. And Naples, FL, takes the number one spot. 
  • For this year’s rankings, U.S. News shifted from metro area-based data to city-based data. It also adjusted its scoring weights in favor of city value and job market.

Naples, Florida takes the number one spot on this year’s list of the best places to live in 2024-2025, according to U.S. News

Are we surprised? Not really. But this Minnesota writer couldn’t help noticing that two Wisconsin metros rank in the top 20 (Green Bay at 12 and Madison at 14), while Minneapolis, MN, sits at 94—and St. Paul is nowhere among the top 150. Can’t argue with the data, though. It is what it is.

Naples earned its place at the top with its strong job market and its high quality of life score. 

For this year’s list, U.S. News shifted from metro area-based data (used in previous year’s rankings) to city-based data, resulting in the rise of many new cities in the Midwest and South to the top 25.

The incorporation of city-based data further localizes the Best Places to Live rankings, empowering those looking for a place to call home to consider factors directly impacting the livability and overall experiences associated with a given place.

Erika Giovanetti

Loans expert and reporter, U.S. News & World Report

The top 10 best places to live in 2024-2025

After Naples comes Boise, ID, which claimed the number two spot based on the strength of its value, quality of life, and job market scores. 

Colorado Springs comes next with its high scores for desirability and value. 

With their strong job market and quality of life scores, the Carolinas took three of the top 10 spots with Greenville, SC, at number four, followed by Charlotte, NC, at number five and Raleigh, NC, at number six. 

For this year’s rankings, U.S. News also adjusted its scoring weights in favor of city value and job market. 

  1. Naples, FL (Overall score: 7.1 out of 10; Quality of life: 6.8; Value: 6.0)
  2. Boise, ID (7.0; 7.4; 7.6)
  3. Colorado Springs, CO (7.0; 6.5; 7.0)
  4. Greenville, SC (6.9; 7.0; 7.0)
  5. Charlotte, NC (6.8; 6.7; 7.3)
  6. Raleigh, NC (6.8; 7.2; 6.9)
  7. Huntsville, AL (6.8; 6.6; 8.1)
  8. Virginia Beach, VA (6.8; 7.1; 6.9)
  9. Austin, TX (6.8; 6.8; 6.3)
  10. Boulder, CO (6.7; 7.4; 5.5)

Rising concerns about career prospects, housing affordability and increased cost of goods and services are reflected in this year’s rankings. While quality of life remains the top priority for many Americans, a city’s value and job market are becoming increasingly important for those looking for a place to live.

Erika Giovanetti

Loans expert and reporter, U.S. News & World Report

Methodology behind the “best places to live”

Scoring for the city’s ranked by U.S. News is based on four separately weighted indices: 

  • Quality of Life (32%)
  • Value (27%)
  • Job Market (22%)
  • Desirability (19%)

The weighting for these measures is based in part on a public survey of thousands of Americans to identify qualities they consider important in a place to call home. 

And as priorities may change over the years, weighting for each criterion may change to reflect that. 

To accurately score each measure, U.S. News includes data from a variety of authoritative sources, including—  

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • FBI
  • Sharecare (Nasdaq: SHCR)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals

Quality of Life

The quality of life score is based on the following criteria: 

  • Crime Rates (25%)
  • Quality of Education (19%)
  • Well-Being (19%)
  • Commuter Index (16%)
  • Quality and Availability of Health Care (9%)
  • Air Quality Index (AQI) (7%) (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Risk Index (5%)

Value

The value score is based on two equally-weighted indices: 

  • The Housing Affordability Index (50%) — dividing the blended annual housing cost by the blended median annual household income. 
  • The Price Parity Index (50%)

Job Market

The job market index is based on two equally-weighted criteria:

  • Unemployment Rate (50%)
  • Average Salary (50%)

Desirability

The desirability score is based on— 

  • Desirability Survey (65%)
  • Net Migration (15%)
  • Weather Temperateness (10%)
  • Establishments-to-Population Ratio (10%)

Check out their methodology page for more details. And for more information on all 150 top ranking cities, read the full article on U.S. News.