U.S. News & World Report unveiled the 2018 Best Places to Live in the United States. The new list ranks the country's 125 largest metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Austin, Texas, took the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row, with Colorado Springs, Colorado, taking the No. 2 spot, bumping Denver, Colorado, to No. 3. Des Moines, Iowa, moved up 5 spots to No. 4, with Fayetteville, Arkansas, rounding out the top five for the second year in a row.
"When deciding on a place to settle down, it's important to understand that where a person lives can impact their well-being," said Kim Castro, executive editor at U.S. News. "U.S. News created the Best Places to Live to highlight areas across the country that have the characteristics residents are looking for, including steady job growth and affordability. The top-ranked places are areas where citizens can feel the most fulfilled socially, physically and financially."
Several metro areas saw significant gains year over year. Colorado Springs, Colorado boasted a booming job market and high quality of life scores that contributed to its climb up from No. 11 to No. 2 this year. At No. 7, Huntsville, Alabama, debuted in the top 10 in the rankings, offering residents in the science, technology, engineering and math fields employment opportunities, while also holding the highest value score out of all places on this year's list. Portland, Oregon, propelled from No. 32 to No. 6 thanks in part to a growing job market and increased net migration.
The 2018 Best Places to Live were determined in part by a public survey of thousands of individuals across the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a home town. The methodology also factors in data from the United States Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals.
2018 U.S. News Best Places to Live Rankings – Top 10
1. Austin, TX
2. Colorado Springs, CO
3. Denver, CO
4. Des Moines, IA
5. Fayetteville, AR
6. Portland, OR
7. Huntsville, AL
8. Washington, DC
9. Minneapolis, MN
10. Seattle, WAS