These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In America For 2018

We looked at the places in the United States with low crime, lots of jobs and the best schools to determine the best places to live in America.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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There’s a common denominator that all good cities have.

They are the places that have great economies. They are the places where the school systems are in awesome shape. They’re the places where lots of people have jobs, and where residents earn high salaries.

If home prices are high, it’s a sign that there’s a lot of demand to live there.

And certainly, if crime is really low, everyone wants to be there.

The cities below all share those qualities. There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against. We had more than 10 million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.

So we know what we’re talking about.

After analyzing the biggest 220 cities in the country, here is our list of the best places to live in America:

  1. Naperville (Photos)
  2. Sunnyvale (Photos)
  3. Santa Clara (Photos)
  4. Torrance (Photos)
  5. Irvine (Photos)
  6. Cary (Photos)
  7. Frisco (Photos)
  8. Fremont (Photos)
  9. Huntington Beach (Photos)
  10. Gilbert (Photos)

You might be surprised to see some of these cities on this list. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, ‘friendly people’ and community involvement), there aren’t better options in America for making a place home.

The worst place to live in America? Memphis, TN. More on that later.

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How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?

In order to rank the best places to live in America, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we put together a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the just-released American Community Survey census data, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The higher the better – meaning there’s more to do for indoor entertainment)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Low Housing Vacancy Rate
  • Education (High expenditures per student and low Student-Teacher Ratio)
  • Low Crime

We looked at the 220 biggest cities in America — those with over 100,000 people per the latest numbers.

We then ranked each city from best to worst on each of the criteria.

Finally, we averaged all the ranks to create a best place to live index. The city with the lowest index, Naperville, is crowned the best place to live in America for 2018.

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set.

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1. Naperville

Naperville, Illinois

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 145,789
Median Home Value: $388,400
Median Income: $110,676

This Chicago suburb is plain loaded. There’s only one place in the country where families bring in more money per capita, and that’s in Frisco, Texas (below). If being near wealthy people where crime is something that simply happens in other cities is a place that sounds good to you, then Naperville is a place for you.

Money Magazine always sings the praises of Naperville, and Kiplinger called it the best place in America to retire. That is, if you can stand the brutal winters.

Plus, the public libraries in Naperville rank as the best in the land, and the downtown area of Naperville is just so charming, who wouldn’t want to live here?

2. Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 149,596
Median Home Value: $859,100
Median Income: $109,799

You may have heard it before – Sunnyvale is simply an amazing place to live. According to our unbiased data, it’s the 2nd best place to live in America for 2018. Why? Let’s take a peek.

First off, it would be hard to find a better place to raise kids than in this Silicon Valley city, which has the highest home values in the country. You could make the case that home prices really determine how great a place is — people speak with their cash. So Sunnyvale could really take the top spot.

Other factors: Really low crime, high population density and just about everyone who wants a job has a job.

3. Santa Clara

Santa Clara, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 122,725
Median Home Value: $734,500
Median Income: $102,533

Silcon Valluey suburbs are where it’s at in America these days. In fact, there are six(!) California suburbs in the top 10 here..

What makes Santa Clara particularly desirable? If measuring an area based on the income of its residents is a sign of desirability, then Santa Clara has it made. Folks here are pretty wealthy, earning about $102,000 each per year. That’s pretty darn good.

The schools are great in Santa Clara, and crime is amongst the lowest in the state, too.

4. Torrance

Torrance, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 147,307
Median Home Value: $652,600
Median Income: $80,862

Keeping up the trend of California ‘burbs, Torrance ranks as the fourth best in America for 2018.

Here in Torrance, the number of people employed is really high. Part of that is because it is located right in the Southern California growing tech scene.

5. Irvine

Irvine, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 246,992
Median Home Value: $718,800
Median Income: $93,823

Irvine has been cited as one of the best places to live in the country, and the technology and arts scene here is simply booming. Irvine is one of the most desirable place to live if you want to be in the L.A. area.

Folks here are wealthy, and there’s plenty of jobs and low crime. The population here is exploding – and just a year ago, the city grew at an 8% clip, which is stunning.

A ‘super suburb’ indeed.

6. Cary

Cary, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 155,822
Median Home Value: $309,800
Median Income: $94,617

Chances are if you live in Cary, North Carolina, a car break-in happens once a week, and makes the front page of the local paper. This Raleigh suburb is simply in a class of its own when it comes to a peaceful, quiet standard of living.

Practically everyone in this community who wants a job has one. And, there’s plenty of technology companies in the area, which is one reason people are flocking here from all over, particularly the northeast.

The running joke in Cary is that it’s a place where people settle who don’t want to be in Florida, but want to be close to family in the New England region.

7. Frisco

Frisco, Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 145,646
Median Home Value: $300,900
Median Income: $117,642

Welcome to the wealthiest place in America. Now, we’re not speculating that wealth is the main sign of desirability, but in most studies, the ‘better’ places to live happen to also be the wealthiest places. That’s because often, areas where there are high incomes also are areas with great schools, lots of jobs and low crime.

Here in Frisco, the average household brings in more than $100,000 a year annually. And, this is just about the safest place you can live in the state of Texas. Most of the successful people who commute into Dallas-Fort Worth live here.

There’s a reason Frisco was the fastest-growing city for a number of years in the early 2000’s.

8. Fremont

Fremont, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 227,934
Median Home Value: $702,800
Median Income: $111,613

Back to California with Fremont, the city with the highest median income in America.

This San Francisco & Oakland suburb has some of the lowest crime in the region, and lots of folks are employed gainfully. This isn’t just a place for older people, either; it’s a very family-friendly community with lots to do. And, the city of Fremont has a very large budget, which means lots of funding for parks, activities, and protection.

9. Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 198,724
Median Home Value: $659,700
Median Income: $85,312

Rouding out the California faction is Huntington Beach, the 9th best place to live in America for 2018.

Here in Huntington Beach, the schools are some of the best in the United States, where funding levels are really high, and were overcrowded schools are nonexistent.

Just about every major publication which ranks places to live has called Huntington Beach both a top spot to raise families as well as a great place to retire.

10. Gilbert

Gilbert, Arizona

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 226,832
Median Home Value: $264,700
Median Income: $85,581

And rounding out the top ten for 2018 is Gilbert, AZ — a surpise to us and a strong showing for the city.

Households in Gilbert bring in about $85,000 annually, which is the highest in the state of Arizona for big cities. And crime is just about as low as you can expect.

There You Have It

If you’re looking at cities in the U.S. where crime is low, people are wealthy, and the public schools are amazing, this is an accurate list.

If you’re also curious enough, here are the worst cities in America, according to science.

  1. Memphis, TN
  2. Jackson, MO
  3. Dayton, OH
  4. Detroit, MI
  5. San Bernardino, CA

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In America For 2018

City State Rank Population Median Home Price
Naperville IL 1 145,789 388,400
Sunnyvale CA 2 149,596 859,100
Santa Clara CA 3 122,725 734,500
Torrance CA 4 147,307 652,600
Irvine CA 5 246,992 718,800
Cary NC 6 155,822 309,800
Frisco TX 7 145,646 300,900
Fremont CA 8 227,934 702,800
Huntington Beach CA 9 198,724 659,700
Gilbert AZ 10 226,832 264,700
Bellevue WA 11 136,718 608,500
Simi Valley CA 12 126,126 472,700
Overland Park KS 13 183,775 237,100
Alexandria VA 14 151,473 520,700
Plano TX 15 279,088 248,800
Thousand Oaks CA 16 128,623 637,100
Roseville CA 17 128,276 355,900
Mckinney TX 18 156,821 228,500
Olathe KS 19 132,787 201,200
Scottsdale AZ 20 234,495 405,500
Chandler AZ 21 242,131 248,500
Rancho Cucamonga CA 22 173,309 414,200
Elk Grove CA 23 163,634 317,500
Ann Arbor MI 24 118,087 250,200
Virginia Beach VA 25 449,733 262,200
Santa Clarita CA 26 180,303 417,400
Seattle WA 27 668,849 484,600
San Jose CA 28 1,009,363 658,000
Pembroke Pines FL 29 164,753 225,400
Orange CA 30 139,919 565,800
Stamford CT 31 127,410 504,200
Round Rock TX 32 112,767 192,500
Berkeley CA 33 118,585 795,200
Fort Collins CO 34 157,251 285,400
Santa Rosa CA 35 173,165 414,800
San Francisco CA 36 850,282 858,800
Madison WI 37 246,034 217,000
Madison WI 38 246,034 217,000
Coral Springs FL 39 127,673 294,300
Henderson NV 40 277,872 237,800
Surprise AZ 41 127,492 197,600
Peoria AZ 42 158,677 208,200
San Diego CA 43 1,374,812 488,600
Sterling Heights MI 44 131,674 154,000
Corona CA 45 161,614 378,500
Chesapeake VA 46 233,194 256,500
Thornton CO 47 130,511 236,100
Fullerton CA 48 139,491 551,300
Chula Vista CA 49 260,598 402,000
Yonkers NY 50 199,725 379,500
Concord CA 51 126,938 423,100
Charleston SC 52 129,888 269,400
Oceanside CA 53 173,829 384,100
Boston MA 54 658,279 423,200
Carrollton TX 55 129,266 183,100
Downey CA 56 113,223 449,900
Cedar Rapids IA 57 129,537 136,700
Miramar FL 58 133,741 228,400
Costa Mesa CA 59 112,439 637,200
Lincoln NE 60 273,018 150,200
Fargo ND 61 115,950 178,300
Garden Grove CA 62 174,676 445,700
New York NY 63 8,461,961 508,900
Jersey City NJ 64 261,666 331,300
Lakewood CO 65 149,793 273,200
Sioux Falls SD 66 167,884 161,500
Portland OR 67 620,589 319,400
Hayward CA 68 154,507 404,500
Colorado Springs CO 69 448,759 222,100
Joliet IL 70 147,515 163,900
Anaheim CA 71 346,776 457,600
Vancouver WA 72 169,982 217,200
Kent WA 73 125,492 262,800
Denver CO 74 663,303 292,700
Midland TX 75 128,051 182,300
Austin TX 76 907,779 257,800
Norman OK 77 118,974 163,900
Murfreesboro TN 78 122,007 186,200
Provo UT 79 115,718 214,800
Anchorage AK 80 299,321 298,000
Mesa AZ 81 470,456 168,500
Escondido CA 82 149,912 368,500
Cape Coral FL 83 170,063 173,400
Fontana CA 84 205,228 289,400
Hampton VA 85 136,789 187,700
Tempe AZ 86 174,708 219,900
Eugene OR 87 161,649 246,400
Santa Ana CA 88 333,605 383,900
Omaha NE 89 443,072 139,800
Minneapolis MN 90 404,670 212,800
Oxnard CA 91 204,752 362,900
Newport News VA 92 181,606 189,000
St. Paul MN 93 297,160 178,400
Irving TX 94 232,013 147,500
Lexington KY 95 311,529 170,800
Long Beach CA 96 469,793 448,800
Aurora CO 97 351,131 206,300
Port St. Lucie FL 98 175,652 149,400
Salem OR 99 161,975 188,900
Visalia CA 100 128,738 190,500

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5 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In America For 2018

  1. This article was written about a year ago and I can promise you a lot of things have changed in a year. I have lived in Northern Virginia since I was 8 years old and I can tell you, as of July 1, 2017, it’s not what it used to be. Alexandria, Va is the same place where the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot the day before the Charity Baseball Game between the Dems and the Repubs – sounds real safe??? There are places in Alexandria I would never go after a certain time at night, even with an officer. One on the things I just can not stand is when someone writes an article with a lot of fluff in it instead of telling the truth. It is not one of the worst places to live, but, it is far from being the #1 best places to live in America!!!! SMH!!

  2. Where are the best places to retire?

    Where are the best cities to be employed as a Peer Recovery Coach with the best benefits?

  3. OK, this list is a joke. Total entertainment. I’ve known many of these places and they are all crap. What a waste of time.

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