Today, US News & World Report announced their highly coveted Best Places to Live in the United States list for 2022-2023 and a Southern city has earned top billing. Huntsville, Alabama, went from third place last year all the way to first place in this comprehensive assessment. The list is compiled by ranking 150 of the country's most populated metropolitan areas based on three main categories: affordability, desirability, and quality of life.
U.S. News asked thousands of people to share what factors are important when choosing where to live. In a press release they further explained the specifics of how they compiled their data.
"Based on this survey, we categorized the data into five indexes: Quality of Life Index (32.5%); Value Index (25.0%); Job Market Index (20.0%); Desirability Index (17.5%), which asked people if they want to move to a place; and Net Migration (5.0%), which factors whether people have been moving to a city. The data is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sharecare and U.S. News' internal resources."
The Rocket City knocked Boulder, Colorado out of top spot.
"Much of the shakeup we see at the top of this year's ranking is a result of changing preferences," said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News. "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."
Sean Pavone/Getty Images
The team behind the study say that the change in preference and why Huntsville came out on top is because more Americans are placing more value on house affordability and quality of life. If you haven't checked out Huntsville in a while, there is a lot more to offer these days than just Space Camp (which we still think is pretty cool.) New restaurants, apartment buildings, and breweries are sprinkled throughout downtown and the areas just beyond, revitalizing neighborhoods and creating new spaces for new memories to be made. Just this past weekend, the newest concert venue and event space, the Orion Amphitheater held its debut event dubbed, The First Waltz, featuring Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Brittany Howard, and Mavis Staples.
It appears that not just Alabama is making an impression on people as they consider where to plant roots. Four other Southern cities made the top ten as well.
2022-2023 U.S. News Best Places to Live – Top 10
1. Huntsville, AL
2. Colorado Springs, CO
3. Green Bay, WI
4. Boulder, CO
5. San Jose, CA
6. Raleigh & Durham, NC
7. Fayetteville, AR
8. Portland, ME
9. Sarasota, FL
10. San Francisco, CA
See the full rankings here.
The study also found several strong points for making other Southern cities and towns your home base. Four out of five locations found to be the fastest growing are from our neck of the woods. They are:
Myrtle Beach, SC
Fort Meyers, FL
Hickory, North Carolina ranked first place in most affordable with Huntsville coming in third in that category. And three of the four safest places to live are right here in the South.
Port St. Lucie, FL
Fort Myers, FL