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The 50 best places to live in the US, mapped

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If you’re looking for a place to live with relatively affordable homes and a high quality of life, the Southeast may be the best place to look.

The 2024 U.S. News & World Report list of the Best Places to Live in the US, which was released Tuesday, ranks 150 major cities based on their quality of life, education, crime rates, employment opportunities, and housing. Many are concentrated in the Southeast and Midwest.

Business Insider mapped the top 50 best places to live, with the top 15 colored dark blue. These cities have relatively affordable housing, ample job opportunities, and high life satisfaction.

States such as Florida, Colorado, and North Carolina were particularly well-represented, while the Northeast and Southwest were sparse.

Florida and Colorado have many of the best places to live

Florida had six cities in the top 50: Naples and Sarasota in the top 15, followed by Pensacola, Tampa, Fort Myers, and Melbourne.

Naples, Florida, took the top spot this year, beating out Boise, Idaho.

Southeastern Florida cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale normally get most of the love from movers outside the state — or even the country. But this year, it’s the western part of the peninsula that’s well-represented on the list of best places to live.

Cities like Tampa, which landed in the 35th spot, have invested in their downtowns with nice office buildings and more lively communities to attract and keep younger movers.

The warm weather and lack of income tax have always been selling points for the Sunshine State, and the number of residents continues to increase.

Colorado had four cities in the top 50: Colorado Springs and Boulder in the top 15, followed by Fort Collins and Denver.

The Southeast is the region with the most top-ranked places to live

The Southeast dominated the list, with five in North Carolina, three in Tennessee, two in South Carolina, two in Kentucky, and one each in Georgia and Alabama.

Meanwhile, the Northeast only had three cities total in the top 50, all ranked in the 30s: Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Portland. There were just a handful in the Great Plains region, such as Davenport, Iowa, and Nebraska’s two largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln.

Thousands of Americans are rushing into Texas from states like California and Florida, though only two cities, Austin and McAllen, are in the top 50. Austin is a newcomer this year to the top 15, driven by its growing tech scene.

Austin’s tech scene has divided some movers who expected a culture similar to the Bay Area with a cheaper price tag. Even though some residents are jumping ship due to rising prices, Austin still offers job opportunities that other cities don’t.

Unlike Austin, McAllen, Texas, likely made the top 50 based on its affordability.

According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the average home price in McAllen was $265,667 in 2023,

California, many of whose cities have undergone a large exodus over the last few years, has only two cities in the top 50: San Francisco and San Diego. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah all have one each.

Some say the Golden State has been losing some of its shimmer. Between 2021 and 2022, California had a net outflow of nearly 350,000 residents, the census found. Many have been moving to Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Washington, citing factors such as high home prices, the climate crisis, and politics.

Have you recently moved to one of these cities or moved to another state for a better quality of life? Reach out to these reporters at nsheidlower@businessinsider.com and jpandy@businessinsider.com.

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