This land was made for you and me, as Lady Gaga sang at the Super Bowl last night — but parts of this land are more desirable to live on than others. Which parts? U.S. News & World Report released its 2017 Best Places to Live list today, which answers just that.
The publication ranked the country’s 100 most populated metro areas based on affordability, job prospects, and quality of life. Among the top 10 are Denver, CO; San Jose, CA; and Washington, D.C. U.S. News surveyed thousands of people across the U.S. to find out which qualities they consider important in a hometown. It also used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI, and Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as its own rankings of best high schools and best hospitals.
“When considering a move, people are concerned about finding a job in their field, earning enough to afford a home, sending their kids to good schools, and feeling like a part of their community,” said Kim Castro, executive editor at U.S. News. “The Best Places to Live ranking takes all of that into account — the metro areas that do well are the ones with strong job markets and high quality of life.”
Is your hometown — or, perhaps, your future hometown — one of the country’s top 10 places to live? Find out, ahead.
#10: Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City went from #27 to #10 thanks to an improved cost of living.
Photo: Ash Lindsey Photography/Getty Images.
#9: Des Moines, IA
Des Moines received the highest “value” score out of all 100 metro areas because of its low cost of living.
Photo: Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images.
#8: Boston, MA
Boston moved from #30 to #8 this year thanks to a big dip in its unemployment rate.
Photo: Tomasz Szulczewski/Getty Images.
#7: Raleigh & Durham, NC
These North Carolina cities are experiencing a lot of job growth, according to U.S. News.
Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images.
#6: Seattle, WA
Seattle’s natural beauty is a huge draw for many of its residents. And contrary to popular belief, it gets less rain than Boston, New York, Philadelphia, or Miami.
Photo: Spaces Images/Getty Images.
#5: Fayetteville, AR
“Fayetteville may seem like an odd fit for the top 10, but as home to Walmart, J.B. [Hunt] Transport, and Tyson Foods Inc. — not to mention the University of Arkansas — the area’s job market is rife with opportunities for those in manufacturing, education, and a number of other industries,” according to the report.
Photo: DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images.
#4: Washington, D.C.
D.C. moved up four spots to #4, having seen some improvement in its job-market score.
Photo: Anuska Sampedro/Getty Images.
#3: San Jose, CA
“Because it’s a hub of the technology industry, San Jose’s unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national rate, and San Jose residents make roughly $30,000 more on average than residents of other major metro areas,” says the report.
Photo: Bernd Geh/Getty Images.
#2: Denver, CO
Denver is experiencing a “green” gold rush. “After Colorado residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, Denver has seen a surge in cannabis-related commerce, from dispensaries to magazines to high-tech paraphernalia like vaporizers, rolling papers, lotions, and storage containers — and the industry is just gaining speed,” reports U.S. News.
Photo: milehightraveler/Getty Images.
#1: Austin, TX
“People want to move there — and they actually ARE moving there,” according to the report. The metro area got a high desirability rating, and experienced one of the highest population-growth rates on the list.
Photo: Peter Tsai Photography/Getty Images.
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