Choosing where to live is perhaps one of the most defining personal choices an individual can make in his or her life. It shapes our family and career prospects and impacts the quality of life in general. Thought of as a personal, stressful, and extremely meaningful pick for some or else a destined and feel good kind of selection for others, there hardly is a right or wrong answer to it, rather a suitable for you choice that you ought to commit to at least once in your life. At Dellcy we ensure seamless auto transportation, and since we deal with plenty of moving, here’s our list of the 10 best cities to live in the U.S in 2021. We strived to ensure an overall quality of life measure in selecting the ranking besides to the professional aspects of employment and business opportunities, considering a mix of criteria that ensure good work-life balance such as—walkability, park and nature access, diversity, housing costs, job and business opportunities, and more—that together add up to that essential but elusive trait of liveability of the place:
1. Seattle, WA
The capital of the picturesque north-west has consistently registered economic and employment growth spurred by a surging information technology industry, as well as its strong biotechnology, aerospace, healthcare and manufacturing sectors. Global giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, and Boeing, among others, have been attracting top talent to the greater Seattle area. Additionally, compared with the East Coast and other West Coast cities (San Francisco and Los Angeles), the Seattle metro area has traditionally had a lower cost of living, although this has been changing. A large share of individuals with college degrees and high incomes, combined with Seattle’s relatively lower costs of living, make the city a prime target for young entrepreneurs, technology developers, and families. Much of Seattle’s technology growth has come from expansion by Amazon, Microsoft, and Expedia, as well as the development of satellite offices for Facebook, Google, and Salesforce, within and around the surrounding area. Quality of life is also leading in the city, in spite of the low number of sunny days and low rental vacancy rate —a consequence of the Pacific Northwest’s cloudy weather coupled with the city’s lack of preparedness for the rapid influx of new residents – as per the Robert Half Career City Index, ranking it first amongst American cities to live and work in.
2. Boston, MA
The second ranking in our index is Boston, which scores well under the career Prospects, quality of life, and cultural diversity measures. Massachusetts’ state capital and largest city is recognized for its strong financial, insurance, and healthcare industries, in addition to its education and research infrastructure. World-renowned universities, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Wellesley College, Boston College and Boston University, call the Boston area home, churning out one of the most highly educated populations in the country (46.5 percent of the population over age 25 has a bachelor’s degree or higher). The Boston metro area has the third-highest GDP per capita and the fifth-highest median household income. Boston is not a cheap place to live, ranking 15th in the cost of living category – as per the Robert Half Career City Index – and lags behind only Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, as the most expensive place in the Index to rent. However, it does have the lowest average cost for groceries — a likely result of the strong competition among supermarket chains in the area.
3. San Francisco, CA
Few may be surprised to learn that the San Francisco Bay Area, a cultural melting pot, global financial center, and hotbed of innovation, ranks third overall in our index. Silicon Valley has emerged as a key cog in the American economic machine, and some of the world’s largest and most recognizable firms call the San Francisco Bay Area home: Google, Apple, and Oracle are just three headliners of a massive and constantly changing corporate landscape. Newer players like Facebook, Twitter, and Uber are attracting more and more talent to the area, and start-ups are rising and falling with stunning speed. It is hard to imagine that of the aforementioned firms, only one has reached 40 years old (Apple, founded in 1976). San Francisco’s labor force is the wealthiest ($80,643 per capita) and second-most educated — 54.2 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, as per the Robert Half Career City Index. It is also a diverse and entertaining city. Ranking third in the cultural diversity category, the Bay Area is in the top five for entertainment venues, food, and drink establishments, Internet connectivity and foreign-born population. While San Francisco is an enticing place to start a career, it is also an expensive place to live, ranking 23rd in the cost of living category.
4. Minneapolis, MN
Winters sure aren’t very forgiving in Minnesota but if you don’t mind the cold then the state’s capital, Twin Cities, might be the right place for you to move in. Your preconceptions of Minneapolis might be shattered when you see its booming new downtown. The focus of a $2 billion Big Build initiative to invest in revitalization and redevelopment, the city center has seen a real estate rush fuelled by population growth in the Twin Cities region. And the city is squarely confronting the challenges that come with growth in its Minneapolis 2040 plan, choosing to increase housing density via up-zoning and focusing on equity, affordability, and sustainability. Minneapolis has always floated under the radar, yet it really shouldn’t. The city boasts an award-winning park network, an envious bike trail system, and excellent recreational activities—despite the frigid winters. Combined with relatively affordable homes (bungalows and four-bedroom homes in the high $300,000s, according to Zillow) and a local economy that supports big firms like Target, Monsanto, and 3M, and a spurling medical industry, think Mayo clinic, Minneapolis hits the mid-size metro sweet spot: more accessible than larger cities, at a fraction of the cost, with really good pay in leading American corporations and industries.
5. New York City, NY
We bet you knew this one was coming. And while for many this is a hate it or love it kind of metropolis relationship, truth is NY continues to be the East side powerhouse. New York City ranks second in cultural diversity, leading the category for the largest number of food and beverage venues per square mile; there are more than 46,400 options to choose from across the metro area. In addition, New York’s vast array of museums, art galleries, Broadway shows and concerts, television and movie production, and cultural festivals places it second in the arts and entertainment indicator. With deep historical significance as the home of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, New York City has a history of cultural and ethnic diversity, as well. It scores high in the diversity category, where it is ranked fourth, as per the Robert Half Career City Index. “The Big Apple,” the largest city in the United States (over 8 million people live in the city proper and around 20 million live in the greater metropolitan area), has long been considered the financial capital of the world. It is home to many of the world’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, as well as the world’s two largest stock exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ. New York City is one of the most expensive places to live in. The high average cost of groceries ($66.90 for 10 staples) and dining out ($184), as well as high rents, place the city near the bottom of the cost of living category. New York City also boasts more billionaires than any other city in the world. Despite its high costs, the city still manages to attract approximately 55 million tourists every year. They come for the wide range of world-class cultural opportunities, entertainment and food options. The city also scores well in the quality of life category, boosted by its strong primary and secondary education and public transportation – ranked first in quality of public transport systems.
6. Denver, CO
Denver can seem effortlessly cool compared to other cities, a mid-size metro near the mountains with perks for people with active lifestyles and job opportunities few can beat. But strategic investments and developments over the last decade have made sure Denver’s quality of life, including excellent parks and walkability, has kept pace with an expanding population— which grew by 20 percent over the last decade. The city’s new Gold Line rail service (which terminates at a restored Union Station) has sparked transit-oriented development in suburban downtowns. A plethora of new skyscrapers, infill development (especially in former industrial areas like the River North neighbourhood), and megaprojects such as Stapleton, a decommissioned airport northeast of downtown, have led to a more tightly knit urban landscape. The trajectory of Denver’s growth created an even more appealing city that can further capitalize on its ongoing economic boom, which includes significant growth in tech jobs (and office prices a third of what they are in San Francisco). Tech-inclined outdoorsy folk: this city’s for you.
7. Boise / Idaho Falls, ID
Boasting a beautiful setting—nestled in the high desert, bisected by the Boise River in case of Boise, and green enough to be called the City of Trees—Idaho’s capital and largest city doesn’t need anything, or anybody, to sell itself. The city has gained national renown as a relocation destination in the last decade—most famously for former Californians—and a booming economy has only been strengthened by arriving talent and capital. Boise has blown up. Between 2013 and 2018, the metro population grew 81,000, more than three times the national average. Locals will complain about population growth outpacing development and new roads, and a mayoral candidate wants to keep more Californians out with a wall. Idaho Falls meanwhile is another beloved destination for ex-Californians, be it pensioning or their offspring tired of the fuss and intensity of the coast life, and seeking a return to the basics; a place with lower cost of living and higher perceived quality of life. Both cities’ explosive economy, especially in tech and health care, have made it a destination for coastal urbanites contemplating a big move. Idaho is one of the fastest growing states in the country, and Idaho Falls is one of the fastest growing cities. In the last five years, the number of people living in the metro area increased by over 12,000, an 8.8% bump. Job growth kept pace with growing demand, as over roughly the same period, total employment climbed by nearly 10,500, or a 17.3% increase – more than in all but 17 other metro areas nationwide. The rapid job growth in Idaho Falls has led to one of the lowest jobless rates in the country. Just 2.0% of workers in the metro area are unemployed, down from 4.0% half a decade ago and well below the 3.4% national unemployment rate.
8. Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix is ranked first in the quality of life category, scoring well also on quality of education (ranked second), number of sunny days (ranked first) and park space as a share of total city acreage (ranked seventh), as per the Robert Half Career City Index. With its sprawling land area, frequent sunshine and Southwestern influence, Phoenix offers residents a different lifestyle than its similarly ranked peers on the East Coast and is the only Western city in the top five in this category. Phoenix is one of the largest cities in this Southwestern corner of the United States, and its large number of parks, proximity to nature and strong education system draw people from across the region. Newcomers to the Phoenix area will find strong job growth in the information technology and energy sectors from companies such as auto manufacturer General Motors, Internet domain registrant GoDaddy, technology service provider Asurion, and energy company Direct Energy.
9. Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital is home to more than 633,000 people and has a total metro area population of nearly 6 million. Washington, D.C., offers a unique living experience, which includes dynamic, globally minded residents and prestigious government and private-sector job opportunities. Compared with other major cities, it weathered the last economic recession relatively well, largely owing to permanent federal government workforce insulation from market-mandated cost cutting and layoffs during the downturn. The city has an abundance of world-renowned universities, including The George Washington University and Georgetown University, which tend to act as safe havens for permanent employees during downturns. The D.C. metro area also has a strong and growing technology sector, driven in part by federal contracting, increases in military technology investment spending, and burgeoning entrepreneurship. The city comes in fourth in the overall rankings as per the Robert Half Career City Index and performs well in the career prospects (ranked third), quality of life (ranked sixth) and cultural diversity (ranked fourth) categories. With its walkable neighbourhoods and extensive underground transportation system known as Metro (ranked seventh in quality of public pransport), Washington, D.C., (ranked third for educational attainment) has seen a large influx of young, highly educated individuals looking for an urban playground. With its first-rate museums, historic architecture, and global cultural opportunities, Washington, D.C., has long outgrown its reputation as a buttoned-down government city to rival other major global cities.
10. Houston, TX
Situated on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, with a population exceeding 2.1 million people. The city is well known for its energy industry, with strong oil and natural gas sectors, and has other well-established industrial bases (manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation), and an expanding healthcare industry. Helped by its diversification away from energy, Houston’s economic recovery was faster than in most other U.S. cities in the wake of the last economic recession. In 2014 the metro area grew by 3.5 percent, ranking first on the Forbes 2015 list of America’s Fastest Growing Cities, and is home to the second-largest number of Fortune 500 companies in the country, including ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, Sysco, Group 1 Automotive, and Waste Management, Inc. Aside from the energy supply chain and its access to the Port of Houston, one of the country’s busiest ports, the city’s low cost of doing business and a range of state and local tax incentives also attract companies. Lacking a state corporate or individual income tax, Houston ties for first place in the state income tax indicator, supporting its cost of living category ranking (third) as per the Robert Half Career City Index. Strong cost of living and career prospect rankings, the two categories with higher weights in the Index, lead Houston to a tenth-place ranking overall. Although the city’s GDP per capita is high ($70,097) thanks to its energy and oil wealth, it is relegated to 21st place on income inequality. This may be attributed to Houston’s large immigrant population (sixth in the diversity indicator), which is dominated by migrants from Mexico and Central America.
And if you ever make the decision of moving places, please make use of our services to have your vehicles seamlessly transported to your destination. Follow Dellcy’s other blog posts on the 5 reasons to move to another state, 3 ways of moving your vehicle when relocating, the 10 items you cannot put in your car during transportation, and our 7 Tips for Preparing Your Car for Auto Transportation.”