Alabama’s largest city, Huntsville, has been named the best place to live in America.
Colorado Springs in Colorado took second place, followed by Green Bay, Wisconsin in third, according to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking top places to live rankings.
Boulder, Colorado, which was named best place for 2021 and 2020, was shuffled down to fourth place, followed by San Jose, California in fifth.
Every year U.S. News ranks 150 of the country’s metropolitan areas, based on five indexes: job market, housing affordability, quality of life, desirability and net migration, which measures the trend of people moving to, or away from the area.
Covid-19, inflation, soaring housing and the ability to work from home has changed Americans’ house-buying habits.
‘Multiple years of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty have changed many people’s priorities when they consider a major move,’ U.S. News real estate editor Devon Thorsby said. ‘Work-from-home options have become more permanent, and there’s an even greater focus on an individual’s ability to enjoy where they live, rather than where a job will necessarily take them.’
Huntsville’s high quality of life, affordability and cheap property propelled the town into first place in 2022 – especially as the national housing crisis has pushed many formerly affordable areas out of reach of normal Americans.
1. Huntsville scored high in housing and job market on the U.S. News & World Report list of best cities to live
The former agricultural town blasted off in the 1960s when NASA opened its Marshall Space Flight center, which developed the Saturn V rocket that propelled the Apollo astronauts to the moon.
TOP TEN PLACES TO LIVE IN THE US
1. Huntsville, Alabama
2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
3. Green Bay, Wisconsin
4. Boulder, Colorado
5. San Jose, California
6. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
7. Fayetteville, Arkansas
8. Portland, Maine
9. Sarasota, Florida
10. San Francisco, California
The U.S. Army also opened chemical weapons plant Redstone Arsenal, as well as Aviation and Missile Command. The FBI also has its operational support headquarters in town, which all give the area a steady economic base.
There’s a growing biotech industry in Huntsville providing higher than average salaries.
Huntsville scored high in housing and job market, no wonder with all those stable government jobs, but faltered in desirability.
Housing affordability is top of mind for many U.S. residents. The rising cost of homes in the United States, inflation from the snarls in the supply chain and the work-from-home trend that came out of the pandemic.
People living in small, cramped apartments in expensive coastal cities like New York City and LA may have also reconsidered their space after two years of lockdowns.
All these factors made finding a bargain more important than picking a home in the prime location.
The expensive urban areas lost out to Southern and Western city because people were looking for a cheaper lifestyle and better quality of life, Thorsby said.
‘Much of the shakeup we see at the top of this year’s ranking is a result of changing preferences,’ Thorsby said. ‘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.’
The price of homes jumped 19.7 percent in February alone, S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index.
2. Colorado Springs. This city ranked second best for its desirability for its outdoor lifestyle and youthful demographics
3. Green Bay, Wisconsin is more than just the Packer. It’s got two universities and a thriving arts scene
4. Boulder, Colorado slipped in the ranking due to the high cost of living and housing prices
5. San Jose, the heart of Silicone Valley, attracts people with its high-salaried jobs
The average cost of a house in Huntsville is $192,667 compared to the national average of $365,646.
Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy are two major draws for the second best city in America, Colorado Springs.
This Rocky Mountain town scored a perfect 10, compared to Huntsville’s 4.6, in desirability. Credit its outdoor activities for that. Mountain biking, hiking and climb abound in this youthful city, where the median age is 35. Colorado Springs is full of jocks. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Centers are located there.
TEN MOST DANGEROUS PLACES TO LIVE IN AMERICA
1. Memphis, Tennessee
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
3. Anchorage, Alaska
4. Bakersfield, California
5. Little Rock, Arkansas
6. Chattanooga, Tennessee
7. Corpus Christi, Texas
8. Tulsa, Oklahoma
9. Columbia, South Carolina
10. Kalamazoo, Michigan
The cost of living here is higher than the national average. The price of a home can run about $555,072.
‘We’ve become pretty accustomed to ranking among the best places to live in the nation — now in our fifth year of ranking in the top six of 150 cities ranked and highest in desirability for four straight years,’ Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told The Gazette. ‘These consistently high rankings are testament to the resilience and staying power of our city.’
Huntsville, which ranked third last year, knocked out Boulder in the number one spot.
Like Colorado Springs, there’s plenty to do in Boulder, but not just outside. In addition to the hiking, climbing and biking it offers, the mountain town is abundant in yoga studios, wellness and mediation centers and, of course, marijuana dispensaries.
The publication also offers a precautionary list of the most dangerous places to live in the U.S.
Avoid settling down in Memphis, Tennessee if you value your life, according to U.S. News.
The ‘Home of the Blues,’ a city of 1.3 million people, is the most dangerous place to live in America because it routinely has one of the top homicide rates in the country.
Anyone who’s seen ‘Breaking Bad’ can tell you that Albuquerque, New Mexico is a place to tread lightly.
The publication rank the Southwest City has the second most dangerous place to live.