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Best Places to Live for Quality of Life in the U.S. in 2020-21

The cities with the best quality of life have high scores on U.S. News’ Quality of Life Index. It measures how satisfied residents are with their daily lives by metro area, and takes into account factors like crime, quality and availability of health care, quality of education and average commute time.

For more information on how we rank, read the Best Places to Live methodology.

Real Estate Rankings


Rankings Category


Population Size


Average Rent


Median Home Price


Commute Time


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25 place matches

Boulder, CO

badge #1 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Snug against the foothills where the Great Plains give rise to the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is nothing if not a looker. This city … more

  • 7.8 Overall Score
  • 8.3 Quality of Life
  • 6.3 Value

Ann Arbor, MI

badge #2 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Ann Arbor is a city of contrasts. It is at once rural and urban, sporty and smart, outdoorsy and high-tech, counterculture and hig… more

  • 7.2 Overall Score
  • 8.1 Quality of Life
  • 7.0 Value

McAllen, TX

badge #3 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Despite its reputation as a mere border town, McAllen, Texas, is a vibrant metro area and a major center for retail, international tr… more

  • 5.7 Overall Score
  • 7.8 Quality of Life
  • 5.3 Value

Brownsville, TX

badge #4 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Located at the southernmost tip of Texas, the Brownsville metro area marks the point where Texas meets both Mexico and the Gulf of Me… more

  • 5.7 Overall Score
  • 7.8 Quality of Life
  • 5.3 Value

Madison, WI

badge #5 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Against a backdrop of high-tech businesses and acclaimed academic institutions, Madison, Wisconsin, exudes the casual, down-to-earth … more

  • 7.1 Overall Score
  • 7.7 Quality of Life
  • 7.0 Value

Green Bay, WI

badge #6 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Home to one of the most storied football franchises in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers, Green Bay has the perfect mix of big-city a… more

  • 7.0 Overall Score
  • 7.7 Quality of Life
  • 8.1 Value

Santa Barbara, CA

badge #7 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

It has been described as the "American Riviera," a "playground for the rich and famous" and, quite simply, "paradise." Situated betwe… more

  • 6.3 Overall Score
  • 7.6 Quality of Life
  • 3.5 Value

San Jose, CA

badge #8 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Nicknamed the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is a diverse area with an innovative spirit. While it has a distinct downtown, San … more

  • 7.0 Overall Score
  • 7.6 Quality of Life
  • 5.3 Value

Grand Rapids, MI

badge #9 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Grand Rapids has an affinity for public art, and its craft brewery scene is one of the best in the nation. A scenic spot perched on t… more

  • 7.1 Overall Score
  • 7.6 Quality of Life
  • 8.1 Value

Fort Collins, CO

badge #10 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Fort Collins was once overshadowed by Colorado’s heavily populated Front Range and famous mountain ski towns. That status has chan… more

  • 7.4 Overall Score
  • 7.6 Quality of Life
  • 6.0 Value
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