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New report ranks best and most affordable places to live in America

The best cities and places to live in America in 2024, ranked by Niche
Posted at 4:05 PM, Mar 27, 2024

Prepare to swell with local pride or seethe with envy, depending on where you live. For the 10th year running, has released their annual list ranking the best cities and places to live, and you might be surprised at the results for 2024.

It’s clear from both lists that Niche doesn’t play favorites with cities that are well known. You won’t find famous hotspots like Miami, Chicago or New York City anywhere in the top 10, for instance. Niche is a site that’s primarily focused on helping students and families find a school that fits their needs, and a place to live near that school.

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For their rankings, they use their own proprietary data about schools and the housing market as well as statistics from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other federal sources. Diversity, affordability, walkability and other factors are added to the mix, along with community reviews on the site to find the best.

The rankings this year rate over 18,000 places and nearly 230 cities, and Texas makes a good showing when it comes to urban areas. The Lone Star State has two spots in the top five list of cities: The Woodlands ( No. 2) and Plano (No. 5).

The top city overall? Naperville, Illinois, up from the No. 4 slot in 2023. It gets an A+ rating from Niche in the categories of “Public Schools” and “Good for Families.” Anonymous reviewers on the site praise its riverwalk (shown below) as “something out of a fairytale” and love the fact that it’s a short 30-minute train ride away from Chicago. Unsurprisingly, Naperville also took No. 1 in a separate list of Best Cities to Raise a Family in America. Last year’s top city, Cambridge, Massachusetts, slips to a respectable No. 3.

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2024 Best Cities To Live In America

Riverwalk in Naperville, Illinois

Here are Niche’s top 10 Best Cities to Live in America for 2024. Niche defines a city as “a principal city for an urbanized area with a population of 100,000 or more.”

  1. Naperville, Illinois
  2. The Woodlands, Texas
  3. Cambridge, Massachusetts
  4. Arlington, Virginia
  5. Plano, Texas
  6. Irvine, California
  7. Columbia, Maryland
  8. Overland Park, Kansas
  9. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  10. Bellevue, Washington

2024 Best Places To Live In America

Niche also ranked the best places to live, which include “non-rural town(s) with a population of 1,000 or more.” The top town for 2024 is Colonial Village, which also happens to be a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia — No. 4 on this year’s list of top cities.

It moved up from its No. 2 spot last year, displacing Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania to No. 3. Niche rates Colonial Village an A+ for its public schools, nightlife and commute, among other factors. The Tampa, Florida area also made a great showing on this year’s rankings, with three neighborhoods in the top 10: Uptown (No. 4), Hyde Park/Spanishtown Creek (No. 6, shown below) and Harbour Island (No. 9).

Here are the top 10 Places to Live in America, according to Niche:

  1. Colonial Village, Virginia (neighborhood in Arlington)
  2. Carmel, Indiana
  3. Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania (suburb of Philadelphia)
  4. Uptown, Florida (neighborhood in Tampa)
  5. Cinco Ranch, Texas (suburb of Houston)
  6. Hyde Park/Spanishtown Creek, Florida (neighborhood in Tampa)
  7. Evergreen Park, California (neighborhood in Palo Alto)
  8. Radnor/Fort Myer Heights, Virginia (neighborhood in Arlington)
  9. Harbour Island, Florida (neighborhood in Tampa)
  10. College Terrace, California (neighborhood in Palo Alto)

Niche also broke down their rankings to find the locales that are the “Best for Families,” “Most Diverse,” “Best for Retirees” — the list goes on. You can find them all on the Best Places to Live page on

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