Austin Evening


I previously wrote a post on the best and worst run cities in America.  But that isn’t the only qualifier to determine the value of a city.  Some people would consider affordability, job prospects and quality of life as factors as well.  So what are the top 20 best cities to live in the United States? Is your city on the list?  In my previous post, I made the argument that mid-sized cities were able to function the best.  Simply because the distribution of budget dollars could be spread out in an easier way.  But with this list, I’m going to be making a somewhat different argument.  Which is that larger cities tend to fare better when it comes to job prospects and affordability.  Notice how I didn’t say “large”?  You might also notice that New York City didn’t make the top 20 on this list.  Again, I think that speaks to my theory.

san jose

If we look at the top five, I don’t think anyone will be surprised.  Why did Austin take the top spot?  Let’s look at the numbers:

Austin, Texas

  • The city has a population of almost 1.9 million people
  • The average salary is $49,560.
  • House prices work out on average $262,000
  • There is around 32 inches of rain a year, with temperatures normally ranging between 55F-80F.
  • Austin has an unemployment rate of just 3.2 % (which is low)
  • The average commute to work is 6-minutes.
  • You can rent a place in the city for around $1,044 a month.


Denver, Colorado

  • The city has a population of approximately 2.7 million
  • The average median salary is $54,450
  • It will cost you to buy a house is $314,000 in Denver
  • If you want to rent, you can get a place for about $1,049
  • It will only take you about 27 minutes to get to work, and;
  • The average temperatures range between 36 F to 65F

San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose, California

  • The population of San Jose is almost 1.3 million
  • If you want a job in San Jose, on average you will make $78,000
  • What’s interesting about San Jose is that the cost of a home is around $830,000.  To rent a home in San Jose will cost you about $1,700 a month.
  • The commute to work will take you about 26 minutes, and;
  • The temperatures range between 51 F and 72 F.


The Full List:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Denver, Colorado
  3. San Jose, California
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Fayetteville, Arkansas
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  8. Boston, Massachusetts
  9. Des Moines, Iowa
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah
  11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  12. Boise, Idaho
  13. Nashville, Tennessee
  14. Charlotte, North Carolina
  15. Dallas, Texas
  16. San Francisco, California
  17. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  18. Madison, Wisconsin
  19. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  20. Houston, Texas

What does all of this mean?  Well, again, I think people tend towards the larger cities.  Why?  Because they offer the hustle and bustle of mega-cities, without all the headaches.  For the most part, the cost of housing is relatively low (except San Jose), and it won’t take you any time to get to work.  If you Google “living in Austin” you will get inundated with information about why you should move to Austin, and which neighborhoods are the best to live in.  When choosing a city, you have to factor in how much money you are going to be able to make and how much it’s going to cost.  Those two things don’t always jive.  Just because you want to live in Hawaii, doesn’t mean you can afford to do so.

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