The Best Cities to Relocate to in America
Relocation is sometimes a sound solution for increasing unemployment rates and fewer secure jobs. Many people are considering relocation as an option to better their careers and quality of life. In October of 2010, Bert Sperling, of Sperling’s BestPlaces, researched which cities are economically and socially resilient. Unlike a megalopolis that can crash and boom, an older city can offer its inhabitants a steadier, more confident growth rate. The findings show that well-established cities are excellent options for people who are considering moving to a new place.
Notably, several of the cities are in the Midwest and a distance from coastal states. According to Bert Sperling, "During these tough times, we're sort of celebrating these areas that kept their head down and were steady through good times, and the not-so-good.”
Though cities such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo have reputations as industrialized hubs rather than cultural centers, they are increasingly focused on education and the arts. These ten cities can provide its inhabitants with some of the best opportunities for work and life.
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“By considering these criteria and more, it gives an excellent insight into the areas of the United States where locals care about the food eat, prepare, and share with their friends and family.”
To find the best cities for relocation, Sperling’s Best Places chose several important factors: unemployment, cost of living, crime rates, population health, and cultural events. The ten best cities to move to all have lower than average house prices and unemployment rates below the national average (10.2%). Safety and health are essential for a happy community, as well as leisurely activities. Sports teams, arts, and other forms of culture are crucial to a city’s livability and well-being.
In addition to population and other metrics, stability was an important factor because it indicates a city’s hardiness. According to Bert, "We're a big believer in the concept of stability, where there is modest, controllable growth. Big booms lead to disruption, and ultimately big busts. Neither is good for livability."
The 10 Best Cities to Relocate to
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Austin-Round Rock, TX
Des Monies-West Des Moines, IA
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN
1. Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh is an affordable city that offers the amenities of a megalopolis with added stability. With an average home price of 116,400 (the national average is $171,700) and a cost of living that is 12.2% below the U.S. average, Pittsburgh is an attractive city for many looking to relocate. The unemployment rate is 7.8%, whereas the national average is currently at 10.2%. Moreover, the low risk of natural disasters and low crime rate make Pittsburgh a safe city for homeowners and families. For entertainment, Pittsburgh is home of the multiple Super Bowl winning team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sports are an important part of Pittsburgh, and they considerably improve the quality of life.
2. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
Now nicknamed “the city of trees,” Buffalo had a rough transition period into the twenty-first century. Its current economy is moving from industrial business to tourism, while the healthcare and education industries are growing quickly. Unemployment is at 8.3%, which is lower than in the rest of the states. With a prolific arts scene and an affordable cost of living that is 14.4% below the national average, the city is ideal for people looking to move to a place with plenty of cultural events. There are over 20 parks in Buffalo, along with Niagara Falls, it is quickly becoming a greener, more active city. For sports fans, the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres will provide plenty of athletic entertainment.
3. Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA
Omaha was one of the most stable cities according to research. One of the wealthiest men in the world resides in Omaha: Warren Buffett, whose presence attracts Fortune 500 companies to the city. Omaha’s slow, but persistent growth contributes to the city’s low unemployment rate—4.2%--less than half of the U.S.’s average.
4. Fort-Worth-Arlington, TX
The City of Cowboys and Culture features a budding arts scene and proximity to Dallas. However, Fort Worth can stand on its own with its botanical garden, amazing zoo, opera, and ballet. Its cost of living is almost 14% less than the national average, making it an affordable option for many. Arlington is home of the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers, and even a chapter of Mensa. The Fort Worth and Arlington area has something for everyone, and still has an unemployment rate, 8.2%, that is below average.
5. Austin-Round Rock, TX
With at least a dozen colleges, Austin is definitively one of the best college towns. The city is a “crazy quilt” combination of environmentalism, art, improv, and tech companies. Noted for its quirkiness, Austin is proud of its diverse population, as its unofficial slogan is “Keep Austin Weird.” It stays affordable, too: its cost of living is 2.4% lower than the national average.
Round Rock is Austin’s more conservative neighbor and where the headquarters of Dell Computers is located. The unemployment rate is a low and attractive figure at 6.5%.
6. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
Des Moines is increasing cultural and educational productivity with its recent projects. A new science center, IMAX theater, and events center are helping the community grow. Moreover, Des Moines’s low cost of living, at 12% lower than the US average, makes the city a great place to move to. Des Moines’s unemployment rate is 7.1%, which is below the national average, and it is home to nearly 60 companies’ headquarters. The median price of homes is also lower than the national average, at $150,600. West Des Moines, a wealthy suburb, however, is more costly. As an added attraction, Iowa is famous for its politics—the Iowa caucuses are the first major electoral events.
7. Madison, WI
The cold doesn’t stop Madison’s inhabitants from having fun. Plenty of winter activities and the city’s amenities make the winter enjoyable. As the residence of the comical publication, The Onion, Madison has a sense of humor. In addition to a low unemployment rate, 5.2%, Madison has sports complexes, performing arts centers, and even a free zoo.
8. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN
In Sperling’s words, “Minneapolis is probably one of the most progressive, greenest cities and the folks are really polite in that Midwestern way.” Familiar as the Twin Cities, the area has a low crime rate and a large number of artistic and cultural institutions. Though housing and cost of living are higher than the national average, the low unemployment rate, 7%, makes it a good city for people looking for job opportunities. The Minnesota Vikings, the Mall of America, and enormous theater market make the Twin Cities an area with diverse opportunities and events.
9. Denver-Aurora, CO
Public art, museums, and stability contribute to Denver-Aurora’s livability. Surrounded by mountains, the city is perfect for people with active lifestyles. Denver’s varied sports teams show some of the activities available to its population. Denver has teams from the four biggest sports in the U.S.: the Denver Broncos football team, Colorado Rockies baseball team, Colorado Avalanche hockey team, and the Denver Nuggets basketball team. Aurora, Denver’s suburb, provides its inhabitants with plenty of shopping and over a thousand acres of parks and a dozen golf courses. The unemployment rate, 7.2%, is lower than the national average. Denver is a superb choice for movers who value outdoors activities and cultural events.
10. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
Indianapolis-Carmel is a sensible city for relocators. First, the unemployment rate is well below the national average rate at 8.8% (the national average is 10.2%). The city has high scores for stability and affordability: the average price of homes is $120,200 (the average price of homes in the US is $171,700) and the cost of living is 17.8% lower than the national average. In addition to its great cost of living, the city offers plenty of entertainment and activities. Ten sports teams reside in Indianapolis, including the Indianapolis Colts football team and the Indiana Pacers basketball team. Central Park, in Carmel, has an enormous water park, boardwalk, and miles of trails.
About Sperling’s BestPlaces
For over 25 years, Sperling’s BestPlaces has been helping people find their own best places to live, work, retire, play, or relocate. The Portland, Oregon research firm produces city rankings and studies which appear regularly in the national media, and principal Bert Sperling is the author of several best-selling books on the best places to live.