DC cracks top 20 in US News’ annual ‘Best Places to Live’ rankings

D.C. made a sizable leap up the rankings in this year’s “Best Places to Live” from U.S. News & World Report, though you may be surprised by the top choice.

The list ranks the country’s 150 most populous metropolitan areas based on affordability, desirability and quality of life.

D.C. went from 28 in last year’s ranking to 19 this year, largely driven by its strong Job Market and Quality of Life scores, which scored 8 and 7, respectively, out of 10.

The other factors that went into U.S. News’ ranking for D.C. (and every other city) are Desirability (5.6), Value (5.8) and Net Migration (4.8) — giving the District an overall score of 6.6.

While the Job Market score was weighted less heavily this year due to the growth of remote work options, U.S. News’ Real Estate Editor Devon Thorsby told WTOP that “it’s no question that the job market is excellent in Washington, D.C.”

Thorsby also said that the quality of education in the D.C. metro area is “extremely competitive,” as is the overall well-being of people living in the region.

Other nearby cities that made the list include the following:

  • Richmond, Virginia — 57
  • Baltimore, Maryland — 84
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia — 106
  • Salisbury, Maryland — 115

And which city earned the title as U.S. News’ most livable city for 2022-2023?

Huntsville, Alabama.

U.S. News said the once sleepy farming town in the northern part of the state gained national recognition during the Space Race of the 1960s when the U.S. government opened a NASA center that would design the Saturn V — the rocket that sent Apollo astronauts to the moon.

Huntsville is Alabama’s most populous city, as well as its most educated, according to U.S. News. It’s one of a few surprises in the Top 10, which included Green Bay, Wisconsin, landing at 3, Fayetteville, Arkansas, coming in at 7 and Portland, Maine, ranked as 8.

“Much of the shake-up we see at the top of this year’s ranking is a result of changing preferences,” Thorsby said in a news release on the rankings.

“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.”

Below are all the Top 10 cities on U.S. News’ list:

  1. Huntsville, Alabama
  2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. Green Bay, Wisconsin
  4. Boulder, Colorado
  5. San Jose, California
  6. Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina
  7. Fayetteville, Arkansas
  8. Portland, Maine
  9. Sarasota, Florida
  10. San Francisco, California

Check out the full list on U.S. News & World Report’s website.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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