The 25 best places to live on the East Coast in 2021-2022

Where on the East Coast do you want to live?

A move to the East Coast may bring you closer to family, give you access to the right job or simply fit the vibe you’re looking for. The East Coast is diverse, so you’ll have plenty of choices among seaside locales, bustling urban centers, places that provide Southern charm and towns known for their fall colors. To help you determine the place in this part of the country that’s the best fit for you, we looked at the metro areas within 100 miles of the Atlantic coast that rank highest among the Best Places to Live, which considers factors including affordability, job market, desirability and morning commute, among others. Read on for the 25 Best Places to Live on the East Coast.

25. Philadelphia

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 112
Metro Population: 6,079,130
Median Home Price: $304,667
Average Annual Salary: $57,580

Philadelphia holds historical and cultural significance for many, whether you first think of the signing of the Declaration of Independence at City Hall or the birthplace of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” when the city comes to mind. Like many metro areas centered around a large city, Philadelphia saw its job market take a significant hit in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the average monthly unemployment rate was 9.2%.

Learn more about Philadelphia.

24. New Haven, Connecticut

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 111
Metro Population: 857,513
Median Home Price: $332,600
Average Annual Salary: $58,330

A classic New England town, New Haven is home to Yale University and sits on New Haven Harbor, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. New Haven receives its best score for its job market, with an average annual salary of $58,330 and a 2020 average monthly unemployment rate of 7.3% — below the national average of 8.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Learn more about New Haven.

23. Springfield, Massachusetts

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 109
Metro Population: 699,480
Median Home Price: $295,285
Average Annual Salary: $53,550

Located in western Massachusetts, Springfield is roughly a 60-mile drive to the Connecticut coastline. Springfield residents benefit from plenty of high-quality health care options within driving distance. A bonus: The average morning commute for Springfield residents is just 23.3 minutes, allowing locals to spend more time at home. The national average commute is 26.9 minutes.

Learn more about Springfield.

22. Providence, Rhode Island

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 106
Metro Population: 1,618,268
Median Home Price: $401,516
Average Annual Salary: $55,930

Providence area residents benefit from an above-average annual salary of $55,930, but the job market suffered significantly during the pandemic, with an average monthly unemployment rate of 9.6% in 2020. Providence is home to major employers like Brown University, Citizens Financial Group and the Roger Williams Medical Center. Providence residents spend 24.33% of the area’s median annual household income on housing, which is slightly above the median cost of living for all 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list.

Learn more about Providence.

21. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 105
Metro Population: 1,761,729
Median Home Price: $301,245
Average Annual Salary: $49,620

The popular beach destination receives its highest score for desirability, based on a SurveyMonkey survey that asked more than 3,600 U.S. residents where they would prefer to live, given the choice. Out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S., Virginia Beach ranks 29th for desirability. Residents also benefit from a short average morning commute of just 24.6 minutes, more than two minutes shorter than the national average of 26.9 minutes.

Learn more about Virginia Beach.

20. Reading, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 101
Metro Population: 418,025
Median Home Price: $157,600
Average Annual Salary: $49,730

Reading is another inland metro area within 100 miles of ocean access — in Reading’s case, the Delaware Bay and upper Chesapeake Bay are within this radius. Reading ties with Ann Arbor, Michigan; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Trenton, New Jersey; and York, Pennsylvania for the No. 1 spot for proximity to quality health care, based on information from the U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking.

Learn more about Reading.

19. Baltimore

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 100
Metro Population: 2,796,733
Median Home Price: $337,536
Average Annual Salary: $59,250

Baltimore offers a job market that may be a reason to consider this mid-Atlantic locale: Its average annual salary, at $59,250, is well above the national average of $53,490. However, more people are moving out of the Baltimore metro area than are moving in. Between 2015 and 2019, the population shrank by 0.46% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Baltimore.

18. York, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 96
Metro Population: 445,565
Median Home Price: $176,650
Average Annual Salary: $48,280

York is one of the inland metro areas on this list, but it’s still less than 100 miles to the ocean and closest to the upper Chesapeake Bay. York offers a historic smaller-town feel, and residents enjoy a lower cost of living, spending just 22.1% of the area median annual household income on housing.

Learn more about York.

17. Salisbury, Maryland

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 95
Metro Population: 404,417
Median Home Price: $244,000
Average Annual Salary: $44,020

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Salisbury sits in the center of the peninsula, with short drives that take you to either the Chesapeake Bay to the west or the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Salisbury’s highest score on the overall Best Places to Live ranking is for its proximity to quality health care, where it ranks eighth out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Salisbury.

16. Savannah, Georgia

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 84
Metro Population: 386,036
Median Home Price: $215,350
Average Annual Salary: $45,600

While the city of Savannah is located on the Savannah River, a short drive within the metro area will get you to popular islands with beaches and access to the open ocean. With a little more than 380,000 residents, Savannah is a relatively small metro area that’s continuing to see growth. Between 2015 and 2019, Savannah saw its population increase by 3.28% due to net migration alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Savannah.

15. Worcester, Massachusetts

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 83
Metro Population: 941,338
Median Home Price: $391,061
Average Annual Salary: $56,110

Worcester’s average monthly unemployment rate for 2020 was slightly above the national average at 8.6%, and its average annual salary, at $56,110, is above the national average. People working in the Worcester area experience a trade-off of a longer commute for the higher pay, however, as the average morning trip to work takes 29.3 minutes. Worcester ranks third out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for its low rates of property crime and murder, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Learn more about Worcester.

14. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 74
Metro Population: 540,999
Median Home Price: $226,550
Average Annual Salary: $46,150

Surrounded by Amish country, Lancaster allows for residents to live close to the East Coast without a hefty cost of living. Lancaster also ranks 22nd out of the 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live for Quality of Life, which factors in college readiness among high school students, according to data from the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, as well as access to quality health care, crime rates, average commute time and overall well-being, based on the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index.

Learn more about Lancaster.

13. Daytona Beach, Florida

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 69
Metro Population: 646,288
Median Home Price: $278,897
Average Annual Salary: $40,930

If you’re seeking easy access to warm weather and beaches, Daytona Beach is an enticing option. Daytona Beach is a popular retirement destination — the metro area has a median age of 47.5 years — but it’s somewhat pricey. Daytona Beach is the 17th-most expensive place to live out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S., with the cost of living requiring 26.55% of the median household income.

Learn more about Daytona Beach.

12. Manchester, New Hampshire

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 67
Metro Population: 413,035
Median Home Price: $291,367
Average Annual Salary: $55,370

Manchester’s highest score in the overall Best Places to Live ranking is for its proximity to quality health care. Out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S., Manchester ranks 14th in the health care category. Additionally, Manchester’s average annual salary of $55,370 is above the national average of $53,490.

Learn more about Manchester.

11. Orlando, Florida

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 60
Metro Population: 2,508,970
Median Home Price: $338,974
Average Annual Salary: $46,140

This inland Florida metro area is still an easy drive to the coast, but as the home of both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, it has plenty of attractions of its own. The Orlando area has seen its population grow by 8.62% between 2015 and 2019 due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Orlando.

10. Hartford, Connecticut

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 53
Metro Population: 1,207,677
Median Home Price: $327,006
Average Annual Salary: $62,900

Ranking No. 53 on the overall Best Places to Live list, Hartford receives its best score for its college readiness among high school students, based on data from the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. Hartford ranks 19th out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. in college readiness. Plus, the area’s average annual salary, at $62,900, is more than $9,000 above the national average of $53,490.

Learn more about Hartford.

9. Richmond, Virginia

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 50
Metro Population: 1,269,530
Median Home Price: $348,232
Average Annual Salary: $52,620

Virginia’s capital city offers modern Southern charm and a varied job market for people looking to work in the financial industry, the state government or even tourism. With an average annual salary of $52,620, Richmond is just below the national average salary of $53,490. Additionally, residents benefit from a low cost of living, as housing costs in Richmond require just 22.27% of the median annual household income.

Learn more about Richmond.

8. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 47
Metro Population: 472,012
Median Home Price: $233,133
Average Annual Salary: $45,630

If you’re looking for a coastal Florida spot with fewer beaches to attract seasonal visitors, the smaller metro area of Port St. Lucie is a solid option. While it’s made up of fewer than 500,000 people, Port St. Lucie is growing fast. It’s now the eighth-fastest growing metro area in the U.S. after increasing its population by 9.12% between 2015 and 2019 due to net migration.

Learn more about Port St. Lucie.

7. Charleston, South Carolina

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 42
Metro Population: 774,508
Median Home Price: $380,374
Average Annual Salary: $47,800

Charleston is a popular choice for those seeking an East Coast locale with warm weather, beach options, history and culture. The metro area grew by 6.24% between 2015 and 2019 due to net migration alone. Combined with high scores for its desirability as a potential place to live and for its job market, Charleston ranks No. 42 on the overall Best Places to Live list in 2021-2022.

Learn more about Charleston.

6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 463,987
Median Home Price: $198,600
Average Annual Salary: $37,740

Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation spot in South Carolina, and it’s gaining new residents at a pace unmatched by any other metro area in the U.S. Myrtle Beach grew by a whopping 15.65% between 2015 and 2019 due to net migration. Myrtle Beach’s rapid growth, combined with high desirability, are the biggest factors contributing to the metro area rising from No. 75 on the overall Best Places to Live list two years prior in 2019 to No. 35 for 2021-2022.

Learn more about Myrtle Beach.

5. Boston

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 31
Metro Population: 4,832,346
Median Home Price: $632,943
Average Annual Salary: $69,240

If a major metro area with big-city benefits is ideal for you, Boston may be your best option. The capital of Massachusetts ranks 23rd for desirability out of all the metro areas on the Best Places to Live list. Beantown’s job market took a hit during the pandemic, with the average monthly unemployment rate at 8.6% in 2020, but its high average annual salary keeps it at the eighth-best job market out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Boston.

4. Washington, D.C.

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 28
Metro Population: 6,196,585
Median Home Price: $521,277
Average Annual Salary: $72,600

Ranking No. 28 on the overall Best Places to Live list for 2021-2022, the District of Columbia has fallen in rank compared to 2019, when it held the No. 19 spot. The average annual salary for the metro area is $72,600, contributing to its job market ranking No. 1 out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. Still, the cost of living here continues to rise, a key reason for the drop in overall rank from previous years.

Learn more about Washington.

3. Jacksonville, Florida

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 22
Metro Population: 1,503,574
Median Home Price: $303,789
Average Annual Salary: $48,270

Located close to the state’s border with Georgia, Jacksonville ranks No. 22 on the overall Best Places to Live list for 2021-2022. Jacksonville isn’t the fastest-growing place in Florida, but it is seeing plenty of new residents. Jacksonville grew by 6.5% between 2015 and 2019 due to net migration. Jacksonville also ranks No. 22 out of the 150 metro areas on the list for desirability.

Learn more about Jacksonville.

2. Melbourne, Florida

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 18
Metro Population: 585,507
Median Home Price: $217,400
Average Annual Salary: $51,180

This coastal Florida metro area that includes Cape Canaveral receives its highest score for its high rates of college readiness among high school students. In this category, Melbourne ranks fourth out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. In addition, Melbourne continues to experience rapid population growth due to net migration, with the area growing by 8.46% between 2015 and 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Melbourne.

1. Portland, Maine

Best Places 2021-2022 Rank: 8
Metro Population: 532,075
Median Home Price: $310,300
Average Annual Salary: $52,820

If a less-populated metro area is for you, consider Portland. The largest metro area in Maine receives a high score for its low rates of property crime and murder. It also scores high for resident happiness based on the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index and its college readiness among high school students. Plus, Portland ranks No. 21 out of the 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list for desirability.

Learn more about Portland.

The Best Places to Live on the East Coast:

— Portland, Maine.

— Melbourne, Florida.

— Jacksonville, Florida.

— Washington, D.C.

— Boston.

— Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

— Charleston, South Carolina.

— Port St. Lucie, Florida.

— Richmond, Virginia.

— Hartford, Connecticut.

— Orlando, Florida.

— Manchester, New Hampshire.

— Daytona Beach, Florida.

— Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

— Worcester, Massachusetts.

— Savannah, Georgia.

— Salisbury, Maryland.

— York, Pennsylvania.

— Baltimore, Maryland.

— Reading, Pennsylvania.

— Virginia Beach, Virginia.

— Providence, Rhode Island.

— Springfield, Massachusetts.

— New Haven, Connecticut.

— Philadelphia.

More from U.S. News

The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather in 2021

The 25 Best Places for Young Professionals to Live

The Best Places to Live in Florida in 2021

The 25 Best Places to Live on the East Coast in 2021-2022 originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 08/03/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up