The 25 Best Places to Live on the East Coast in 2020-2021

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. But 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. Baltimore

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 117

Metro Population: 2,793,250

Median Home Price: $247,533

Average Annual Salary: $57,740

Baltimore offers a job market that may be a reason to consider this mid-Atlantic locale: Its average annual salary, at $57,740, is well above the national average of $51,960. While the metro area had positive population growth between 2014 and 2018, it grew by just 0.07% during that time due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Baltimore.

24. New Haven, Connecticut

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 112

Metro Population: 859,339

Median Home Price: $206,942

Average Annual Salary: $57,920

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 $57,920 and a pre-pandemic unemployment rate roughly on par with the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Learn more about New Haven.

23. Trenton, New Jersey

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 111

Metro Population: 368,762

Median Home Price: $205,583

Average Annual Salary: $63,700

Trenton’s highest score in the overall Best Places to Live ranking is for its job market. The New Jersey metro area boasts an average salary of $63,700, more than $10,000 over the national average, and had a pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 3.2%. Trenton is located on the Delaware River, which also flows through Philadelphia and out to the Delaware Bay. But Trentonians can also drive directly east to reach the New Jersey coast in an hour or less.

Learn more about Trenton.

22. York, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 106

Metro Population: 444,014

Median Home Price: $171,292

Average Annual Salary: $46,930

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 on the East Coast, spending just 22.69% of the area median annual household income on housing.

Learn more about York.

21. Providence, Rhode Island

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 100

Metro Population: 1,615,516

Median Home Price: $270,408

Average Annual Salary: $53,730

Like many other East Coast metro areas, Providence gets high marks for its job market. The average annual salary is slightly above the national average at $53,730, and Providence is home to major employers like Brown University, Citizens Financial Group and the Roger Williams Medical Center. Providence residents spend 24.88% 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.

20. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 99

Metro Population: 1,722,001

Median Home Price: $225,025

Average Annual Salary: $48,450

The popular beach destination receives its highest score for desirability, based on a SurveyMonkey survey that asked about 3,000 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 25th for desirability. Residents also benefit from a short average morning commute of just 24.4 minutes, more than two minutes shorter than the national average of 26.6 minutes.

Learn more about Virginia Beach.

19. Springfield, Massachusetts

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 98

Metro Population: 630,275

Median Home Price: $210,708

Average Annual Salary: $52,540

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 22.8 minutes, allowing locals to spend more time at home. The national average commute is 26.6 minutes.

Learn more about Springfield.

18. Reading, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 96

Metro Population: 416,642

Median Home Price: $154,092

Average Annual Salary: $48,480

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; 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.

17. Salisbury, Maryland

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 90

Metro Population: 399,013

Median Home Price: $238,342

Average Annual Salary: $43,170

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 2020-2021 Rank: 89

Metro Population: 381,623

Median Home Price: $203,442

Average Annual Salary: $44,480

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 over 380,000 residents, Savannah is a relatively small metro area that’s continuing to see growth. Between 2014 and 2018, Savannah saw its population increase by 3.93% due to net migration alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Savannah.

15. Daytona Beach, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 74

Metro Population: 634,773

Median Home Price: $201,817

Average Annual Salary: $39,790

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 47.3 years — but it’s somewhat pricey. Daytona Beach is the 15th-most expensive place to live out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S., with the cost of living requiring 27.01% of the median household income.

Learn more about Daytona Beach.

14. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 73

Metro Population: 463,172

Median Home Price: $221,758

Average Annual Salary: $44,070

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 8.74% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration.

Learn more about Port St. Lucie.

13. Worcester, Massachusetts

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 68

Metro Population: 938,818

Median Home Price: $263,692

Average Annual Salary: $54,240

Worcester had a below-average pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 3.2%, and its average annual salary, at $54,240, 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 28.9 minutes. That puts Worcester among the 20 longest commutes out of all the metro areas on the Best Places to Live list. Worcester ranks fourth 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.

12. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 67

Metro Population: 538,347

Median Home Price: $215,975

Average Annual Salary: $44,960

Surrounded by Amish country, Lancaster allows for residents to live close to the East Coast without a hefty cost of living. Lancaster also ranks 13th 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 Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index.

Learn more about Lancaster.

11. Hartford, Connecticut

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 65

Metro Population: 1,209,367

Median Home Price: $217,358

Average Annual Salary: $60,820

Ranking No. 65 on the overall Best Places to Live list, Hartford receives its best score for its job market. The area’s average annual salary, at $60,820, is nearly $9,000 above the national average of $51,960. Hartford also ranks 19th out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for its college readiness among high school students.

Learn more about Hartford.

10. Manchester, New Hampshire

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 54

Metro Population: 411,087

Median Home Price: $273,967

Average Annual Salary: $53,660

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 13th in the health care category. Additionally, Manchester’s average annual salary of $53,660 is above the national average of $51,960.

Learn more about Manchester.

9. Richmond, Virginia

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 52

Metro Population: 1,281,530

Median Home Price: $234,383

Average Annual Salary: $51,330

Steeped in history reaching back to when Virginia was a British colony, 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 $51,330, Richmond is just about even with the national average salary of $51,960. Additionally, residents benefit from a low cost of living, as housing costs in Richmond require just 22.7% of the median annual household income.

Learn more about Richmond.

8. Orlando, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 48

Metro Population: 2,450,261

Median Home Price: $245,483

Average Annual Salary: $44,930

This inland Florida metro area is still an easy drive to the coast, but as the home of both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando, it has plenty of attractions of its own. The Orlando area has seen its population grow by 7.69% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Orlando.

7. Jacksonville, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 43

Metro Population: 1,475,386

Median Home Price: $200,000

Average Annual Salary: $46,920

Located close to the state’s border with Georgia, Jacksonville ranks No. 43 on the overall Best Places to Live list for 2020-2021. Jacksonville isn’t the fastest-growing place in Florida, but it is seeing plenty of new residents. Jacksonville grew by 6.03% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration.

Learn more about Jacksonville.

6. Charleston, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 42

Metro Population: 759,247

Median Home Price: $253,325

Average Annual Salary: $46,200

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 6.39% between 2014 and 2018 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 2020-2021.

Learn more about Charleston.

5. Washington, D.C.

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank:30

Metro Population: 6,138,382

Median Home Price: $392,308

Average Annual Salary: $70,980

Ranking No. 30 on the overall Best Places to Live list for 2020-2021, 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 $70,980, contributing to its job market ranking fifth 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 year to year.

Learn more about the Washington.

4. Melbourne, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 28

Metro Population: 576,808

Median Home Price: $207,417

Average Annual Salary: $48,940

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 fifth 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 7.89% between 2014 and 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Melbourne.

3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 26

Metro Population: 447,775

Median Home Price: $184,675

Average Annual Salary: $36,950

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 14.27% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration. Myrtle Beach’s rapid growth, combined with high desirability, are the biggest factors contributing to the metro area jumping from No. 75 on the overall Best Places to Live list in 2019 to No. 26 for 2020-2021.

Learn more about Myrtle Beach.

2. Portland, Maine

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 19

Metro Population: 529,323

Median Home Price: $292,250

Average Annual Salary: $51,260

If a less-populated metro area is for you, consider Portland. The largest metro area in Maine receives high scores for its college readiness among high school students. It also scores high for resident happiness based on the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index and for low rates of property crime and murder. Plus, Portland ranks No. 27 out of the 150 metro areas on the Best Places to Live list for desirability.

Learn more about Portland.

1. Boston

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 18

Metro Population: 4,811,732

Median Home Price: $441,358

Average Annual Salary: $67,370

If a major metro area with big-city benefits is ideal for you, Boston may be your best option. The capital of Massachusetts ranks 15th for desirability out of all the metro areas on the Best Places to Live list. Beantown may be a fit professionally as well, as it boasts the third-best job market out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Boston.

The Best Places to Live on the East Coast:

— Boston.

— Portland, Maine.

— Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

— Melbourne, Florida.

— Washington, D.C.

— Charleston, South Carolina.

— Jacksonville, Florida.

— Orlando, Florida.

— Richmond, Virginia.

— Manchester, New Hampshire.

— Hartford, Connecticut.

— Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

— Worcester, Massachusetts.

— Port St. Lucie, Florida.

— Daytona Beach, Florida.

— Savannah, Georgia.

— Salisbury, Maryland.

— Reading, Pennsylvania.

— Springfield, Massachusetts.

— Virginia Beach, Virginia.

— Providence, Rhode Island.

— York, Pennsylvania.

— Trenton, New Jersey.

— New Haven, Connecticut.

— Baltimore.

More from U.S. News

The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for the Weather in 2020

The Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Young Professionals

The Best Places to Live in Florida in 2020

The 25 Best Places to Live on the East Coast in 2020-2021 originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 11/17/20: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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