Best Places to Live 2020 - Top 10 Best Cities

With all the uncertainty surrounding 2020, one thing is for sure – people are spending more time in their homes than they used to. If you’re looking to relocate to a larger home that might accommodate a home office or a larger lot with more outdoor space for the kids, it helps to know which cities have the most to offer.

AreaVibes has released the top 10 best places to live in America for 2020. Using the Livability Score that factors in 7 different categories (amenities, cost of living, crime, employment, housing, schools and user ratings) with hundreds of different data points, AreaVibes has combed through over 100 cities to find the 10 most livable cities. The top 10 list consists of cities with a population of 200,000 or more. The list saw a few changes over last year's edition, including the addition of two new cities.

How We Ranked The Cities

  • Amenities: Higher scores for more nearby amenities like: grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, schools, parks, libraries, etc.
  • Cost of Living: Higher scores for lower cost of goods and services, groceries, health care, housing, transportation and utilities.
  • Crime: Higher scores for low violent crime and property crime. Violent crimes are more heavily weighted.
  • Employment: Higher scores for high median household income and low unemployment rates.
  • Housing: Higher scores for low housing price to median household ratio and high appreciation rates.
  • Schools: Higher scores for high test scores and low student to teacher ratio.
  • User Ratings: Higher scores for high user reviews and surveys.

Here is the list of the top 10

  1. Plano, TX
  2. Henderson, NV
  3. Irving, TX
  4. Gilbert, AZ
  5. Chandler, AZ
  6. Arlington, VA
  7. Arlington, TX
  8. Boise, ID
  9. Irvine, CA
  10. Fort Worth, TX
1. Plano, TXScore: 91/100
Plano, TX Photo

There's nothing plain about Plano. It's home to the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, and the city has an impressive livability score of 91. Maintaining its top spot again this year, Plano has excellent ratings for housing and education. In comparison with the state's average, crime is 35% lower. Residents enjoy a wide array of restaurants, entertainment and outdoor parks. With FedEx, Toyota and a few other notable employers in the area, the job prospects are good. Another bonus is that there are plenty of tech jobs. It's also rated a great city to start a business. With Dallas just 20 miles away, commuting is another option.

2. Henderson, NVScore: 86/100
Henderson, NV Photo

With a livability score of 86 for 2020, Henderson has good ratings for housing and schools, moving up from seventh place in 2019. Crime is 32% lower than the state's average, and residents give the city excellent reviews for amenities. The Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is nearby, giving outdoor enthusiasts a tranquil place to enjoy. There's also golf and plenty of other activities in Henderson. Since it's only about 20 miles from Las Vegas, it's easy to commute or get away to Sin City for a weekend. While some residents commute, M Resort Spa and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals are two major local employers that hire Henderson residents.

3. Irving, TXScore: 85/100
Irving, TX Photo

Like many things that are bigger in Texas, the list of benefits of living here is long. Although it's down from second place last year, Irving has a livability score of 85. It's a little under 15 miles from Dallas. The crime rate is 4% lower than the state's average, and the public transit system covers the city well with frequent routes. Nokia provides plenty of local jobs. There are also many retail, dining and hospitality venues, making Irving a great place to find a wide variety of amenities and jobs. There are plenty of activities for all ages, including gondola rides in the Mandalay Canal, bicycling, swimming and much more. The city is also home to the "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" oddities museum.

4. Gilbert, AZScore: 85/100
Gilbert, AZ Photo

Gilbert has a livability score of 85 for decent schools and good housing options. It moved down one spot from third place in 2019. In comparison with Arizona's state average, crime is 55% lower. With lakes, indoor and outdoor sporting venues, a skate park and plenty of other activities, it's easy to see why residents rate Gilbert highly for amenities. San Tan Mountain Regional Park gives outdoor enthusiasts plenty of desert trails to explore. Since Gilbert is less than 30 miles from Phoenix, there are plenty of job opportunities nearby. Banner Health and Dignity Health are both in the city and provide plenty of jobs as well.

5. Chandler, AZScore: 83/100
Chandler, AZ Photo

Moving down from fourth last year, Chandler has a livability score of 83 for good schools, housing and amenities. Residents enjoy parks, hiking, biking and more. The crime rate is 21% lower than the state's average. It's easy to get around since the traffic is never too heavy, and it's a bike-friendly city. STC and Isagenix provide some residents with benefit-packed career opportunities. However, Chandler is about 22 miles from Phoenix, making it an easy commute as well. Because the mild winters are pleasant, be forewarned that friends and in-laws may want to visit and stay longer.

6. Arlington, VAScore: 83/100
Arlington, VA Photo

Up from eighth place last year, this city earns a livability score of 83 for excellent schools, plenty of amenities and more. It's home to the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. The crime rate is 46% lower than the state's average. Although the cost of living is higher, the many top-paying jobs in the city make the average income higher as well. With the planned Amazon HQ2 coming to Arlington soon, future career growth projections are optimistic. Public transit includes a rail line to Washington, D.C., making it easy for commuters to keep their jobs while enjoying a more tranquil place to live.

7. Arlington, TXScore: 82/100
Arlington, TX Photo

Arlington is so nice, it made the list twice, and this one has a much lower cost of living. The livability score for this new-to-the-list city is 82 because of the affordable cost of living, excellent housing, great schools and plenty of amenities. There are parks, museums and even occasional free concerts. It's also home to Theatre Arlington, one of the country's largest community theaters. Since it's an easy commute to Dallas and Fort Worth, there are job opportunities beyond the local market. Additionally, public transit is affordable and includes frequent routes that cover the metro area well.

8. Boise, IDScore: 81/100
Boise, ID Photo

Also new to the list this year, Boise earned a livability score of 81 because of its decent schools, plentiful amenities and good housing options. In comparison with cities of similar size, it has a lower crime rate. Dining, shopping and entertainment choices are plentiful. There are plenty of parks and trails, including the Boise River Greenbelt area. Since the city is known for its abundant tree population, the views are un-be-leaf-ably beautiful in the fall. Fred Meyer, Blue Cross and other major employers add plenty of good-paying jobs to the local employment market.

9. Irvine, CAScore: 81/100
Irvine, CA Photo

Down from sixth place in 2019, Irvine's livability score is 81. It's about 40 miles from the downtown area of Los Angeles. Crime is an impressive 51% lower than California's average, making it especially attractive to families. It earns excellent ratings for having good schools, plenty of amenities and reasonable employment opportunities. In comparison with other low-crime cities that are close to the beach, it's more affordable to live in Irvine. Also, it's easier to get to the beach quicker. Residents enjoy spending time at the film-worthy Balboa Pier or taking a drive through Crystal Cove State Park. Another bonus for foodies is Irvine's wide range of restaurants, and some feature world-class chefs.

10. Fort Worth, TXScore: 81/100
Fort Worth, TX Photo

Down from ninth place last year, Fort Worth has a 2020 livability score of 81 for its excellent housing options, good schools and affordable living costs. Pier 1 Imports and American Airlines are two of the top local employers. Most people rate the city highly for being a great place to raise a family and to find friendly neighbors. New residents from out of state can expect to find that well-known Texas charm and may even learn how to say "y'all" like a pro. As a fun-filled city, Fort Worth has many parks, hiking, zip-lining, museums, an 1800s village and much more. Residents give it an A+ for amenities.

You can refer to the Best Places to Live list for real-time, up-to-date and interactive top 100 best places to live. The results are sortable, and it allows you to filter by the population as well as your preferred state.

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