About one in every five American workers whose job could be performed remotely worked from home before the COVID-19 pandemic. That share jumped to nearly three in four following the abrupt closure of offices nationwide, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2020. For millions of Americans, the shift to remote work is now permanent, and the new dynamic means they are no longer tied to a specific city for their job and can choose a place to live based on other factors, including quality of life -- which varies considerably in the United States.

Affordability, access to public spaces and services, the presence of entertainment and cultural amenities, crime rates, and socioeconomic conditions are just a few of the factors that can influence quality of life in a given city or town.

24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 25 measures in four main categories - economy, affordability, quality of life, and community - using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, and other sources to identify the best city to live in each state. We considered all boroughs, census designated places, cities, towns, and villages with at least 8,000 residents.

Durango, a small city of less than 20,000 residents near the southwestern corner of Colorado, ranks as the best place to live in the state. Just outside of the San Juan national forest, Durango residents have easy access to any number of outdoor activities, including skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and camping. The city is also host to a higher than average concentration of restaurants, bars, hotels, movie theaters, fitness centers, museums, and golf courses.

The city is also more pedestrian-friendly than most -- nearly 20% of commuters in Durango either walk or bike to work. Perhaps not surprisingly, Durango has one of the most physically active populations in the country. Only 13.5% of area adults do not get some form of exercise on a regular basis, well below the 22.7% share of adults nationwide.

Our index is composed of data across four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life, and community. Data is all for the most recent year available and came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, The Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other sources. This is the best city to live in every state.

 

PlacePopulationMedian home value ($)Median household income ($)5-yr. avg. unemployment (%)
Alabama: Hoover85,175291,00089,4523.3
Alaska: Juneau32,227345,90088,3904.6
Arizona: Paradise Valley14,3621,516,200211,3932.1
Arkansas: Lowell9,175157,60068,4381.0
California: Burlingame30,5761,901,900128,4474.7
Colorado: Durango18,588463,70066,1604.8
Connecticut: Darien21,7421,471,700232,5234.9
Delaware: Smyrna11,484206,40067,2775.4
Florida: Key Biscayne12,9151,211,000151,3105.3
Georgia: Sandy Springs107,072471,80078,6133.0
Hawaii: Urban Honolulu348,985683,00071,4653.7
Idaho: Meridian101,905274,90071,3893.7
Illinois: Winnetka12,4281,091,700250,000+2.4
Indiana: Carmel97,464333,200112,7652.5
Iowa: North Liberty18,829220,80083,9491.1
Kansas: Leawood34,670463,200157,5152.7
Kentucky: Fort Mitchell8,257272,20067,7450.5
Louisiana: Harahan9,304240,30066,7413.6
Maine: Portland66,595289,00060,4672.8
Maryland: Takoma Park17,672583,80084,5915.6
Massachusetts: Brookline59,180933,200117,3262.8
Michigan: Royal Oak59,195224,60081,6653.2
Minnesota: Edina51,746476,300104,2443.1
Mississippi: Byram11,578141,70066,6412.2
Missouri: Ladue8,601831,800214,8751.3
Montana: Belgrade8,685243,20059,1462.9
Nebraska: Papillion20,423189,90080,6192.5
Nevada: Reno246,500335,00058,7905.4
New Hampshire: Portsmouth21,775425,60083,9232.1
New Jersey: Hoboken53,193720,700147,6203.0
New Mexico: Corrales8,588447,60085,5802.8
New York: Rye15,8201,392,100192,6884.1
North Carolina: Davidson12,735448,300124,8532.8
North Dakota: West Fargo35,397241,00085,1201.5
Ohio: Bay Village15,325247,900103,5821.3
Oklahoma: Bixby`223,90083,1192.9
Oregon: Sherwood19,625405,900103,5121.8
Pennsylvania: Wyomissing10,473245,60081,1784.3
Rhode Island: Newport24,663448,80067,1025.2
South Carolina: Mount Pleasant86,982461,000103,2322.1
South Dakota: Brandon9,934225,20087,2501.6
Tennessee: Brentwood42,407655,400168,6882.6
Texas: Highland Park9,1681,508,900211,1361.4
Utah: South Jordan71,198405,400104,5971.6
Vermont: South Burlington19,162307,50073,0653.7
Virginia: Vienna16,489743,500161,1962.4
Washington: Mercer Island25,6751,218,200147,5664.0
West Virginia: Weirton18,67094,80049,4966.6
Wisconsin: Middleton19,487336,90076,0112.5
Wyoming: Cheyenne63,607214,30064,5985.4