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.

Carmel, a city of just under 100,000 residents, located north of Indianapolis, is the best place to live in Indiana. In addition to attractions in nearby Indianapolis, Carmel residents have access to a number of culture and entertainment options in their hometown, including museums, breweries, parks, bike trails, public art, and shopping. The city also has a thriving job market, with a five-year average unemployment rate of just 2.5%, nearly half the 4.8% comparable state jobless rate.

Carmel is also a safe place to live. There were only 32 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in the area in 2019, a fraction of the comparable 371 per 100,000 state rate and 367 per 100,000 national rate.

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