Research: Where is your ideal place to live in the US?

March 31, 2022

Buying a home is both stressful and exciting. You’re there making Pinterest boards for your interior themes but there’s always that lingering doubt of the sale falling through. That’s just life.

If you’re looking to relocate, we’ve got you covered. This new interactive tool allows you to look at how over 100 major cities and towns in the US compare for home buyers based on a variety of environmental, financial and lifestyle factors.

When removing comparisons and looking at a list of the best performers in the country Irvine, California, ranks as the very best city for buying a home. Irvine ranks as having one of the greenest places in the study. Irvine is also 7th safest in the data.

The top three are all in Western America, a pattern which can be seen across the top 10 and 20.

That makes eastern cities goldust when it comes to home buying hotspots with just three of the top ten are in the East. It is Arlington, Jersey City and Miami which rank in 4th, 5th and 7th respectively.

Jersey City has the best cost of living data in the study and ranks at the top for one of the lifestyle factors – restaurants per 100,000 people (almost 3,000 options). The New Jersey city features in the top 10% of the safest places too.

Miami also features at the top with good data for lifestyle factors. The city has the second highest density of schools in the country and the 6th highest dining options with 930 per 100,000. Miami also has the second highest percentage of population within a 10 minute walk of a park, trailing to just Seattle.

Seattle also features as the best city for air quality with the cleanest air in the study. Looking across the other categories for top performers, we can see that another Florida based city rivals Miami for the crown of density of schools. It is Orlando this time which ranks at the top with 76 per 100,000 people.

Ranking at the bottom of the homebuyer study is Detroit, Michigan, with Lions fans used to disappointment. Wichita, St Paul and neighbors Tulsa and Oklahoma City make up the bottom five.

No matter the city, state or country. We know that everyone loves to put their own stamp on their house to make it their home. Have a look here at our previous study to see where in the US is most conscious about their home.


  • Park Access - this is based on the percentage of residents who live within a 10 minute walk of a park, according to TPL data.
  • Land Coverage of Parks - this data was also collected from TPL and refers to the amount of land in each city which is dedicated to natural space.
  • Crime Rate - this data point refers to the number of crimes in a city - this includes but is not limited to robbery, motor vehicle theft and assault. This is a bespoke index from data released on NeighborhoodScout.
  • Air Quality - this refers to the number of PM2.5 particles in each city's air.
  • Average Net Salary - here we took the average salary of each city, according to official government data.
  • Basic utility cost - using data we used this datapoint to rank each city based on the likely cost of gas, electric and water bills for the average household.
  • Schools per capita - using NCES data the study reveals which states offer families the best access to schools, these numbers were regulated per 100,000 residents.
  • Restaurants per capita - using TripAdvisor data Excel Pest Services have revealed which cities offer the best nightlife for eating out, these numbers were regulated per 100,000 residents.