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New study ranks best places to live in America

Ann Arbor, Michigan was ranked as the top place to live, thanks in part to its diverse job market and low crime rates.

Story at a glance

  • Ann Arbor, Mich., tops the list, followed by Raleigh, N.C.

  •  Huntsville, Ala., Fayetteville, Ark., and Colorado Springs, Colo., also made the top five list.

  • Several of the top cities are home to higher education institutions, while favorable climates and thriving job markets also helped boost rankings. 

Ann Arbor, Mich., was ranked the best place to live in the United States, according to a new review of cities most frequently cited on national lists. 

The city, located to the southwest of Detroit, is home to around 121,000 residents and the public University of Michigan. The region’s low crime rates, diverse job market and growing technology industry helped push Ann Arbor to the top of the list. 

The Michigan city was followed by Raleigh, N.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; Fayetteville, Ark.; and Colorado Springs, Colo., respectively.

Researchers based the list on 10 different rankings compiled by Business Insider, Travel + Leisure, Bankrate, and other sources. 

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An expanding technology sector also helped push Raleigh, N.C., to the second slot. The state’s capital is part of the region’s Research Triangle. Combined, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are home to three top research universities: North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively. 

The region has attracted big industry names. In 2021, Apple announced a $1 billion investment to build a campus and engineering hub in the Triangle, a move that’s expected to bring around 3,000 jobs to the area. 

Ranked third overall, Huntsville, Ala., is the fastest-growing city in that state thanks in part to its popularity with tech companies and craft breweries, according to the report. The city is also attractive to artists, as it is home to the largest privately owned arts facility in the South. 

Located near the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville, Ark., is popular among nature lovers and caters to these outdoors enthusiasts with its variety of state parks, walking trails and community green spaces. The Arkansas city is also home to the public University of Arkansas. 

Ranking fifth on the list is Colorado Springs, Colo. Similar to Fayetteville, the city is popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Its high ranking is due in part to the region’s quality schools, parks and cultural attractions. The city is also located close to Denver and popular ski resorts Vail and Aspen, but it offers more affordable housing and less traffic than these hubs, the report found.

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