Looking to move in the next year? Whether a cross-country move is on the horizon or you prefer to stay close to home, there's lots to consider.
Though everyone's list has different must-haves, many gravitate towards places with healthy economies, an affordable cost of living, and housing they can afford. Low crime, good schools, and not terrible weather are also important. So are diversity, job opportunities, and access to healthcare. Lastly, ideally there would be plenty to do there that align with your interests.
Scoring high on all those factors is a lot to ask of a single place. But many towns and cities across America do. And you don't even have to go out and find them. MONEY magazine already did it for you.
At the end of every year, MONEY magazine ranks the best places to live in the United States. This year, they culled through the data to select the best place to live in each of the 50 states.
Unsurprisingly, big cities with astronomically high costs of living such as San Francisco and New York City did not make the list. Instead, it includes everything from under-the-radar small towns to up-and-coming suburbs.
Here's the final list.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
West Hartford, Connecticut
West Des Moines, Iowa
Overland Park, Kansas
Bowling Green, Kentucky
South Portland, Maine
Ellicott City, Maryland
St. Charles, Missouri
Nashua, New Hampshire
Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Amherst, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Grand Forks, North Dakota
West Chester Township, Ohio
Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania
Cranston, Rhode Island
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Morgantown, West Virginia
Determining the best places to live in each state
MONEY considered 70 different data points to curate the list.
They started with population, beginning with places where 50,000 people or more lived. Five states didn't have towns or cities with populations that large, so they looked at smaller towns.
To narrow down the list to desirable places to live, MONEY got rid of any place that had a crime rate that was double the national average, lacked ethnic diversity, or had incomes 83 percent less than the state's national average.
They then considered a variety of factors. The highest weighted factors were economic health, public school performance, and local amenities -- including the number of healthcare facilities and leisure activities such as dining, cultural institutions, and green spaces. Secondary factors were housing, cost of living, and diversity.
MONEY also sent reported to each place to check it out and gather anecdotal and less tangible data about the perks of living there. Check out MONEY's write-up on each place for a better idea of what each had to offer its residents.