The best places to live in the US in 2021-2022

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The coronavirus pandemic pushed droves of American's – many of whom desired more space – to settle in new areas of the country. However, Boulder, Colo., was still the most desired of them all, according to a new report. 

For the second year in a row, Boulder has notched the top spot on the U.S. News & World Report's Best Places to Live rankings for 2021-2022. For its data, U.S. News & World Report ranked the nation's 150 most populous metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and desirability.  


And even though Boulder doesn't have the most affordable housing compared to other metropolitan areas, it continues to dominate the list due to "high quality of life, job market and desirability scores," according to the report. 

"Although home values in Boulder have appreciated, it is the lifestyle that continues to draw buyers to this diverse community," Michael Hughes, a broker with LIV Sotheby's International Realty's Boulder office, told FOX Business. 

Hughes said part of the attraction is the fact that "there's just so much to do," from "getting outdoors to go hiking, to biking, or rock climbing, to checking out the amazing restaurants." 

A view of Boulder, Colo.  (iStock)

Overall, "Boulder is a city that is perfect for singles, families, and anyone looking for an open-minded community," Hughes added.  

And now, those who have chosen to make the move to the area won't have to abide by coronavirus-related restrictions. Last Thursday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis lifted the pandemic state of emergency and rescinded all related executive orders, citing the state’s progress in combating the coronavirus. 


Following behind Boulder is Raleigh and Durham, N.C., at No. 2, up nine spots from last year. Meanwhile, Huntsville, Ala., is sitting at number three, up 12 spots from last year. 

Unlike last year, though, this year's list focuses specifically on how "the most populous metro areas in the U.S. fared for much of the coronavirus pandemic" while also "seeing how far they’ll need to come to recover," said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News. 

Unsurprisingly so, "many metro areas that saw unemployment levels skyrocket in 2020 fell in the rankings" while "those with greater employment stability tended to fare well," Thorsby added.   


The pandemic created a major shift in where people preferred to live. In fact, a majority, about 60%, of Americans said they either moved or were planning to move to an area that is less populated, according to a recent U.S. News survey. 

Although the pattern of people moving from larger to smaller cities has been going on for several years, the pandemic exacerbated that trend, said Peter Haslag of Vanderbilt University, who conducted the study on migrant motivations with Daniel Weagley of Georgia Tech. Their paper has not yet been published.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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