Numerous elements go into actually loving where you live. Affordability and job prospects are essential factors, but so are daily commutes, access to high-quality education and health care, crime rates, and general well-being.
We collated information on these crucial features of a top-notch area to live as part of the Best Places to Live rankings.
One in Best Places 2021-2022
In the quality of life category, the No. 1 Best Place to Live in the United States for 2021-2022 is ranked second. Boulder is tied for first place with San Jose in terms of high school students’ exam results used to assess college preparation. Boulder locals also say they enjoy living there; on the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, and the Colorado metro area ranks fifth out of 150 metro areas on the list.
While the pandemic caused significant cuts in rent costs in numerous locations around the country, most are again witnessing increases. With a substantially more significant reduction in December, Boulder is showing to be right on par with current national rental trends.
According to the most recent Rent Report on Boulder, a one-bedroom apartment costs $1,576, and a two-bedroom costs $2,007 a month. Even though rent prices began to fall in August 2020 and reached an all-time low in December 2020, rates have recently begun to rise and are going in that direction. The city’s year-over-year rent rise is slightly higher than the national and state averages of 11.3 percent. Boulder is only 30 miles northwest of Denver’s state capital, yet it has a smaller, more intimate feel as a tiny city brimming with cultural energy. The property market in Boulder is likewise steadily improving, with typical home prices at $885,579. These costs are much higher than those in nearby cities such as Denver, which has a median price index of $517,766, and Colorado Springs, which has a median price index of $392,914.
Using public transportation, you may easily navigate around Boulder without owning a vehicle. The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which manages most of Boulder’s Community Transit Network, and Via Mobility Services, which operates the HOP route, are the two leading corporations operating in the city.
Tickets for local, regional, and airport travel can be purchased via the RTD Mobile Tickets App. Passes are available in 3-hour, day, and monthly increments. A 3-hour local pass will set you back $3.00, a day pass will set you back $6.00, and a monthly pass will set you back $114. You can easily access the majority of the city and nearby regions using the RTD and Via Mobility Services. However, if you want to see everything Boulder offers, you’ll almost certainly need a car. Having a car helps you swiftly and conveniently enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, and visiting adjacent cities. Over a year, a single adult without children will spend around $4,900 on transportation in Boulder. The cost of transportation for two working people with two children is $13,317. Gas prices are currently around $2.57 per gallon, slightly higher than the national average.
Boulder has a diverse dining scene, ranging from French bistros to classic diner fare to authentic Nepalese cuisine. Lunch at a low-cost restaurant in Boulder costs an average of $17.25 per person. In a mid-range restaurant, a three-course supper for two people will set you back $75 food costs at least $3,792 per year for single persons without children. A family of four, consisting of two working adults and two children, may expect to spend $11,106 per year on food. Regarding grocery market pricing, you can expect food prices to be similar to the national average, with some goods much lower.
Costs of Healthcare
You’ll want to factor in good medical care when arranging your budget in Boulder. Over a year, a single adult without children will spend roughly $2,810 on medical care, and $8,275 will be paid by two working people with two children.
Boulder’s weather contributes to the city’s charm, with pleasant sunny months from May to August. Winters can be mild or bitterly cold, with December through February being the worst months. Summers are typically mild, with the highest temperatures occurring in July and rarely topping 89°. With temperatures as low as 22° in January, the colder months can bring snow. You’ll need to budget for higher winter utilities to assist you in getting through the colder months of the year.
Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage are included in Boulder’s essential utilities, costing $138.08 for a 915-square-foot apartment. Adding 60 Mbps or higher Internet with unlimited data to your cable/ADSL plan will cost you an extra $63.33 per month, for $201.41. Before you make your big move, have a better sense of how much utilities will cost in an apartment so you can budget accordingly.
Recreation and Fitness
If you want to stay in shape even during the chilly winter months, you should think about joining a club and the charges that come with it. In the city, the monthly charge for a health club membership for one adult is $113.12. There are numerous entertainment options available across the city. Without snacks or drinks, a movie ticket will set you back $14. Of course, you might save some money by visiting one of Boulder’s sixty public parks, such as Harlow Platts Park, Gateway Fun Park, or Foothills Community Park.
2021-2022 Best Places 4th place
Residents in Fayetteville get to spend less time commuting between work and home; the typical morning commute is only 20.9 minutes. This metro area in northwest Arkansas has excellent high school student performance, ranking 33rd out of 150 metro areas in college preparedness. Together with low crime rates and a low cost of living, these factors help explain why Fayetteville is ranked No. 4 in the overall Best Places to Live list.
For a single adult in Fayetteville, the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other needs is $31,304 per year, which is less than Arkansas’ yearly cost of living of $32,443 and less than the national number of $38,433.
One of the most significant components of the cost of living is housing. The median home value in Fayetteville is $202,700, lower than the national median home value of $204,900. The median price of a home built before 1939 is $257,400, while the typical price built after 2014 is $233,500. Renting can be a less expensive option than buying a home. In Fayetteville, 62.70 percent of occupied residences are rented, higher than the national renter rate of 36.2 percent. The average renter in Fayetteville pays $770 per month, higher than the national median of $1,023 per month.
Costs of Transportation
Transportation costs can be a considerable part of the overall cost of living. 87.60 percent of commuters in Fayetteville drive to work, compared to 85.5 percent overall. A reported 34.30 percent of workers travel to jobs outside of Fayetteville, a lower percentage than the 43.7 percent of commuters who live and work in other locations across the country. Fayetteville’s average commute time is 19.1 minutes, compared to a national average of 26.6 minutes. The EPI estimates that a single individual in Fayetteville spends $9,861 on transportation per year, similar to the national average of $9,760.
Costs of Health Care
In Fayetteville, out-of-pocket health care costs and insurance premiums — assuming at least a basic level of health insurance coverage — are slightly lower than the national average but in line with Arkansas. The average cost of health care for a single adult living in the area is $3,758 per year, compared to an Arkansas average of $3,769 and a national average of $4,266.
Costs of Child Care
Child care costs tens of thousands of dollars per year for families with children. The average yearly cost of child care in Fayetteville for two children — one four-year-old and one eight-year-old — is $12,401, almost $1,300 more than the Arkansas average of $11,139. Meanwhile, childcare costs for two children in the United States average $15,853 per year.
The Price of Food
Another daily item that substantially impacts overall living costs is food. According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, the cost of food varies from city to city and town to town. A single adult in Fayetteville spends an average of $2,985 on food each year, while four families spend $8,621. For comparison, the average yearly food expenditure for a single adult in Arkansas and the United States is $2,988 and $3,240, respectively, and $8,630 and $9,354 for a family of four. These figures are based on a nutritionally appropriate diet purchased from a grocery shop and prepared at home.
Taxes are a few expenses that differ significantly from city to city and town to town. When state and federal income taxes, Social Security contributions, and Medicare payroll taxes are factored in, the average adult working in Fayetteville, Arkansas, pays $5,140 per year, similar to the statewide average of $5,387.
2021-2022 Best Places 7th place
This Gulf Coast metro area in South Florida is ranked No. 7 in the overall Best Places to Live to rate, thanks to solid scores for well-being, crime rates, and high school students’ college preparation. Naples is ranked 26th for college preparation among high school students and 13th for well-being among the 150 metro regions. It’s also a popular retirement destination, with a median age of 50.8 years.
Home Ownership Costs
In Naples, the median property price is $399,000.
Although homes in Naples are more expensive than the national average, life in Florida is still reasonable. As a result, wealthy purchasers who can afford to buy a home anyplace find Naples to be an appealing area to reside. The majority of people own their homes, with 42.3 percent having a value of more than $2 million. However, approximately 11.5 percent of residences have a value of $500,000 to $750,000. Approximately 10% of residences have a value of less than $300,000.
Rental Rates and Prices
If you want to live in Naples but can’t afford to buy a property in this competitive market, a rental may be a viable option. The cost of renting an apartment or a home in Naples is more than the rest of Florida, but still reasonable.
Aside from the pleasant weather, there’s another reason why so many retirees flock to Florida. There is no state income tax in Florida, and property taxes are less than 1%, lower than the national average. The sole significant tax imposed by Florida is a 6% sales tax, which is still lower than the national average of 7.3 percent. As a result, taxes will not significantly impact your cost of living in Naples. At the very least, taxes should not be used to increase the cost.
With a cost index of 97.9, utility costs in Naples are slightly lower than the national average. During the winter, heating expenditures in Florida are essentially non-existent, which helps to keep overall utility prices in Naples low. In the Sunshine State, investing in an energy-efficient cooling system or depending on solar can help keep cooling costs down during the hot summers. Depending on the size of the residence, monthly energy bills in Naples average just over $100. For 60 Mbps, internet service costs $60-70.
With a cost index of 117, groceries in Naples are the most costly compared to the national average. This is common in beach communities, and Naples is no exception. Grocery stores are required to pay property taxes and a livable wage to their employees, many of whom are seasonal.
Expenses of Entertainment
Naples is a seaside town, but there is much more to do than the traditional beach activities and surf shops because there are many full-time residents. Naples is recognized for its upscale shopping and scenic golf courses, and fishing expeditions with a guide are also famous. Naples boasts an affluent population, which brings a plethora of cultures in the shape of theatrical groups, orchestras, art galleries, and museums. On the other hand, Naples isn’t exclusively for the wealthy; there is plenty of good entertainment and dining alternatives for visitors.
Costs of Transportation
Naples’ transportation costs are lower than the national average, with an 80.6 out of 100 ratings. The Collier County bus system has a fixed fare of $2 one-way for most adults.
A $1 discounted fare is available for students, the elderly, and active-duty military personnel. The cost of a day pass is $3, and the reduced rate is $1.50. If you take the bus frequently, a 15-day pass costs $20 for most individuals, and a 30-day pass costs $40. A 15-day admission costs $10 for seniors, active military, and students, while a 30-day pass costs $20.
Costs of Child Care
Because of the aging demographic and the fraction of the population that travels in and out seasonally, child care alternatives in Naples may be restricted. However, childcare in the neighborhood is reasonable, and in Naples, the average monthly cost of child care is $700-800.