The Best Places to Live Methodology

The Best Places to Live ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall livability of an area. This grade takes into account several key factors of a location, including the quality of local schools, crime rates, housing trends, employment statistics, and access to amenities in an attempt to measure the overall quality of an area. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Cost of Living Grade Based on the consumer price index and access to affordable housing. Multiple Sources 12.5%
Higher Education Rate Percentage of residents who have received a bachelor’s degree or higher. U.S. Census 12.5%
Housing Grade Based on home values, property taxes, housing costs, local schools, and more. Multiple Sources 10.0%
Public Schools Grade Based on the average Niche K-12 Overall Grade for every public school serving the area, where each school is weighted by the number of students it serves. Multiple Sources 10.0%
Diversity Grade Based on ethnic, generational and economic diversity. Multiple Sources 7.5%
Composite Overall Score Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the overall experience of the place. Self-reported by Niche users 5.0%
Crime & Safety Grade Based on violent and property crime rates. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Family Grade Based on school quality, safety, and family-friendly living. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Health & Fitness Grade Based on community health statistics and access to healthcare. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Jobs Grade Based on employment rates, job and economic growth, and cost of living. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Nightlife Grade Based on access to bars, restaurants, theaters, and other attractions. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Outdoor Activities Grade Based on weather, air quality, and access to parks and other recreational opportunities. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Walkability Grade Based on the proportion of residents that walk or bike, as well as the proximity of amenities and the density of development. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Weather Grade Based on the number of sunny days, precipitation, and average temperatures in an area. Multiple Sources 5.0%
Shortest Commute Grade Based on typical commute times and methods. Multiple Sources 2.5%

The same methodology is used to produce the Overall Niche Grade for each ranked place. Statistics are primarily obtained from the U.S. Census and represent the most recent data available.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.