From time to time, we all dream of a new beginning. Whether it’s a lost job, the end of a relationship, a new year, or a new season in life, we all yearn for the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh in a place where new jobs and new friends begin. But if you do decide to move, where are you going? We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best cities to relocate to start a new life, based on the cost of living, job market, housing costs, and quality of life. From mid-sized to metropolitan, these cities offer you a variety of options, all with slightly different opportunities and lifestyles. In no particular order, here are our top 10.
If you’re looking for a fresh start, you’ll find like-minded people in Pittsburgh. Once the center of the steel industry, it is now the center of robotics, autonomous vehicles, information technology, life science technology (medical devices and healthcare services), advanced manufacturing, and other technologies. While the unemployment rate currently stands at 6.6, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, anyone in tech should have no problem finding a job.
The cost of living in Pittsburgh makes it even more attractive. With a score of 93 – 7 percent below the national average – according to Area Vibes, it’s very affordable, especially if you’re looking to buy your own home. Not only is it a buyer’s market in Pittsburgh, but homes are selling for a very reasonable $162 per square foot.
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Spread over approximately 9,200 square miles, Dallas-Fort Worth offers limitless opportunities for those looking to start a new career. The region is home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, including Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Southwest Airlines, and Texas Instruments. In addition, several major companies such as 7-Eleven, Frito-Lay, Topgolf, Pizza Hut, Six Flags, and Match.com are headquartered in the area.
According to Area Vibes, the cost of living is 98% of the national average, making the area very affordable compared to other major metropolitan areas. While finding a job should be relatively easy, it requires quick action when it comes to finding housing. Prices continue to rise, and Dallas-Fort Worth remains a seller’s market.
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and is perfect for active singles. You can take advantage of the city’s 22 miles of beaches and the nation’s largest urban park system. Or, you can indulge in the city’s vibrant arts scene, with public murals, art districts, and maker spaces. Jacksonville also offers more than 20 craft breweries, Southern-inspired fare, and fish camps (sheds that grill the day’s catch).
Depending on where you move from, your income in Jacksonville also keeps increasing. The city has a cost of living index of 91, 9 percent below the national average, according to Area Vibes. Apartments are pretty cheap at $160 per square foot. Job opportunities in auto parts manufacturing, aviation, and import, and export businesses are plentiful, so the unemployment rate is 4.5, well below the national average.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Part of a metropolitan area of more than 1.4 million people, Oklahoma City has an extremely low cost of living at just 88% of the national average. You can buy a house for $130 per square foot, and groceries are nearly 10% cheaper than your average elsewhere in the country. If you need a job, don’t worry. The unemployment rate is just 2.9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Find jobs in aerospace, life sciences, energy, insurance, telecommunications, and payroll.
On weekends, explore the new 100-acre Shearingtail Park, see a thriving arts scene, and ride Riversport. Do you want to meet someone new and special? Oklahoma City also has a surprisingly vibrant nightlife.
What’s not to love about Cleveland? It has one of the cheapest housing markets in the country, with homes selling for an average of just $69 per square foot. The cost of living in Cleveland is also significantly lower, at 84% of the national average, according to Area Vibes. Needless to say, Cleveland is one of the best places to recover from financial setbacks.
If you need a new job, the city offers robust healthcare, advanced materials and manufacturing, food processing, information technology, and financial services. After getting off work, catch a concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or play with the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians (2022 Guardians).
If starting over means fresh air, Denver might be the place for you. Based in part on personal health, the city ranks eighth in the nation’s healthiest cities. More than 200 parks in the city and 14,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains provide ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and recreation. After your workout, head to downtown Denver. Within a 1-mile radius, you’ll find three professional stadiums, the nation’s second-largest performing arts center, world-class art and history museums, and more.
Unfortunately, quality of life comes at a price. The cost of living in Denver is 16% higher than the national average, and you pay much more for a house. The median price per square foot was $342. While the unemployment rate is higher than the national average, the city has high-paying jobs in aerospace, defense, biotechnology, healthcare, finance, mining, and energy.
Nashville is one of the best cities for music lovers to start over and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, thanks to its affordability and low unemployment. According to AreaVibes, Nashville has an overall cost of living score of 96, which is 4% lower than the national average. Apartments are still cheap, especially now that the market has turned in favor of buyers.
The city’s low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent bodes well for job seekers. Employers such as Nissan North America, Bridgestone Americas, Dollar General, HCA Healthcare, iHeartMedia, Mitsubishi Motors, ICEE Company, and Amazon are all headquartered in Nashville. You can also find jobs in industries such as healthcare, travel and hospitality, music and entertainment, technology, and manufacturing.
Boise is another great option for those who want a more active lifestyle. With over 180 miles of public trails for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running, the city is the third most populous metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest (after Seattle and Portland), and you’ll be close to world-class Fishing spots, white water rafting, and wineries.
Need another reason to love Boise? Its unemployment rate is as low as 3% and the cost of living is in line with the national average. Technicians can find jobs at companies like Microsoft and Mark Monitor, but Boise also has strong advanced manufacturing, food production, energy, and outdoor recreation industries. If there’s a downside, it’s housing. Prices are expected to average $295 per square foot, with rents averaging $1,679 per month, according to Realtor.com.
If you’re looking to grow with a new city, consider Billings to start over. Billings is Montana’s largest city and still has a small-town feel. It’s close to the Yellowstone River and some of the best fishing and hunting in the country. Its unemployment rate of 3.2 percent is well below the national average, and its home prices are relatively affordable at $143 per square foot. The cost of living is also slightly below the national average at 99 percent, according to Area Vibes.
Billings is great for those who can work remotely. However, if you need a traditional job, you’re likely to find it in energy, food production, and tourism.
Ready to start over?
For more information on the above-mentioned best cities to move to start a new life, check out Moving.com’s city profile report feature. Just enter a zipcode or state and city where you may be relocating to get a free report. The report will include city demographics, real estate information, quality of life factors, and more. For help finding the best moving company, visit Moving.com’s extensive network of reputable and reliable moving companies.