Raleigh, N.C.

Population: 377,487
Mayor: Charles Meeker

Why it’s ranked: Taking more than a dozen data points into account, Raleigh ranks as the best place to live in the U.S. The city sports a high number of bars, restaurants, and cultural institutions as well as a thriving social scene, great parks, and good schools. Raleigh reflects the cultural graces that go along with anchoring the so-called research triangle, home to North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Of course, it’s also much more. The city offers a great deal on nights and weekends, from concerts and opera to the 30,000-sq.-ft. State Farmer’s Market. North Carolina’s state capital is tops in our book.

How it ranked:
Percent with bachelor's degrees: 47.5
Percent under poverty level: 13.9
Median household income: $53,370
Violent crime rate: 492.9
Property crime rate: 3,403.2
School score: 74.4
Pro sports teams: 1
Foreclosure rate: .0056
Percent Unemployment: 6.9
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 30.8
Bars: 110
Restaurants: 867
Museums: 51
Colleges: 10
Libraries: 18
Air Quality Index: 83
 
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