The Best Place to Live in the USA? The Green Mountain State Tops this Year’s List

SnowBrains |
Autumn in Vermont.

A new report ranks Vermont as the best place to live in America. The CNBC report used factors like affordable housing, education quality, cost of living, healthcare quality, job opportunities and environment to come up with the state rankings.

Everyone dreams of living and planting roots in a place that has it all: affordable housing, great schools, a low cost of living, quality health care, job opportunities and a clean environment. All these factors add up to ensure a top-rated quality of life. Companies seeking to attract the best possible workforce are increasingly realizing how key this is for their future growth plans.

Skiers at Jay Peak, Vermont.

Using hard data to measure the quality of life, crime rates, tourist visits, health care and inclusiveness, as measured by legal protections written into state laws, they calculated a score to rank each state. By the numbers, some states do much better than others, but these 10 states are scientifically the best places to live in America.


10. Massachusetts
9. Colorado
7. (tie) Montana & Iowa
5. (tie) Washington & New Hampshire
4. North Dakota
3. Minnesota
2. Hawaii
1. Vermont

According to the report, the Green Mountain State has America’s second-lowest violent-crime rate, a healthy population, a pristine environment and strong anti-discrimination laws to make sure all can enjoy the place. Nearly 77 percent of those surveyed said they feel “active and productive”, the highest rate in the nation.

CNBC scored the quality of life in Vermont at 268 out of 300 possible points and ranked second in last year’s report. Unfortunately, the report only shows the top end of the ranking. Of course, what we all want to know is who’s rock bottom…

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10 thoughts on “The Best Place to Live in the USA? The Green Mountain State Tops this Year’s List

  1. We loved our home and community in VT but it was our vacation home. We received a letter from the governor stating that we were wealthy and they were the poorest of states and therefore we would be building all the new schools in the entire state by raising our taxes to accomplish that.. The year was 2002.. We had already built one school in the town of Hartford… We had no voting rights!! Our taxes rose from $9500 – $17500 in one year!! Good bye VT, hello Florida!!

    1. We feel your pain. Vermont is unaffordable if you’re on a fixed income. Moved to Mississippi last year… No state income tax on social security and retirement income, low food, fuel and electric rates and property taxes on our 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick house on a one acre lot in the country is in low $300.00’s. Biggest problem is our noisy neighbors.. they go Moooo a lot in the afternoon 🙂

  2. I am in my 70s and love Vermont. Yes, it is an expensive place to live. And, yes, school taxes are big but the cost of ignorance is much higher. We do get a property tax rebate being oldies and we have taken steps to enhance our income in retirement (an apartment and a room we rent on Airbnb.) That said, we love Vermont, rent the house in the winter and travel a bit, and enjoy all the many beauties of a clean environment, close communities, and an educated populace. We couldn’t live in a more beautiful place.

  3. I have read Vermont has the highest School Tax in the U.S. Crime I know I have never seen it in the top low crime. I can afford to live in S.W. Virginia on my low income. I am back in Vermont and that is not going to happen here. Between taxes , second gloomiest state in U.S , it is not very affordable at all. Google Sperlings web site and put in a Vermont zip code and check it to another state. Food is much higher than the south. Also while it is gloomy, your electricity bill is adding up for some needed light.

    1. Vermont is a good state to live but it is expensive and crime is higher then it should be, but the beauty of the state it self is worth a picture. I enjoy living in Vermont I just wishs it was expensive, that new businesses would come in and taxes would go down. Each state has its share of problems and no state is perfect. The people in Vermont are very friendly, helpful and care about their neighbors.

    2. Why are you back in Vermont? Everywhere complains that their taxes are too high. Where you live specifically determines your cost of housing. Food costs are comparable to most places and better in rural areas for local produce. Winters are rough, it costs more to heat but less to air condition than most places. It is safer and has superior performing schools than most states. Rural areas of the state have similar problems to most rural areas in other states but Vermont has far fewer urban problems. BTW we have almost NO major natural disasters, rarely hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, major floods, drought, giant mudslides, or widespread forest and brush fires. And never tsunamis. Yes we have blizzards , but we handle it routinely.

      1. Find me one place in the country that doesn’t complain that their taxes are too high.

        Everyone wants great roads and public services without having to pay for them.

    3. It is only affordable to live here in VT if you retire here from somewhere else. People struggle here in the NEK. Low paying jobs expensive groceries gas heating fuel.. Property taxes are up. It takes $$ to live here and lots of it. Your vehicle has to be in perfect shape but your roads do not creating excessive amounts of wear and tear.. Milking the people out of every dollar they can. Try starting a business and see how many absticles there are. Young people are leaving. They can’t afford to live here with school loans. It’s a struggle. Sad. I am contemplating a move to a more affordable state. My family roots are here. They go back to before VT was a state. I love it here and will miss it, I just can’t afford it.

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