Asheville in top 20 in US News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in US: What to know

Asheville in top 20 in US News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in US: What to know


Asheville is ranked in the top 20 on a list of Best Places to Live in the U.S. for 2024-2025.

The list, published May 21 by U.S. News & World Report, named a total of 25 cities. The cities included four from N.C., two of which are in the top 10. U.S. News analyzed data on 150 major cities to determine its choices, studying factors including housing affordability, household income, quality of education, access to health care, crime rates, commute times, air quality and more.

Data was also weighted based on factors that people find most important, determined by a survey of over 3,000 residents of the US. Here’s what the U.S. News list said about Asheville and its other N.C. picks.

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What is so special about Asheville?

U.S. News ranks Asheville at 17 on the list, calling the city a “cultural mecca of independent breweries, art studios and five-star restaurants.” Also mentioned were the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, joining to provide residents of the area “the perks of civilization amid remote natural beauty.”

The report ranked Asheville 10th among the 150 cities in the study for quality of life.

But this praise wasn’t the only thing that landed the city on this list. Asheville reportedly has some of the shortest commute times of any city in the country at an average of 22 minutes, and ranks eighth in air quality countrywide.

The list of rankings also included several other factors, including population size of 113,353, median home price of $400,587 and median household income of $69,429.

More Asheville statistics from U.S. News included:

  • Median monthly rent – $1,243
  • Median age – 42 years old
  • Unemployment rate – 4.22%
  • Average high temps – 68°
  • Average low temps – 45°
  • Average daily rainfall – 0.13 inches

In a separate piece on living in Asheville, U.S. News reported in more depth on the cost of living in the area; The report mentioned that high prices on food, gas and other day-to-day expenses made Asheville an expensive place to live in N.C., though its value is comparable to other metro areas of similar size in the county.

The report also mentioned that median income is below the national average, with rising tax rates. U.S. News reported that in 2021, Buncombe County property taxes went up a median range of 4% to 26% depending on the area of the city, with historically Black neighborhoods seeing some of the steepest inclines.

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Best places to live in NC 2024-2025, according to US News & World Report

As mentioned earlier, three other N.C. locations made it onto the list: Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro.

Charlotte, which was ranked fifth on the list, was praised by U.S. News for its high rankings in several of its categories including job market, desirability, quality of life and value. Charlotte’s population according to U.S. News is 862,609, median home price is $359,446 and median household income is $88,791.

Raleigh, which placed sixth on the list, received praise for its spot in N.C.’s research triangle, allowing for access to three of the most esteemed public and private universities and better-than-average health care. The city has a population of 469,960, median home price of $382,677 and median household income of $87,708.

Greensboro, at 23 on the list, earned attention for a balance of affordability, economic growth and historical significance. The city’s rich history of civil rights efforts, honored by the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, was mentioned in particular. The highly rated public school system that helped Greensboro rank seventh in the nation for college readiness was another mention on the list. Greensboro has a population of 317,834, a median home price of $213,643 and median household income of $65,849.

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US News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in the US 2024-2025

Here’s the entire list from US News:

  1. Naples, Florida
  2. Boise, Idaho
  3. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  4. Greenville, South Carolina
  5. Charlotte, North Carolina
  6. Raleigh, North Carolina
  7. Huntsville, Alabama
  8. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. Boulder, Colorado
  11. Sarasota, Florida
  12. Green Bay, Wisconson
  13. Charleston, South Carolina
  14. Madison, Wisconson
  15. Lexington, Kentucky
  16. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  17. Asheville, North Carolina
  18. Omaha, Nebraska
  19. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  20. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  21. Fayetteville, Arkansas
  22. San Francisco, California
  23. Greensboro, North Carolina
  24. Lincoln, Nebraska
  25. South Bend, Indiana

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Iris Seaton is the trending news reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach her at

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