13 Best Cities to Live in USA 2022: Top Ranking


  • The best cities to live in the US are ranked by university, cost of rent, cost of food, unemployment rate, and average annual income.
  • Boston, New York, Chicago, San Diego, and Los Angeles are ranked #1-#5.
  • San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, and Washington are ranked #6-#10, respectively.

The United States of America is on the wish list of every prospective Indian student. In addition to outstanding academic quality and cultural diversity, the country has a supportive international student program, career opportunities and a high quality of life. This makes the country an attractive option, especially for students. The US hosts some of the best cities in the world, such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Nashville, and Houston. However, in a country as large as the US, it can be difficult to choose the city where you live and study. For a decision as important as this, it’s important to look at your options 360 degrees. In this article, we’ve ranked the best cities to live in in the US; based on top universities, average cost of rent, travel, and food in those cities. This ranking can help you make the right decision and the perfect city for you.

Understanding Rank Metrics

You should have a complete view of the resources at your disposal before choosing a destination where you will study abroad. That’s why we’ve made our list comprehensive and covering everything relevant to living abroad.

Base your choice on the factors that matter most to you, and remember that the best place to live in the US can be different for each student.

Educational institutions

Proximity to excellent educational institutions should be every student’s top priority when choosing a city. We have ranked the best colleges in the city based on their QS World University Rankings for 2022.

Cost of living

When you are a student, the affordability of the city where you live should be considered. We’ve taken into account basic living costs such as rent for real estate and food for the ranked cities so you can choose the one that fits your budget.

While states like California, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, etc., may have a higher cost of living, states like Colorado, Oregon, North Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, Missouri, etc., have a lower cost of living.

Travel costs may vary by mode of transport, and we recommend sticking to public transport for the most cost-effective and conscious journey. You can choose accommodation in the metro area and consider factors such as walkability to achieve a low cost of living.

Job opportunities

The job market scenarios, job levels and career opportunities available in any city are good to know. This allows the option of choosing part-time work, if necessary, and knowing your possible career options after education.

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We’ve listed each city’s unemployment rate based on a 2022 analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Also Read: How to Work and Get a Job in the USA: Tips and Tricks on How to Find a Job in the USA – Leap Scholar

List of Best Cities to Live in the US

  1. Boston, Massachusetts
  2. New York City, New York
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. San Diego, California
  5. Los Angeles, California
  6. San Francisco, California
  7. Atlanta, Georgia
  8. Baltimore, Maryland
  9. Miami, Florida
  10. Washington DC
  11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  12. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  13. Pasadena, California

Boston, Massachusetts

‘Athens of America’ and ‘Student Capital’, Boston is renowned for its academic brilliance. This east coast city is rich in art and culture, especially classical music, as well as being a major technological hub. Apart from upscale activities, Boston is also a top place for a vibrant nightlife and love of sports. This mix of education and lifestyle brings Boston to the top of our list of the best cities to live in in the US.

Top Universities in Boston

QS World Ranking – Institution

#1 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

#5- Harvard University

#112 – Boston University

Cost of Living in Boston

Average Rent: $1,640//month

Food/Grocery: $435/month

Working in Boston

Unemployment Rate: 4.4 (P)

Average Annual Income: $79,018

New York City

Sprinkled with America’s most iconic places like the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, New York City is next on our list. From impeccable cuisine to sophisticated locations, New York also has the best suburbs. The city is at the forefront of every field that students want, with world-class education, arts and entertainment, and plenty of internship and job opportunities. New York City is a diverse city that every international student should consider.

Best Universities in New York City

QS World Ranking – Institution

#19 – Columbia University

#21 – Cornell University

#42 – New York University (NYU)

Also Read: Best State Universities in USA 2022: List of Best State Universities in USA – Leap Scholar

Cost of Living in New York City

Average Rent: $2,128/month

Food/Grocery: $471/month

Working in New York City

Unemployment Rate: 5.5 (P)

Average Annual Income: $67,046

Chicago, Illinois

The economic center of the US, Chicago is the best place for students considering a finance or economics-related course. The city has several well-known universities that students can attend. Chicago is also the center of technology companies in the US. A metropolis like Chicago makes for the best city for students who enjoy the fast-paced city life.

Top Universities in Chicago

QS World Ranking – Institution

#10 – University of Chicago

#285 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Cost of Living in Chicago

Average Rent: $1424/month

Food/Grocery: $299/month

Working in Chicago

Unemployment Rate: 5.1 (P)

Average Annual Income: $62,097

San Diego, California

The city with one of the lowest crime rates in the US, San Diego, is the choice of many international students. The city’s beautiful beaches, pleasant weather year-round, and relatively affordable housing put it on our list of the best cities to live in in the US. San Diego is also home to many public and private colleges that students can choose from.

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Best Universities in San Diego

QS World Ranking – Institution

#48 – University of California, San Diego

Cost of Living in San Diego

Average Rent: $1,680/month

Food/Grocery: $291/month

Working in San Diego

Unemployment Rate: 4.7 (P)

Average Annual Income: $85,507

Also Read: What is the Minimum Wage in the US? Learn About How You Can Earn Minimum Wage, Eligibility and Work – Leap Scholar

Los Angeles, California

Next on our list is another California city, Los Angeles, the second largest metropolis. This city is perfect for lovers of art, entertainment and cinema. Surrounded by top-ranked universities and plenty of internships and work opportunities, LA is a city made for international students who enjoy the outdoors.

Top Universities in Los Angeles

QS World Ranking – Institution

#6 – California Institute of Technology, Caltech

#40 – University of California, Los Angeles

#112 – University of Southern California

Cost of Living in Los Angeles

Average Rent: $1,727/month

Food/Grocery: $375/month

Working in Los Angeles

Unemployment Rate: 5.7 (P)

Average Annual Income: $67,418


Choosing the right city to study and live in is just as important as choosing the right country. The USA is a sea of ​​opportunity, excellent education, good healthcare and a brilliant lifestyle for Indian and international students. The diverse cultures of the cities and universities ensure you learn more and grow as a student and as a person.

You can choose your city based on our rating, your budget, and your choice of educational institution. Remember, above all else, the city that suits you best is the best city to live in, whether it’s a large or a small one.

We understand that choosing one of the best cities to live in in the US can be difficult. Want to consult someone who can help? Talk to the study abroad experts at LeapScholar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is traveling to the US expensive for students?

Ans. Public transportation makes traveling in the US affordable for students. Cities in the US are very well connected via public transportation. Choosing the bus or subway is the best choice for students. This method is simple, fast, and affordable. Monthly transit passes can cost anywhere from $40 to $100, depending on the state. Apart from that, you can also travel by bicycle or taxi.

2. Which city is the best in the US for Indians, in terms of climate?

Ans. Northern California has mild weather all year round making it perfect for Indian students. Alternatively, you can also consider cities like San Francisco (California), Los Angeles (California), Miami (Florida), Dallas (Texas), and Austin (Texas).

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