This Ranking Of American Cities Might Make You Reconsider Where You Live

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For a long time, American youth dreamed mainly of moving to three cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York. (If you can make it in that last one, you can make it anywhere, right? So, wherever Big Apple dwellers go next is certain to be a cinch. Supposedly.) Slowly but surely, though, other metropolitan areas have been added to the list. Today, Austin, Minneapolis, and Charleston, among others, are choice destinations for people seeking a hip scene, good food, and financial solvency — although the original trio remain in the mix as well.

And it's not always the super "cool" cities that boast the best overall quality of life. A new analysis of the best places to live in America reveals surprising data about which urban centers are on top these days. Check out the definitive rankings here — and some of the most interesting conclusions below, especially if you're considering a move.

Recreationally speaking: Omaha, Tampa, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Denver make the top five when it comes to leisure activities — while New York clings to the bottom rungs. Might this have something to do with how kayaking on the polluted Hudson River is pretty gross?

On the health front: Minneapolis made the top five on this one, too, along with San Jose, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. The bottom dwellers when it comes to overall health? Honolulu, Louisville, Memphis, Detroit, and El Paso. For at least one of those cities, Spam could be making an impact.

Regarding the sweaty stuff: No surprises here: Portland and Seattle — biker havens — were the top two places with the highest participation in physical activity. Bringing up the rear are four cities in Texas, plus Detroit. Yikes. Somebody get those cities some cycling lanes.

For the professionals: Silicon Valley may be a no-brainer for worker bees seeking a hive, but these days, San Francisco isn't the only desirable destination for the professional set. The best job markets around include Seattle, Dallas, Forth Worth, and Tulsa. As for the worst: Bakersfield, Memphis, Detroit, Fresno, and Tucson. Thank goodness for telecommuting.

Household income vs. cost of living: Suprisingly, Virginia Beach boasts the highest household income adjusted by cost of living, while Cleveland scored the very worst (cost of living may be low there, but so is income). Unsurprisingly, New York didn't do so hot, either. After all, a solid salary only goes so far when the rent is so damn high.

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