New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles can all boast top credentials for being popular relocation targets. However, choosing one of these could mean overlooking other quality destinations for movers.
HomeInsurance.com recently crunched the numbers to determine which U.S. cities are growing the fastest and why they might be popular with movers. We started by turning to the U.S. Census to determine the 50 metropolitan and micropolitan areas that have shown the greatest percentage growth since 2010 – because of a tie for 50th we ended up with 51 cities.
From there, we ranked them further on factors as home value, combine household income and the average costs of home and renters insurance. Yes, we got some of the standard top cities to move to such as Raleigh, NC, and Austin, TX. But we also found some hidden gems as well.. If you’re seeking a change of scenery, make sure you check out these 25 cities.
1. Heber, UT
Heber City is situated among the mountains of northcentral Utah. The micropolitan area is home to about 13,000 residents. If you love spending time outdoors, this picturesque city is ideal. In Heber City, you can hike the Uinta Mountains that surround the town, fish on the Provo River, enjoy water sports on Mirror Lake, cross country ski, golf, or go for a walk through Jordanelle State Park.
2. Dickinson, ND
Dickinson is a town rich in history that spans about 10 square miles of southwest North Dakota. With the recent oil boom, new residents have been flocking to the city. The Dakota Dinosaur Museum is a popular attraction in the city that features displays from all over the world as well as a Triceratops skill discovered near Dickinson. Residents can also explore the Theodore Roosevelt Center, art galleries, the Ukrainian Cultural Institute, or go for a scenic drive along the Enchanted Highway or one of the nearby byways.
3. Williston, ND
Williston is a northwest North Dakota town that has been named the nation’s fastest-growing micropolitan area for the past three years due to the North Dakota oil boom.
History buffs would love to explore Fort Buford, the Cut Bluff Overlook, the Old Armory, and the Fort Union Trading Post – all of which offer insights into the eras of Lewis and Clark, pioneers, fur trading, and the early days of the military. If nature is more of your scene, enjoy the site called The Confluence, which is where the Missouri River and Yellowstone River meet or Lake Sakakawea for outdoor recreation.
4. Vernal, UT
The beautiful city of Vernal sits in the northeastern portion of the state just 20 miles from the Colorado border.
If you have a sense of adventure, Vernal is the location for you. Climb to Kings Peak in Ashley National Forest; explore the natural art gallery complete with paintings and etchings from ancient cultures at Nine Mile Canyon; walk along the Dinosaur Trackway to see exposed tracks left by hundreds of dinosaurs in the sandstone at Red Fleet State Park; and enjoy the sights at Steinaker State Park, the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, Western Heritage Museum, and Dry Fork Petroglyphs.
5. Raleigh, NC
The capital city of North Carolina is a fantastic place for music lovers. Raleigh is home to the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek as well as several amphitheaters. That means the city attracts many national and international artists.
The city also has theaters that allow for performances from the North Carolina Symphony, the Carolina Ballet, Theatre in the Park, the Opera Company of North Carolina, the North Carolina Theatre, the Burning Coal Theatre Company, and Broadway Series South, alongside performances from North Carolina State University, which is located in the city.
6. Bismarck, ND
Bismarck is an interesting spot for new residents. The capital of North Dakota is known for points of interest such as Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, which features partial reconstructions of Fort Abraham Lincoln and On-a-Slant Village – an earthlodge village previously inhabited by the Mandan tribe.
Bismarck also has plenty of outdoor recreation with five golf courses, year-round fishing on the Missouri River, and hunting game such as deer, waterfowl, and pheasant. This bigger town has a strong sense of community, making it an easy adjustment for any newcomers. In 2007, nearly 9,000 residents came together to break the record for most snow angels in one place. Now that’s a close-knit community.
7. The Villages, FL
This central Florida destination earns a spot on our list due to the fact that it has doubled in size since the 2010 census. The Villages was formed as a retirement community and has 39 golf courses as well as nightly activities held in the three town squares. The Villages micro area now includes more than 114,000 residents.
8. Austin, TX
Austin is a city filled to the brim with character. Known for being the Live Music Capital of the World and the location of the SXSW music festival, Austin has nearly 200 venues for music lovers to hear all kinds of music from rock to blues to hip hop.
The city is known for its creative residents and is home to several art museums and galleries such as the Harry Ransom Center and Contemporary at the Jones Center that you can tour, but the attractions don’t stop there. Go on a guided historic walking tour or stop by the Bullock Texas State History Museum to learn more about the city’s – and state’s – story or just explore the recreational opportunities, nightlife, fine dining, and shopping.
9. Minot, ND
Minot is known as the “Magic City,” which references its momentous population growth. The city is big on the arts and has more than 40 organizations – including a youth/punk concert organization and an opera company – with membership to the Minot Area Council on the Arts.
It’s not all about the arts, though. Minot operates 17 parks for those who lead an active lifestyle, and hosts the annual North Dakota State Fair at the Fair Grounds.
10. Midland, TX
If Friday Night Lights is near and dear to your heart, you’d love Midland, Texas, which is one of two cities that inspired the TV show. Midland is a town with a strong sports presence. Whether you’re cheering on high school football, the Midland Rockhounds or West Texas Drillers baseball teams, the Odessa Jackalopes hockey team, the West Texas United Sockers soccer team, the Sandhills Rodeo, or the West Texas Wildcatters football league, Midland is ideal for sports fanatics.
If sports isn’t your thing, no problem. Midland is a well-rounded city that also offers plenty of recreation, nightlife, and arts and culture.
11. Summit Park, UT
Summit Park spans more than 21 square miles of northcentral Utah. The town is situated among the mountains, which makes for a picturesque landscape surrounding the residences.
Being a smaller town, it has a strong sense of community. Neighbors take turns opening up their homes to fellow residents for a potluck-style meal and happy hour. Sounds like nurture and nature to us.
12. Hilton Head, SC
Beach bums would love relocating to Hilton Head Island. The gorgeous city has quaint beaches, a local winery, watersports, golf courses, shopping, fine dining, and recreation.
Hilton Head is the perfect place for families as it offers interactive children’s museums, adventure cruises, dolphin watching, and much more. Families have endless choices to bond and enjoy the fantastic weather, and parents have several fun activities to take advantage of when they want a night out without the kids.
13. St. George, UT
St. George is perfect for those who love being outdoors and learning about the history of the west. With the annual St. George Arts Festival, the springtime is filled with events such as Art in the Park and Concerts in the Park, which take place in Vernon Worthen Park. Families can head to Sunset on the Square during the summer months to watch popular movies on a large inflatable screen at Town Square Park. Runners enjoy taking part in the St. George Marathon, which is one of the Boston-qualifying marathons.
There are several other outdoor festivals for friends and families to enjoy. History buffs can stroll through the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site to learn more about the creatures that walked the Earth long before our existence.
14. Daphne, AL
This southwest Alabama town lies on the shoreline of Mobile Bay and stretches across about 17.5 square miles of land. Daphne is known as the Jubilee City due to the phenomenon where fish, shrimp, and blue crabs come into shallow waters, allowing locals to easily wade into the bay, catch them, and yell “jubilee!” per tradition.
Thus, Daphne has amazing seafood for residents and visitors to enjoy year-round. That sounds pretty enticing.
15. Naples, FL
Naples is known as a fantastic vacation destination with its white sand beaches and activities and adventures in the Everglades, but it’s a wonderful place to reside, too. Whether you prefer to enjoy the serenity of the beach or go on a swamp buggy adventure, an Everglade air boat ride, or a nature tour of the Everglades, you’ll never be bored in Naples.
Like many Florida towns, Naples has an abundance of top-notch golf courses and fine restaurants.
16. Charleston, SC
Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina as well as the fastest-growing city in the state, and it’s the perfect destination for those seeking a town that embodies the ‘Southern hospitality’ mantra. The city is known for its beauty, which is due in large part to the well-preserved architecture. Each year, the city has the Festival of Houses and Gardens, which allows residents and visitors to tour the Old & Historic District and see the 18th century architecture up close.
Charleston also hosts a number of other festivals including the prestigious Spoleto Festival USA – a 17-day art festival featuring more than 100 artists of all varieties.
17. Bozeman, MT
Bozeman, home to Montana State University, has been steadily climbing up the list of biggest cities in the state. Bozeman has been named the best place for skiing in the West and is an ideal spot for winter sports as well as other recreation.
This beautiful city is full of adventure with the Lewis and Clark Caverns, Madison Buffalo Jump State Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Missouri Headwaters State Park all in the vicinity.
18. Andrews, TX
Andrews is a town in West Texas named after the first soldier to die in the Texas Revolution. It spans nearly five square miles, and officials have been making strides to better the town and attract new residents and businesses.
Andrews offers venues for golf and other recreation, a bird viewing trail, and many festivals to attend such as the Wild Wild West Fest.
19. Bend, OR
The slogan of Bend is ‘It’s where you go to play.’ Bend combines the thrills of outdoor recreation such as rafting, paddle boarding, mountain biking, and hiking with the sophistication of a regular city. Bend also has many breweries – more per capita than any other Oregon city – allowing residents to work hard and play hard. The Bend Ale Trail is perfect for those who love a good brew.
20. Casper, WY
Casper sits at the foot of the Casper Mountain and is the second largest city in the state. Casper is known for being an oil town as well as a cowboy haven. Explore the city by biking, walking, or running through the parks and trails; touring the Fort Caspar Museum; or hitting the links at the Casper Municipal Golf Course.
21. Denver, CO
The Mile High City is situated among the Rocky Mountains and has endless things for residents to do – no matter what their interests may be, despite the season. Adventure lovers can raft, zipline, ski, bike, hike, etc. all around Denver.
Sports fans can rejoice as Denver is home to seven professional teams including the Nuggets, Rockies, and Broncos. Art and music enthusiasts have tons of galleries to take in and concert venues to check out including Red Rocks. Factor in the world-class dining and unparalleled scenery and you get an incredibly well-rounded city.
22. Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins lies in the northern part of the state and offers a small town vibe while having all the perks of a bigger city. As the home of Colorado State University, much of the city’s culture derives from the institution. The downtown area hosts several festivals which feature local businesses, music, and food vendors. Fort Collins is home to several microbreweries and hosts the Colorado Brewer’s Festival each summer.
23. Fargo, ND
Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota, spanning more than 48 square miles. The city is home to North Dakota State University, and Bison fans love to flock there for sporting events. Fargo is also the location of the Plains Art Museum, which is the largest art museum in the state. For a smaller town, Fargo offers plenty of activities for residents to enjoy.
24. Odessa, TX
Odessa stretches over 44 square miles of West Texas. Odessa is an interesting town as it has the Globe of the Great Southwest – a carbon copy of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – which hosts the Shakespeare Festival as well as other plays.
Another appealing point of interest is Odessa’s Presidential Museum and Leadership Library, which is dedicated to the office of the presidency rather than one specific former leader of the nation
25. Sioux Falls, SD
The city of Sioux Falls is the largest in all of South Dakota and is the fastest-growing city in the state. The city sits along the banks of the Big Sioux River, making for gorgeous scenery. It hosts many annual events including the SculptureWalk, which features pieces that often reflect historically significant events; First Fridays, which take place on the first Friday of each month of summer and allow local vendors to gather and put on a big event for residents; Party in the Park which is an annual music festival at Terrace Park; and several others..
Following is a listing of the cities considered:
We started with the 51 U.S. metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas that show the greatest percentage growth according to the U.S. Census Burea between 2010 and 2014 – we planned to take the top 50 but a tie for 50th place resulted in the extra city. All scores are out of a possible 51 points where 51 is the best and 0 is the worst score. The total score weighted as follows: Largest percentage population growth (40%), estimated household income (20%), averge housing value (20%), average home insurance premium (10%), and average renters insurance premium (10%).
Sources: The U.S. Census Bureau, www.city-data.com, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Photo credit for preview image: Flickr user/Nathan O’Nions