A lot goes into running a successful and liveable city — a stable economy, affordable housing, safe transportation, etc.

“The best-run cities in America use their budgets most effectively to provide high-quality financial security, education, health, safety and transportation to their residents,” analyst Cassandra Happe said, per WalletHub. “Many of the top cities also have a very low amount of outstanding government debt per capita, which can prevent financial troubles in the future.”

In a recent report, WalletHub analyzed and ranked 148 of the largest U.S. cities in 2024.

Top five best-run cities in America:

  1. Nampa, Idaho
  2. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
  3. Boise, Idaho
  4. Nashua, New Hampshire
  5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Top five worst-run cities in America:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Oakland, California
  3. Gulfport, Mississippi
  4. New York, New York
  5. Flint, Michigan

Provo, Utah, ranked seventh overall, having the sixth-best ranking in quality of services and 29th in total budget per capita.

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What do Americans value in their cities?

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans decided to change their scenery and chose Florida as their new home.

More than 700,000 Americans moved to the Sunshine State in 2022 alone, so it may come as no surprise that Naples, Florida, was ranked as the best place to live by U.S. News and World Report for 2024-25.

“This year’s survey found people are concerned about the economy and want more financial stability, so the value and job market categories were the factors that were most important to people. That’s something that really helped Naples,” Erika Giovanetti, U.S. News and World Report’s loans expert, told CBS News.


Salt Lake City ranked 33rd overall in the U.S. News survey.

Americans were asked what matters most to them when considering where to live, and according to CBS News, this is what the survey concluded:

  • Quality of life (32%)
  • Value (27%)
  • Job market (22%)
  • Desirability (19%)

“Generally, American cities work very well. They are the centers of culture, technological advances, and economic power. However, they are also complex and face significant challenges,” David Swindell, an associate professor at Arizona State University, told WalletHub. To maintain trust between city leaders and the community, Swindell emphasized there needs to be transparency with how local leaders are managing their cities.

“Conducting business openly helps the public have confidence that their officials are following the rules, which is a critical foundation of citizen trust in government institutions,” he added. “However, the other element that brings teeth to transparency is citizens holding public officials accountable to the public. This places a certain level of responsibility on citizens to be vigilant and active.”

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