A beach in Florida
A beach in Florida AFP

Living close to the beach, value for money and job opportunities. Those are the characteristics that launched Naples, Florida, to the top of a new ranking listing the best cities to live in the United States.

The ranking, made by U.S. News & World Report, noted that even though it has been long known as a "preferred retirement spot for the rich, powerful and cold-averse," the area is just "more than a two-hour drive from bustling cities including Tampa and Miami."

"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, said in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch.

The ranking is based on factors such as the state of the local job market, affordability of housing, value, quality of life and overall desirability. They were given different weights in the overall index, with quality of life representing almost a third.

"While inflation has come down in recent months, Americans are still feeling the impact on their wallets, so finding a place that is affordable and where they feel like they have job stability is increasingly important," Giovanetti told the outlet. On that note, the list highlighted well-paying work for health care employees willing to take care of an aging population.

The report noted, however, that people moving to the city can expect to pay a premium "if they want to live closer to the urban coast," but prices and the overall cost of living drops if they go to the rural interior.

"With generally high property values, local municipalities in the area largely rely on property taxes as a primary revenue source. Those taxes vary depending on whether residents live in the county's two cities, Naples and Marco Island, or Collier's unincorporated area," the report said.

Sarasota was the only other city in Florida within the top 20, ranking 11th. As for the rest of the top 10, Boise, Idaho, took the second spot, vaulted mainly thanks to its value. Coolorado Springs, Colorado, completed the podium.

Greenville, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina, ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Raleight, North Carolina, Huntsville, Alabama, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado, are the other cities comprising the top ten.

Large cities such as New York City and Los Angeles were on the other of the spectrum, ranking low as a result of their high cost of living. The former clocked in at 124th, the latter doing so at 130.

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