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Blooming Houston suburb lands No. 1 ranking in best cities to live in the U.S.

Hot Houston suburb lands No. 1 ranking in best cities to live in U.S.

The Woodlands Resort
The Woodlands is described as “a dynamic hometown within a natural forest. ” (Pictured here: The Woodlands Resort.) Photo courtesy of The Woodlands Resort

The Woodlands is a two-time champion in Niche.com’s ranking of the best cities in live in the U.S.

The Houston suburb, home to more than 114,000 people, lands at No. 1 on this year’s list of the best cities to live, repeating its ranking from 2021. The Woodlands ranked second in 2020. Niche specializes in supplying data, reviews, and ratings of schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

In a 2021 news release about the Niche rankings, Gordy Bunch, chairman of The Woodlands Township, described his community as “a dynamic hometown within a natural forest” that is known for “its balance between man and nature.”

“The Woodlands provides premier services and activities, superior educational opportunities, is committed to public safety, has a diversity of jobs, vibrant public spaces, integrated mobility options, public activities, cultural events, and entertainment,” Bunch said. “We are a thriving business community and a place where generations from all over the world come to live, worship, work, learn, and play.”

Aside from being named the best city to live, The Woodlands ranks second on Niche’s list of the best cities to buy a house, and sixth on its lists of the cities with the best public schools and the best cities for retirees.

This year, Niche combed through data for 228 cities, as well as 18,515 towns and neighborhoods, to develop its annual rankings. Niche relies on data from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau and FBI, along with residents’ ratings.

“Whether our users are young professionals, parents with young kids, or retirees, Niche’s … rankings serve as an excellent starting point for considering a move,” says Luke Skurman, founder and CEO of Niche.

“The pandemic triggered a new set of possibilities — suddenly, many individuals and families found themselves more mobile than ever before, and in the past two years they have continued to think hard about where they really want to live,” Skurman adds. “Families wondering about an area’s school district, a major part of many relocation decisions, can also use our comprehensive school profiles and rankings to get a sense of what their child’s future school might be like.”

On the list of the best cities to live, The Woodlands is followed by:

  • Cambridge, Massachusetts, No. 2.
  • Naperville, Illinois, No. 3.
  • Arlington, Virginia, No. 4.
  • Overland Park, Kansas, No. 5.

Other than The Woodlands, the only city in the region to show up in the ranking of the best cities to live is Houston, which grabs the No. 71 spot.

What follows is a breakdown of other communities in Texas that earned places in Niche’s ranking of the best cities to live.

Dallas-Fort Worth

  • Plano, No. 9
  • Richardson, No. 12
  • Irving, No. 40
  • Denton, No. 56
  • Dallas, No. 80
  • Arlington, No. 89
  • Fort Worth, No. 135

Austin metro area

  • Austin, No. 25
  • Round Rock, No. 29

San Antonio metro area

San Antonio, No. 101

Elsewhere in Texas

  • College Station, No. 27
  • Lubbock, No. 72
  • Tyler, No. 94
  • Wichita Falls, No. 98
  • El Paso, No. 100
  • McAllen, No. 102
  • Abilene, No. 112
  • Amarillo, No. 122
  • Waco, No. 130
  • Corpus Christi, No. 132
  • Midland, No. 158
  • Beaumont, No. 170
  • Killeen, No. 189
  • Brownsville, No. 193

On the list of the 200 best places to live, featuring suburbs and neighborhoods, Houston’s Cinco Ranch came in at No. 83, with The Woodlands 10 spots behind. Chesterbrook, a suburb of Philadelphia, ranked first.

Other Texas suburbs and neighborhoods making the top 200 for best places to live are:

  • Cottonwood Creek South Richardson, No. 5. (Cottonwood Creek South also is the highest-ranked place in Texas —No. 108 — on the list of the best places to raise a family).
  • Height Parks (Richardson), No. 81.
  • Canyon Creek South (Richardson), No. 99.
  • Coppell (Dallas-Fort Worth), No. 102.
  • Alamo Heights (San Antonio), No. 162.
  • Old Enfield (Austin), No. 169.

Other notable Texas rankings:

  • Plano ranks fifth (three notches behind The Woodlands) among the best cities to buy a house, and Richardson takes the No. 9 spot.
  • Plano ranks ninth (three spots behind The Woodlands) on the list of the cities with the best public schools.
  • Arlington (No. 11) and Irving (No. 12) are the top-ranked Texas cities on the list of the most diverse cities.
  • Austin is the top-ranked Texas city (No. 19) on the list of the best cities for young professionals, with Plano five places behind at No. 24.
  • Richardson, ranked fifth nationally, is the best Texas city for retirees.
  • At No. 42 nationally, Plano is the healthiest city in Texas, followed by Richardson at No. 43.