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Idyllic Houston suburb declared No. 1 city to live in the U.S.

Idyllic Houston suburb declared No. 1 city to live in the U.S.

Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival
The Woodlands has been named the best city to live in America. Photo courtesy of The Woodlands Arts Council

The Woodlands, the 28,000-acre, master-planned community north of Houston, has moved up Niche’s list of the best cities in America in the past couple of years. Now, for the first time ever, it holds the top spot.

Niche, an online platform that helps people choose schools and places to live, announced March 15 that The Woodlands appears at No. 1 on its 2021 list of the Best Cities to Live in America. The Woodlands ranked second last year and fourth in 2019.

Niche generates the rankings by combing through data from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and sifts through millions of reviews from residents. Among the ranking factors that Niche considers are affordability, housing market, neighborhood diversity, public schools, and walkability.

Overall, The Woodlands earns an A+ from Niche, with the community scoring an A+ for public schools, family friendliness, and jobs; an A- for outdoor activities, housing, and diversity; an A for health and fitness; a B+ for nightlife and weather; a B for commuting; and a B- for cost of living.

“The Woodlands is an ideal place for a family with children, with good schools and plenty of activities for them to do without having to go into Houston,” a five-star Niche review says.

“Most peaceful place to live and work,” another five-star Niche review says of The Woodlands. “Friendly people, beautiful homes, amazing schools, lots of places to go.”

Niche previously ranked The Woodlands second among the best cities to buy a home and the best cities to raise a family, and sixth for best public schools.

Established in 1974, The Woodlands features almost 2,200 employers, nearly 34,500 single-family homes, 148 parks, 22 miles of hike-and-bike trails, more than 30 public and private schools, and over 40 places of worship. The community contains 24 million square feet of office, retail, restaurant, and hotel space.

The Woodlands was home to an estimated 118,000 residents in 2019, and the population is projected to rise to 124,600 in 2024.

Two other Texas cities show up in this year’s top 20: Plano (No. 7) and Richardson (No. 12).

Plano receives an overall A+ from Niche. It earns an A+ for family friendliness, jobs, and diversity; an A for nightlife, and health and fitness; an A- for housing; a B+ for weather; a B for commuting; a B- for cost of living and outdoor activities; and a C+ for crime and safety. It lands at No. 4 on Niche’s list of the best places in the U.S. to buy a home.

“What a great place to live. Plano is filled with stuff to do, great jobs, great parks, and great people. The schools are pretty good, the location is perfect, and the community is wonderful,” a five-star review on Niche says.

Richardson also scores an overall A+ from Niche. It earns an A+ for family friendliness and diversity; an A for public schools, nightlife, and health and fitness; an A- for jobs; a B+ for housing, weather, and commuting; a B for outdoor activities; a B- for cost of living; and a C+ for crime and safety. It ranks fifth on Niche’s list of the best places to retire in the U.S. and seventh among the best cities to buy a house.

“Richardson is a great Dallas suburb that has been a great home for my family and I,” a five-star review on Niche says. “We moved here almost 4 years ago and have had the greatest experience possible!”

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