Composite Score Breakdown
Across the 134 U.S. cities evaluated, the average Overall Appeal Score was 64 out of 100. Cities were rated by Insurify’s data science team using a proprietary scoring algorithm on factors including cost of living; unemployment rate; ease of alternative transit; the number of arts and entertainment establishments per 100,000 residents; and the number of dating opportunities for singles. A higher score indicates a greater prevalence of favorable factors, such as abundant alternative transportation options, low cost of living, or a low unemployment rate.
Cost of living index
According to the most recent data, San Francisco, California is 79 percent more expensive to live in than the average American city, making it the most expensive metropolitan area in the country. Charleston, West Virginia is the cheapest city considered in this study; Charleston is 16 percent less expensive than the average city.
The unemployment rate in the United States is 6.1 percent, as of June 2021. Bakersfield, California has the highest unemployment rate of all cities considered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its rate of 10.8 percent is 1.8 times higher than the national average. Lincoln, Nebraska, meanwhile, has the lowest unemployment rate, and also ties for the top overall spot in the rankings.
Ease of alternative transportation
An alternative transit score is a measure of how easy a city is to navigate without a car—that is, via walking, biking, or taking public transportation instead. Nationally, the average alternative transit score is 36.5 out of 100. Unsurprisingly, New York City is the easiest American city to traverse without an automobile, with an alternative transit score that is over 2.2 times higher than the national average, according to Walk Score. Smaller cities are comparatively much harder to navigate without a car, a trend highlighted by the three cities with the lowest alternative transit scores: Columbus, Georgia, Casper, Wyoming, and Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Arts and entertainment
The average city in the United States has 133 arts and entertainment venues for every 100,000 residents. Missoula, Montana has a thriving arts and entertainment scene for its size. In fact, the city’s ratio of 831 arts or entertainment establishments per 100,000 residents is over 6 times greater than the national average, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Fayetteville, North Carolina, meanwhile, has 88 percent fewer establishments per 100,000 residents than the national average.
Opportunities for singles
Across all cities, the average opportunity score for singles is 54.3. With an opportunity score 22 percent higher than the national average, Madison, Wisconsin is the best American city for single adults. Atlanta, Georgia and Denver, Colorado round out the top three, while Brownsville, Texas ranks last overall in economic, recreational, and dating opportunities afforded to singles.