Chattanooga ranked among the best 100 places to live in America

Downtown Chattanooga tile

Chattanooga is among the top 100 best places to live in America, according to a new study by of more than 1,000 U.S. cities.

Chattanooga ranked No. 68 in the sixth annual ranking released Tuesday by the editors of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America.

"Gig City's got it going on," the editors of Livability said about Chattanooga. "The city ranks high in infrastructure and housing, thanks in part to its easy access to other cities (under two hours you can be in Atlanta, Nashville and Knoxville) and affordability."

Affordability ranked highest in the survey of 1,000 millennials across the country when asked what mattered most in deciding where to live.

As a result, Livability didn't include any city on the top 100 Best Places to Live list with a median home value of more than $250,000. Chattanooga's median home price among single-family homes sold last year by Chattanooga Realtors was $187,000, up 6.9 percent from the previous year.

Chattanooga also ranked favorably for its economy, although it got poorer ranks for health and education. Metro Chattanooga ended 2018 with an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent, well below the U.S. rate of 3.9 percent. The city is also trying to promote more business startups with the biggest business incubator in Tennessee on the North Shore and the biggest Innovation District in the downtown area for any U.S. mid-size city.

"The city is also quickly becoming a destination for tech companies and entrepreneurs - truly, the sense of opportunity and growth in Chattanooga right now is palpable," Livability said in its description of Chattanooga. "Surrounded by mountains and countless stunning views, the city lives up to its "Scenic City" moniker. With easy access to hiking trails, waterfalls, world-class rock climbing spots and winter sports, outdoor recreation abounds."

Christy Gillenwater, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, said the ranking "highlights many of our region's best assets like strong economy, outdoor recreation and great value.

"Our Velocity2040 visioning efforts will keep us on lists like these and move us toward no. 1," she said.

Winona Dimeo-Ediger, editor of, said the list is based upon a review of hundreds of data points on economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care for more than 1,000 cities.

"If you're a young person looking for a fresh start, or you're sick of spending your whole paycheck on rent in a big city, this list is for you," she said. "These 100 cities are unique, welcoming, affordable and bursting with opportunities."

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 757-6340

Best places to live

1. Boise, Idaho

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

3. Madison, Wisconsin

4. Iowa City, Iowa

5. Rochester, Minnesota


Regional cities among the top 100

In the tri-state region, cities rated among the top 100 best places, and their relative ranking, are:

40. Huntsville, Alabama

57. Knoxville

68. Chattanooga

73. Marrietta, Georgia

84. Nashville