Best Places To Live In Florida In 2024 (2024)

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Florida has been a long-time favorite destination for retirees. But in the past few years, working households have been flocking to the state for promising career opportunities, a relatively low cost of living and no state income tax. Not to mention the mild winters and approximate 825 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that sprawl across the peninsula and panhandle.

If you’re looking for the top places to live in Florida, our guide should make it easier to find your ideal community. We analyzed metro areas by pulling recent data on key lifestyle factors such as median home price, personal income per capita, and the unemployment and crime rates.

Note, some government reports provide results by county while others look at the greater metro area, or a combination of counties or cities. We have defined the geographical boundaries for all reports that cover something other than a general metro area.

10. Pensacola



Median home price


Estimated monthly expenses (two adults, two children)


Median income


Unemployment rate


Community well-being score


Criminal offenses reported (Escambia County)


Pensacola is near the beach on the Gulf of Mexico with 50 miles of coastline. It’s also home to a naval air station and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerobatic flight demonstration team. Major employment opportunities include financial services, health care, manufacturing and tourism.

While Pensacola is Florida’s westernmost city and hours from the state’s other major towns, you can reach Mobile, Alabama, within an hour and New Orleans in three hours. Additionally, Pensacola International Airport serves over 40 destinations.

9. Tallahassee



Median home price


Estimated monthly expenses


Median income (City of Tallahassee)


Unemployment rate


Community well-being score


Criminal offenses reported (Leon County)


Tallahassee is the state capital and home to Florida State University and Florida A&M University. This city can be an excellent option if you desire the college town experience, are a political junkie or want to live in a part of the Florida Panhandle that isn’t swarming with tourists, as the nearest beach is an hour away.

Education, health care and state government are the primary employment fields in this midsize metro area. The region is also bringing many tech jobs through the Innovation Park of Tallahassee technology incubator, making it one of the best places in Florida for young adults.

8. Sarasota

Population (City of Sarasota)


Median home price (North Port-Sarasota)


Estimated monthly expenses (North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton)


Median income (City of Sarasota)


Unemployment rate (North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton)


Community well-being score (North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton)


Criminal offenses reported (Sarasota County)


Consider living in Sarasota if you want to live in a central Florida beach town that’s family-friendly and has a sizable local working population.

When you need to visit a big city, the bustling Tampa metro area is 60 miles to the north. As a quick comparison, the greater Sarasota metro area has about 750,000 residents while the greater Tampa consists of almost 3 million.

Job opportunities in Sarasota include health care, manufacturing and insurance. Full-time residents typically enjoy Siesta Beach and Lido Key. Sarasota is also the center of Florida’s Cultural Coast with two art museums along with ballet and opera performances.

7. Melbourne

Population (City of Melbourne)


Median home price (Palm Bay-Melbourne)


Estimated monthly expenses (Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville)


Median income (City of Melbourne)


Unemployment rate (Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville)


Community well-being score (Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville)


Criminal offenses reported (Brevard County)


Melbourne is part of the Florida “Space Coast” that many tourists visit for year-round rocket launches and beach vacations. Full-time residents can find employment opportunities in aerospace and manufacturing offering comfortable salaries.

The Palm Bay-Melbourne metro area is conveniently located on the Atlantic seaboard with easy beach access. One cultural highlight is the Eau Gallie Arts District.

Geographically, it’s the midpoint between Jacksonville and Miami, and Orlando is roughly one hour away.

6. Greater Miami Area

Population (Miami-Dade County)


Median home price (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale)


Estimated monthly expenses (Miami-Dade County)


Median income (Miami-Dade County)


Unemployment rate (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach


Community well-being score (Miami-Dade County)


Criminal offenses reported (Miami-Dade and Broward counties)


Miami is arguably the most vibrant Florida city with amazing beaches, colorful buildings, an electrifying nightlife along with a prominent presence of Caribbean and Latin American cultures. The city is also famous for its art and fashion exhibitions.

Since Miami is Florida’s largest metro area with more than 6 million residents, there are many job opportunities. Aviation, finance, international trade, health care and tourism are the primary employment sectors.

Not everyone will enjoy living in the Miami metro area as it’s expensive, has a relatively high crime rate and a tropical monsoon climate. But Florida first-time homebuyer programs in Broward and Miami-Dade counties can help newcomers handle the high cost of housing.

5. Orlando

Population (City of Orlando)


Median home price (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford)


Estimated monthly expenses (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford


Median income (City of Orlando)


Unemployment rate (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford)


Community well-being score (Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford)


Criminal offenses reported (Orange County)


Orlando is the most prominent city in central Florida, largely due to its major tourist attractions like Disney and Universal Studios. But it’s more than just a destination for tourists and work conferences. Biotech, information technology and health care are other booming sectors in Orlando which help make it one of the best places in Florida for young adults.

Locals can also enjoy many cultural and performing arts events. This metropolis is about an hour from the Atlantic beach cities of Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach when you need a change of scenery.

4. Cape Coral



Median home price


Estimated monthly expenses


Median income


Unemployment rate


Community well-being score


Criminal offenses reported (Lee County)


Cape Coral—part of the Fort Myers metro area—is popular as it’s situated on the Gulf and has a low crime rate. Locals enjoy exploring the freshwater lakes and canals, and lounging on a sandy saltwater beach.

Biotech, marine and medical are target industries for Cape Coral. Several corporations also operate call centers and back-office operations from the region.

3. Jacksonville



Median home price


Estimated monthly expenses


Median income


Unemployment rate


Community well-being score


Criminal offenses reported (Duval County)


While Jacksonville holds the honor of being Florida’s largest city by land mass, its combined metro area population is smaller than that of Miami or Tampa. You can enjoy big city conveniences and live on the Atlantic Ocean—yet the living costs are relatively affordable.

Banking, health care and transportation are the seven-county metro area’s biggest employment opportunities. The city is also home to one of the nation’s three Mayo Clinics and offers access to many of Florida’s best banks.

2. Gainesville

Population (City of Gainesville)


Median home price


Estimated monthly expenses


Median income (City of Gainesville)


Unemployment rate


Community well-being score


Criminal offenses reported (Alachua County)


Gainesville is an excellent place for families as the living costs are low and the population is relatively small with a low crime rate. The city is also home to the University of Florida, the Florida Museum of Natural History and Kika Silva Pla Planetarium.

There are several state parks, hiking trails and bike paths to explore as well. For more adventure, Jacksonville and Orlando are each approximately 90 minutes away to enjoy beaches, theme parks and big-city amenities.

1. Tampa

Population (City of Tampa)


Median home price (Tampa-St. Petersburg)


Estimated monthly expenses (Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater)


Median income (City of Tampa)


Unemployment rate


Community well-being score (Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater):


Criminal offenses reported (Hillsborough County)


Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater has many positive aspects for young adults and families. First, there are several pristine beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. The area is also home to major sports teams, history museums, platforms promoting the arts and impressive public transportation options.

Tampa has experienced an influx of employers across industries, from advanced manufacturing to financial services and life sciences. Tourism and MacDill Air Force Base also play pivotal roles.

While Tampa offers everything you need for daily life, Orlando is also a two-hour drive and Miami is only four hours away.

Our Methodology

We compared Florida metropolitan areas using data from several platforms to measure variable criteria including home affordability, employment and community well-being.

The metro areas we chose are spread across the state and can be excellent places to call home for young professionals, families and retirees moving to Florida.

Our ratings take into consideration the city size, crime rate, diversity, unemployment rate and cost of living. Community amenities such as outdoor activities, public transit and health care access also play a factor.

The comparison criteria and corresponding sources include:

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Editor’s note: This story was updated on Jan. 5, 2023, to replace crime statistics by city with more relevant stats by county; the revision caused some of the rankings to shift. County data more accurately reflects crime rates in greater metropolitan statistical areas. Other government reports used in the overall analysis focus on greater MSAs, not cities.

Best Places To Live In Florida In 2024 (2024)


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