Written by

Alex is the founder of 9Kilo Moving, which he started to help people easily find and choose the right moving company to make their move as stress-free and seamless as possible. He has spent over 20 years working in the moving industry, so he knows every aspect of the business and uses his knowledge to write about the industry and give moving advice. More on about us page

Where Should I Move

Moving out is a big transition that most of us make at some point of our lives. But deciding where to move is the big question we end up asking our good ol’ friend - The Internet! And this is probably what got you here too.

But knowing where to move isn’t as straightforward as looking up a place on the GPS and then heading right to it. It would be great to teleport to cities that look interesting in pictures to confirm if we’d like to live there, but sadly that’s also not an option. However, the good news is that by doing a little bit of homework on what you really want to achieve with the move, you’ll soon have an answer for “Where should I move?”.


Exercise That Helps Answer The Question - Where Should I Move?

Step 01 - Create A List Of Places You’d Like To Move

To begin with, we’d suggest getting yourself a notebook or preparing an online spreadsheet where you write down the top cities that come to your mind immediately after you ask yourself where you’d like to move. Once you have a list of cities, do a little digging on why exactly you’re drawn to those specific cities.

Maybe you always imagined living there and it's a dream you set for yourself from your childhood days or you just have close family living there. Perhaps you even traveled there and fell in love with the people, landscape and the atmosphere. There could be several other reasons but it’s best to make note of them so you can slowly envision where you want to move.

See also: Best Places to Raise a Family in the U.S.

Step 02 - Write Down Pros And Cons Of Your Favorite Cities

To keep things simple, just make a note of the top 5 pros and cons for each city. At this point, the Internet will be super useful. But you could also take things a step further and gather people’s opinions about a particular city from Facebook groups, Reddit, Quora or on your social media accounts.

If you have friends or relatives who have personally visited these cities then that’s a great asset for you to form a perspective on a city. It’s best to contact them directly and then write down their take on the city. This just helps you build a better profile of the lifestyle and people too. We know by this point you might find yourself taking on the role of a travel journalist, but these are just small ways to get a better picture of what life would be like in the place you move.

Step 03 - Enlist The Goals Of Your Move

Part of this exercise is to have enough clarity on your goals. Take a new page or create a separate section on the spreadsheet which is solely dedicated to the objectives of this move.   Once you have an idea of that, you would be able to narrow down on one city that matches these needs from the list of top cities you’re considering moving to.

For instance, if moving to a bigger house is one of the main goals of the move, then the housing costs of the prospective city must be modest enough for you to purchase your dream home. Similarly, if another one of your goals is to have exposure to a wider and active job market in tech, then the city must have a good number of established tech companies. This way your chances of getting a well-paid job is more.

See also: 10 Best Cities for Business Graduates to Move

We suggest creating two types of objectives:

1. Non-Negotiable Goals

When you prepare a to-do list, you probably have a section for priority tasks and then a separate list for low impact tasks to be done later in the day. Think about your non-negotiable goals of the move like they are priority tasks. By this we mean that your decision must remain pending and can’t move forward if the place doesn’t meet your non-negotiable goals. Residing in a fast-paced city with lots of diversity could be a non-negotiable goal for some and not for others.

2. Negotiable Goals

You would probably also have a set of not-so-significant needs and all these would come under ‘negotiable’, meaning that it’s not necessary that these needs are met completely but even partially would do. For instance, having an airport nearby isn't an extremely significant goal unless your work demands it from you or you really need to stay in close proximity to one since you travel a lot.

Just a heads up that negotiable and non-negotiable goals of the move would differ from person to person. Perhaps for an outdoor enthusiast, having countless options for recreation is a top priority instead of having good schools which is going to be a non-negotiable goal for someone with kids.

Step 04 - Follow A Point System

By following a point system, you would quickly be able to tell the cities that resonate with your negotiable and non-negotiable goals better.

Here Is A Sample Of How You Can Create A Point System -

City Option 01 - New York

Non-negotiable goals:

  • Fast pace - 08/10
  • Diversity - 09/10
  • Options for recreation - 07/10
  • Decent salary - 08/10
  • Bigger house - 06/10

Do note that this is just an example of how you could create an analysis to decide where you should move. You can then follow the same process for other cities and give them a rating depending on the research you’ve done.

You don’t necessarily have to strictly follow the structure we’ve created, but you could come up with your own creative way to rate the cities. All you have to do at this stage is give more points to some cities because they strongly meet the goals you’ve set for yourself.

If you begin your journey to move homes with something as simple as this 4-step exercise, you should be able to have a city name in front of you by the end of it.


Additional Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Moving

Here are some pertinent questions that you should also be asking yourself while you research the cities you’re drawn towards moving to.

Is The Cost Of Living Expensive? Do You Want That?

Now the general rule for managing expenses in a reasonable way is to follow the 50-30-20 method. Which means 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings from your paycheck post taxes. When you look up a city, ensure that the annual wage you receive will help you maintain this structure. Also, look at factors such as fuel costs and whether the state is income tax free or not as these are huge determinants to the costs of living.

See also: 15 Cities with Lowest Cost of Living in the U.S.

Looking at the median average value for homes on Zillow would also give you a rough estimate of how expensive or cheap an apartment would cost you when you move. We suggest finding out more about the average figure a single person or family needs to live comfortably in core hubs versus the outskirts so you know the difference in costs depending on where you live.

See also: 15 Cheap States to Move to

Does The City Enjoy Temperate Weather Or Extreme Conditions?

The climate for most people is the most important factor when it comes to deciding where to move. If you’re tired of freezing cold winds hitting your face and shoveling snow and if you’re generally a person who doesn’t enjoy winter as a wonderland, then you’ll most likely thrive in warmer climates.

It also works the other way where people used to hot temperatures can’t really bring themselves to enjoy the joys of heavy snowfall. This is why it is necessary to do a small background check on the types of seasons and weather hazards to expect so that you’re prepared and know what to expect.

Also Read: Sunniest Cities in America

What’s The Job Market Like?

Sometimes our jobs encourage us to uproot our lives and look for better options. If you tell a friend or relative that you've decided to move, the first thing they would probably ask is “Have you secured a good job there?” Depending on the field you’re inclined towards, make sure the market in the new city has a demand for it and you have a job lined up. For instance, the job market in San Francisco is tech-centric so you are bound to have more opportunities with tech-related jobs than other fields.

Do You Need A Car For Commuting?

Owning a car can be an expensive affair and if you’re someone who is looking to cut down costs by moving, you should ideally have budget-friendly options for commuting. Some cities are better equipped than others with buses that have good coverage, trains and even subways. We suggest taking a quick glance at all the options you would have available before moving into a city.

We’d also suggest getting a feel of the traffic in the area you’re about to live in. If you notice that roads are constantly clogged, the place is noisy and there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic even after peak hours, you would want to have the option to take other modes of transportation.

See also: Top 10 U.S. Cities where you can Live without a Car

What Are The Options For Recreation?

If you love the outdoors and like exploring different places from time to time, then it’s only natural for you to be more comfortable when you’re surrounded by mountains, lakes or the beach. Some cities hardly have sufficient landscape to explore and this could eventually lead to boredom.

We suggest finding out more about all the things there are to do nearby. Whether the city is situated close to lakes for picnics or if there are any interesting hiking trails or beaches.

If you are moving with kids or have pets, you’d probably also want to have access to parks and playgrounds. There should be equal opportunities for you to create a balance between work and play for your well-being, so the options for recreation is definitely something you should think about before deciding where to move. Asking yourself if you’re more of an ocean person or mountain can you get both in the city or not.

What Is The Neighborhood Like?

Now to truly get a gist of living in a particular city feels like, we suggest driving by the location in the night. It could probably feel too quiet, too noisy, unsafe or safe. By driving around the neighborhood at night, you’d also understand if it’s a 24-hour city or if things close pretty early. You understand the atmosphere and will be able to gauge if the streets are residential too.

When you’re forming an image of your neighborhood, it’s important to find out about the community centers, health care facilities and educational systems. Learn more about the parks and restaurants around. Get an understanding if things are slow-paced or fast-paced and see if it matches with your own personality type.

Do You Prefer Quaint Or Fast-Paced Places?

Choosing a place to live also depends on your personality type. Do you crave social interaction and attending events? Or would you rather live in a place that is off the grid? Understanding whether you would thrive as an individual in a small town or a big metropolis will also help you pick a city.

We suggest looking for answers within to know the type of pace and atmosphere you enjoy. We know this almost sounds like we’re asking you to be Julia Roberts in the movie Eat Pray Love, but yes to an extent that would help too. For instance, if it’s your first time visiting cities on the west coast of the map, you may or may not like the fast-paced culture, lifestyle and values people uphold. But you may resonate more with the atmosphere of, say, New York City more. It all comes down to your personal preference, but it’s important to hear your personality out as it could help you pick the right city.



How should I decide which city to move to?

Deciding where you want to live can be a difficult question for others to answer but a simple one for you. We suggest doing your homework on factors such as cost of living, climate, job market, transportation, housing costs and crime rates of some of your favorite cities to help make a decision.

How do you know when it is time to relocate?

It totally depends on what your goals are at the moment and whether you have the finances to move. Even though moving is a stressful event, you have to consider yourself fortunate to be able to uproot and move when you don’t resonate with what the current city has to offer you.

What city has the lowest cost of living?

When it comes to cost of living, cities such as Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, Huntsville and  Kansas City are definitely some of them that are on the lower side. The cost of living of a city is closely tied to wages, wherein salary levels of the individuals residing in said city must be sufficient enough to be able to accommodate daily expenses. Other important factors include the general cost of commodities, tax rates and healthcare expenses among others.

Where is the cheapest and nicest place to live?

Many regard the lone star state of Texas, which is surprisingly full of affordable cities such as San Antonio, Brownsville, Corpus Cristi and El Paso, a smart choice. Similarly, states like Tennessee and Kentucky are also known for its deep cultural, historical and culinary roots, all the while being quite affordable. At the end of the day, what qualifies as nicest can be subjective and everyone can have their own preferences. However, cities in Texas and Tennessee definitely are good contenders.

What is the cheapest city to live in in the United States?

While Memphis, Kalamazoo in Michigan and Amarillo are considered some of the cheapest cities in the country, the top spot is often given to the Texan city of McAllen. The overall cost of living in McAllen is recorded to be approximately 24% lower than the national average. In fact, PayScale shares that the cost of housing is a staggering 37% lower than the US national average.

Where can I live for $1000 a month?

With a Median Rent of $800 across states like Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, etc. you should be able to live on your $1000 budget a month. But again, this budget only covers housing in our scenario.

Where can I retire for $500 a month?

Unless you are considering moving away from the US to retire, $500 surely will not suffice as an overall monthly expense budget. Countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Columbia are great places to retire internationally and could give you more for $500. Back home in the US though, you can get away with renting a house for $500 a month in Wichita, Shreveport, Jackson, Knoxville, San Antonio and Memphis, among some other cities. But then again, it won’t cover your complete monthly expenses such as utility bills, groceries, etc.

What is the cheapest and safest state to live in?

The states of  Maine, Vermont, Wyoming and Minnesota have consistently been ranked as some of the safest in the country.

Which state has the lowest cost of living?

Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas are some of the states that have the lowest cost of living in the US.

What state pays you to move there?

Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma provide certain incentives to people looking to move there. In fact, they have policies in place that allow individuals to survive in their state. Even Alaska is known for its permanent fund that the Simpsons were more than happy to find out about. Iowa, Georgia and Kansas are some of the states which have cities that pay you to move there.

What states pay you to move there 2021?

In April of 2021, West Virginia was one of the newest additions to the group. Unfortunately, the states of Vermont and Maine pulled out of the game due to the difficult times faced by the country at large.

Where can I retire on $1500 a month?

There are the cities of Casper (Wyoming), Davenport (Iowa), Shreveport (Louisiana) and El Paso (Texas) in case you ever wish to retire somewhere nice for just $1500 a month.

Where can I retire on $3000 a month?

If you want to settle down somewhere vibrant and exciting, Birmingham and Memphis are just the cities for you. Or would you prefer something more laid back? Then Louisville and Brownsville are just as great options. Other honorable mentions include Springfield (Missouri), Knoxville (Tennessee) and San Marcos (Texas). The average annual food and health expenses across the cities range from $5,000 to $6,000.

Which western state is the cheapest to live in?

Western states such as Michigan,  Idaho and Wyoming are some of the cheapest to live in.

What are the 10 cheapest states to live in?

Certain Southern as well as Midwestern states have the lowest cost of living indices and home prices. These include Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana.

Is Chicago expensive to live in?

Chicago is constantly praised for its city life, culture, food and people. You are able to enjoy the perks of living in a big city such as public transportation, higher education, better health care, diversity in cuisine, etc. Unlike other big cities like New York, San Francisco and even LA, it’s considerably more affordable. When it comes to living comfortably in Chicago, $2000 a month can get you a good place with decent facilities, though this isn’t the cheapest place the US has to offer, it's certainly a great option.

See also: 8 Tips for Moving to a New City


Uprooting your life and then knowing exactly where to plant your feet is a tough call to make. The decision to move largely depends on what your goals and objectives are at the moment.

To make things easy, we suggest listing cities you already have your eye on and then maintain a point system. The cities with the highest points would meet the criterias you’ve set for yourself and voila! You would then be able to have an answer.

We also highly recommend writing the things you want from the move as it crystallizes your goals and this helps you narrow down your choices to one city. Contrary to popular belief, finding out where to move can also be an easy decision.