Throughout 2023, Atlanta has performed well in analyses of U.S. cities ranking the sheer amount of construction, the quality of remote working options, the prospects of starting a career, and even the popularity of Spring Break destinations, among others.

But when it comes to being generally—and subjectively—the best city, ATL lands squarely at “meh” this year.

That’s according to a year-end analysis compiled by real estate data company Clever, which stacked the top 50 most populous cities in America against each other to determine which is the overall “best” place to be right now.

Criteria ranged from more lighthearted non-essentials for city life—best cities for tacos and beer, for instance—to critical measuring sticks that could determine whether urban life in certain places is feasible or not, such as rent prices and home-value inflation. 

How’d Atlanta fare given those metrics? We landed at No. 45. Out of 50. Yeah.

Clever Real Estate

Clever’s analysts based their rankings on the normalized average of scores tallied for all 50 cities in 16 studies the company published in 2023. The goal, they say, is to help Americans make better choices on whether to stay put or uproot in a post-pandemic era of migration between major cities.

Atlanta performed strongest in Clever’s “Where People Want to Live” study, in which the Big Peach ranked No. 13. That's not much, but it's the bright spot. 

We were also ranked relatively high in the home price per square foot study (No. 14), home prices vs. income (No. 17), and, naturally, best barbecue cites (No. 18).

Atlanta earned an affordable housing score of 9.5, which ranked middle-of-the-road at No. 21. (Pittsburgh finished first in that metric, and Los Angeles last.)

ATL’s ranking as the country’s No. 44 best beer city seems questionable; it’s low No. 48 slot among best commuter cities does not.

Alleged mediocrity, from above. Shutterstock

So what’s the best overall city in the land for 2023?

According to Clever, that would be Buffalo, N.Y., which was ranked the second-best city for commuters—with the second-lowest increase in home prices. 

In Clever’s survey of 1,000 Americans, respondents said Seattle is the most desirable place to live in the U.S., while Atlanta didn’t manage to crack the top 10:

  1. Seattle
  2. Tampa
  3. Charlotte
  4. New York
  5. Denver
  6. San Francisco
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Orlando
  9. Nashville
  10. San Diego
  11. Miami
  12. Austin
  13. Atlanta
  14. Las Vegas
  15. Washington

Lastly—to end on a relative high note—here’s how Atlanta stacked up on the list of top 15 cities with the lowest home price per square foot, with almost all other high-finishers being considerably smaller:

  1. Cleveland, OH ($133)
  2. Memphis, TN ($143)
  3. Pittsburgh, PA ($147)
  4. Indianapolis, IN ($158)
  5. Birmingham, AL ($158)
  6. Buffalo, NY ($169)
  7. St. Louis, MO ($170)
  8. Oklahoma City, OK ($170)
  9. Louisville, KY ($174)
  10. Detroit, MI ($176)
  11. Houston, TX ($179)
  12. San Antonio, TX ($182)
  13. New Orleans, LA ($186)
  14. Atlanta, GA ($191)
  15. Kansas City, MO ($193)


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