25 Popular Small Towns to Live in the US

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In this article, we will take a look at the American inclination towards small-town living while exploring the 25 popular small towns to live in the US and some of their notable features.

Small Town Charm Versus the Big City Hustle

According to a Bloomberg report, the remote work dynamic that emerged during the pandemic amidst which Americans left big cities for towns continued in 2023. Migration to areas with a population under 250,000 was the highest among other locations. This trend implied that Americans were willing to choose a smaller town over a bigger city once they had geographic flexibility in terms of work. Those who migrated from other areas into America’s small towns and rural areas surpassed net migration into larger areas. Net in-migration for areas with 250,000 to 1 million people was recorded at 266,448. On the contrary, a modest gain was seen in areas with 1 million to 4 million people.

Previously, the US Census Bureau revealed that three-fourths of the country’s incorporated places had fewer than 5,000 people in 2019 while an estimated 206.9 million lived in an incorporated place out of the total 328.2 million people. This confirms America’s status as a nation of small towns.

The Largest Homebuilder in America

D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) is a renowned American home construction company that holds the legacy of serving as the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States since 2002. It constructed its first home in 1978 and reached the milestone of 1 million homes in 2023. The homebuilder has an extensive reach with operations spanning 119 markets in 33 states including small towns such as St. Augustine and Beaufort. Other than engaging in the construction and sale of homes priced between $200,000 and over $1,000,000, the company provides single-family and multi-family rental properties. In addition, D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) has title services, mortgage financing, and insurance agency services to offer to its homebuyers. The firm was successful in closing 87,801 homes in homebuilding operations, 6,248 single-family rental homes, and 2,536 multi-family rental units in rental operations as recorded for the 12 months ended March 31.

D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) remains dominant by efficiently navigating the housing market conditions in America, which has long been a victim of high prices and soaring mortgage rates. Meanwhile, the rate lock-in effect has disabled existing homeowners from selling their houses since they will have to pay a higher mortgage on a new home. The Fed has projected just one rate cut this year after announcing three rate cuts for 2024 in December. This implies elevated rates for a longer period which brings an advantage to homebuilders such as D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) since the primary issue in the US housing market is limited supply. During the earnings call, CEO Paul Romanowski mentioned that the company is well-positioned to capture more market share by keeping a supply of 45,000 homes in inventory. Even if the mortgage rates decline, the increased demand for new construction will potentially foster the company’s performance in a market that is already short of several million units. Other than resuming the historical average of four months from start to complete construction, the firm closed 22,548 homes thereby driving home sales revenues to $8.5 billion as compared to 19,664 homes closed during the previous year. Understanding the affordability concerns of American homebuyers, D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) incentivized using mortgage rate buy downs and brought down the prices and sizes of homes.

On April 18, D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) reported strong earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2024 with earnings per share of $3.52, ahead of estimates by $0.45. The company’s revenue for the quarter amounted to $9.11 billion, up 14.23% year-over-year and ahead of revenue consensus by $873.17 million. Despite confronting sticky inflation and mortgage interest rates, net sales orders of the company climbed 46% from the first quarter and 14% year-over-year. While the gross profit margin on home sales revenues improved by 30 basis points from the December quarter, the firm remains optimistic for it to be similar or even greater for the third quarter.

The stock is currently trading at 10 times its forward earnings, relatively cheap to its sector PE of 17x. The current interest rate conditions, lack of crucially needed housing inventory, and robust financial results as a longstanding market leader reflect growth prospects for D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI). Over the past 10 years, DHI has grown its top line by 18% and its bottom line by 25%.

While we acknowledge the potential of D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) to continue growing at double digit rates for years to come, our conviction lies in the belief that AI stocks hold greater promise for delivering higher returns, and doing so within a shorter timeframe. If you are looking for an AI stock that is more promising than NVIDIA but that trades at less than 5 times its earnings, check out our report about the cheapest AI stock.

25 Popular Small Towns to Live in the U.S.

25 Popular Small Towns to Live in the U.S.

Our Methodology:

In order to compile a list of the 25 popular small towns to live in the US, we did a sentiment analysis on Reddit. First, we aggregated the list of popular towns by sifting through 5 online rankings. Next, we used Reddit to find 10 threads that asked people about the most popular towns to live in the US. We read and analyzed all the comments and added the upvotes for each town on our list. Lastly, we shortlisted the towns that had at least a total of 150 upvotes. Our next step was to include only ‘small’ towns. Hence, we acquired the populations of the shortlisted towns from the US Census Bureau. Please note that we screened towns with a population under 50,000, thereby representing small towns. Since the population requirements as stated by the US Census Bureau for towns within different US states vary and large cities typically have populations greater than 50,000, we have considered all those towns which have populations under 50,000. Finally, we ranked the towns in ascending order of their most recent populations as cited by the US Census Bureau.

Note: This list is not exhaustive and does not reflect our opinion. The ranking is solely based on the opinions of Reddit users.

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25 Popular Small Towns to Live in the U.S.

25. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Total Population: 583

With only a small population calling the place home, Mackinac Island serves as the perfect getaway for many. The local environment is peaceful since motor vehicles on the island have been prohibited. Mackinac Island started to be a summer destination during the late nineteenth century. While the ferry from mainland Michigan to the island can be an adventurous experience, bikes can be used to wander through the downtown. The popular Arch Rock, a geologic formation on Mackinac Island, is another spot to see while staying on the island. The Round Island Light can also be witnessed on the way to the island.

24. Deadwood, South Dakota

Total Population: 1,156

Deadwood is another popular small town in America. It is situated in Lawrence County, South Dakota. The average home price in Deadwood is currently $418,716. Furthermore, Deadwood boasts a median household income of $50,478 while the employment rate stands at 57.3%.

23. Alpine, Wyoming

Total Population: 1,220

With a population of 1,220, Alpine ranks as another famous small town to reside in the US. The town is located in Lincoln County in the state of Wyoming. Some of the recommended places to visit while staying in the town include Grand Teton National Park, Palisades Reservoir, Snake River, and Yellowstone National Park. The average home price in the town is $731,764 and exceeds the national average, as of April.

22. Tombstone, Arizona

Total Population: 1,308

Cochise County in Arizona hosts the city of Tombstone. The median income in the city is $46,667 while the average home value is $226,310 which is relatively affordable. Residents of the city can resort to some of the best craft breweries in the state. The total population in Tombstone is 1,308 as reported by the US Census Bureau.

21. Castine, Maine

Total Population: 1,320

The town of Castine is positioned in Hancock County in eastern Maine. The town has a relatively smaller population of 1,320 people and is one of the oldest towns in New England. The community is situated along the waters of Penobscot Bay and is referred to as one of the most peaceful towns in the state of Maine. The town also hosts the  Maine Maritime Academy.

20. Cooperstown, New York

Total Population: 1,794

Cooperstown hosts the famous National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Fenimore Art Museum and Glimmerglass Opera are other attractions. Cooperstown is based in Otsego County in New York and is nicknamed as America’s hometown. It offers views of Otsego Lake and many diverse recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The population in Cooperstown was last recorded at 1,794.

19. Lake Placid, New York

Total Population: 2,205

Lake Placid is situated in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York. Nature lovers can especially look forward to choosing Lake Placid as their new home. Residents can enjoy recreational activities such as swimming, kayaking, and hiking while soaking in a small-town charm. Lake Placid boasts an average home price of $368,993 as of April. Lake Placid ranks 19th  among the 25 popular small towns to live in the US.

18. Leavenworth, Washington

Total Population: 2,263

Leavenworth is commonly referred to as Washington’s Bavarian village as the town center has been modeled on a German Bavarian village. Leavenworth hosts only 2,263 but attracts many tourists year-round. While hiking, biking, and rafting can be availed during the summers, the winter season brings snow sports. Leavenworth welcomes everyone with its events and festivals throughout the year and is considered a good place to settle in.

17. Telluride, Colorado

Total Population: 2,607

The town of Telluride is located in San Miguel County in the southwestern portion of the state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population of the town is 2,607. Although the town has been known for being a resort destination, it has kept its historic small-town vibe intact. While Victorian homes can be witnessed in the town streets, the surrounding forested mountains offer outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. The Telluride Historic District serves as one of the 20 national historic landmarks in Colorado.

16. Forks, Washington

Total Population: 3,335

Located in southwest Clallam County in Washington, Forks ranks among the 25 popular small towns to live in the US. The small town is positioned on the Olympic Peninsula and is surrounded by scenic views. The average home price in the local housing market is $338,724 as of April. Forks is popular for being the setting for the Twilight series. For anybody who wishes to reside in a small town with a population of just over 3,000 while pursuing outdoor adventures, Forks is a great option.

15. Kennebunkport, Maine

Total Population: 3,629

Kennebunkport is a resort town in York County in the US state of Maine. The town has a population of 3,629 as recorded by the US Census Bureau. It has also been recommended as one of the best places to live near the coast. Kennebunkport’s Dock Square area has many souvenir shops, art galleries, and seafood restaurants to offer. Waterfront views can also be enjoyed by those who choose Kennebunkport as their next living destination.

14. Millinocket, Maine

Total Population: 4,114

Millinocket is another Maine town that made it to our list of the 25 popular small towns to live in the United States. The town is situated in Penobscot County and last recorded a population of 4,114. Hiking, biking, and fishing are some of the outdoor activities that can be enjoyed while staying in Millinocket. The average Millinocket home value is $139,736 which is affordable for those who want to opt for living in this town.

13. Bar Harbor, Maine

Total Population: 5,089

Bar Harbor has been mentioned as one of the best small towns in the United States. It is located on Mount Desert Island and is home to the largest parts of Acadia National Park. The town has functioned as a known vacation destination where people can look forward to getting an authentic New England experience. Some of the best restaurants in Maine and New England can be found in the town. The population of Bar Harbor is 5,089.

12. Stowe, Vermont

Total Population: 5,223

Lamoille County in the state of Vermont is home to the town of Stowe. The town is known for the Stowe Mountain Resort which has earned it the nickname ‘The Ski Capital of the East’. Residents can also pursue other winter activities including Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and sleigh rides. Downtown Stowe is a quaint place to visit while Bingham Falls can also be witnessed while staying in the town.

11. Moab, Utah

Total Population: 5,366

Moab is situated in eastern Utah which is a popular base for mountain bikers. The nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are major attractions for those visiting Moab. While the town hosts only 5,366 people, there are abundant shops, restaurants, and art galleries to see. Hence, Moab is a popular US small town to settle in.

10. Aspen, Colorado

Total Population: 7,004

The year-round destination Aspen is another popular small town to live in America. The surrounding White River National Forest offers ample opportunities for summertime recreation. Although the local market boasts an average home price as high as $3,403,090, living and availing a range of amenities in one of the country’s top ski towns is a worthy experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

9. Amityville, New York

Total Population: 9,500

Amityville is situated on the South Shore of Long Island in New York. Existing residents enjoy a variety of restaurants, local shops, and bars within walking distance. For some, the small-town feel fosters a close connection and familiarity among the local community. Amityville’s premier coastal location attracts many.

8. Sedona, Arizona

Total Population: 9,684

Sedona ranks 8th on our list of the popular small towns to live in the United States. The red sandstone formations in Sedona tend to be a prominent attraction. Hiking, biking, and sightseeing are available outdoor adventures to undertake. Sedona has been recommended for those who are interested in enjoying an outdoorsy lifestyle in a place with just over 9,000 inhabitants.

7. Port Townsend, Washington

Total Population: 10,148

Port Townsend is located in Jefferson County, Washington. The city is popular for its Victorian buildings and historic downtown. Port Townsend hosts only 10,148 residents which makes it a small Washington city. Fort Worden Historical State Park is also situated in the city. Port Townsend’s scenic beauty and laid-back lifestyle are a good option for retirees and tourists.

6. Beaufort, South Carolina

Total Population: 13,607

Beaufort County in South Carolina hosts the city of Beaufort. The city is quite scenic as it is located on Port Royal Island. Those who wish to seek a living in a family-oriented small place with a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy can resort to Beaufort. Since the city is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, it is also steeped in history which can be explored.

5. Snoqualmie, Washington

Total Population: 14,121

Snoqualmie is based in King County, Washington. Reddit users have deemed Snoqualmie a great place to live based on its strong sense of community and a good school district. Snoqualmie has especially been recommended for those having kids.

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