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For first time, Naperville ranks No. 1 on Niche’s annual best cities in America list

Naperville is the best city in which to live in the country. At least, that’s what Niche says.

Niche is an online rating database that annually ranks and reviews factors that figure into where someone decides to settle down — schools, work, public safety.

On Tuesday, the site released its 2024 lists for Best Places to Live in America. And for the first time ever, Naperville came out on top of the some 230 cities evaluated in this year’s rankings.

It was also named the No. 1 U.S. city to raise a family and the city with the best public schools.

Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli lauded the achievement Tuesday with a post to X (formerly Twitter).

“Ending up on the top of not one, not two, but THREE best-of rankings by Niche doesn’t happen by accident,” he wrote. “We’re so proud to be included on these prestigious lists!”

Wehrli thanked “all who make Naperville what it is.”

Niche’s Best Places to Live rankings take into account valuations in 12 categories, from housing and nightlife to cost of living and commute time.

To determine ratings, Niche uses data from the U.S. Census, FBI, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but also factors in resident reviews. For 2024, Niche evaluated cities — which the site classifies as an urbanized area with a population of 100,000 or more — as well as more than 18,000 “places” that are non-rural towns with a population of 1,000 or more.

Colonial Village in Arlington, Virginia, was cited as the No. 1 place but Naperville took the honors as best city, beating out runners-up that included The Woodlands, Texas, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In the 2024 Niche ratings, Naperville scored A’s in seven categories: public schools, health and fitness, housing, good for families, diversity, jobs and outdoor activities and health. The city got B’s in crime & safety, cost of living, nightlife and commute. Its sole C+ was for weather.

This year marks Niche’s 10th annual year of releasing Best Places to Live rankings. In eight of those 10 years, Naperville has been rated topnotch for its public schools and suitability for raising a family.

Last year, the city came in at No. 4 for Best City to Live in America. Before that, the city sat at No. 3 from 2020 to 2022.

“Choosing where to live is no small task,” Niche CEO and founder Luke Skurman said in a news release. “For 10 years now, our Best Places to Live rankings have served as a compass for navigating those tough choices. … There’s no one-size-fit all formula.

“Our rankings have always aspired to give families, homebuyers, professionals and retirees the data and insights they need to reliably and confidently discover their next place to live.”

Naperville, it seems, is the city to beat.

tkenny@chicagotribune.com