Skip to main content
An aerial photo of downtown Hickory in the evening with the Best Places to Live logo

Hickory MSA holds “most affordable metro” spot and moves up livability rankings

Hickory, North Carolina tops the list for the second year in a row as America’s most affordable metro and ranks 25th among the country’s best places to live, according to the latest report released by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News analyzed the 150 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to find the best places to live and released the new 2023-2024 rankings on Tuesday. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market, and provide a high quality of life.

With a low cost of living, the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA ranked No. 1 in Most Affordable Places to Live in the United States. This ranking factors in both housing affordability, which looks at the cost of living compared with median household income, and price parity, which examines the cost of goods and services as they compare to the rest of the U.S.

In addition to ranking as the cheapest place to live, Hickory climbed six spots to become No. 25 in Best Places to Live in the United States. Hickory also held its strong ranking as No. 3 in Best Places to Live in North Carolina, just behind Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte.

“A walk or drive through Hickory today reveals a vibrant, revitalized community, abundant with opportunities for a well-crafted life. And it keeps getting better!” said Hickory Mayor Hank Guess. “This repeat recognition in the U.S. News rankings reflects Hickory’s high quality of life, economic vitality, and affordability compared to other metros. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area is a great place to call home thanks to its natural beauty, thriving downtowns, and collaborative partnerships to enhance living.”

To review the full 2023-2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Places to Live rankings report, visit

Learn more about Hickory’s rankings at