The Best Cities For A Fresh Start

By Kathy Morris
Aug. 13, 2020

Find a Job You Really Want In

Ready to start over fresh?

Maybe you’ve lost your job or are drowning in debt. Perhaps you are at a crossroads in your personal life and want to go somewhere no one knows your name. Whatever the reason, you’re ready to pack up and head to new horizons. But where is the grass actually greener? And where is it just dirt?

We analyzed the data to find the most affordable cities that offer good job opportunities and promising social opportunities.

10 Best Cities For A Fresh Start

  1. New Bedford, Massachusetts
  2. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  3. Paterson, New Jersey
  4. Brockton, Massachusetts
  5. Worcester, Massachusetts
  6. Newport News, Virginia
  7. South Bend, Indiana
  8. Newton, Massachusetts
  9. Little Rock, Arkansas
  10. Fall River, Massachusetts

Keep reading to see why these cities are a great place to start over- and how we determined this.


We examined 406 cities with a population over 70,000 to find the best cities to start over from scratch.

We ranked each city on:

  • Median rent for a 1 bedroom apartment (The cheaper the better to secure a living situation with less cash)
  • Percent of married households (Less married couples, the better opportunities for dating and friend making)
  • Unemployment rate (Lower unemployment, the better for landing a gig)
  • Median Income (The higher income, the better for establishing yourself)

All of our data came from the 2018 Census’ ACS.

Keep reading to learn more about the top 10, and see the other cities where it’s easiest to start over fresh.

1. New Bedford, Massachusetts


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $620
Average Income: $32,245

2. Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Source: |PD

Rent For 1 Bedroom: $587
Average Income: $35,130

3. Paterson, New Jersey


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $980
Average Income: $32,540

4. Brockton, Massachusetts


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $403
Average Income: $36,658

5. Worcester, Massachusetts


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $826
Average Income: $34,572

6. Newport News, Virginia


Source: Etombari|GFDL

Rent For 1 Bedroom: $818
Average Income: $31,642

7. South Bend, Indiana


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $679
Average Income: $27,935

8. Newton, Massachusetts


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $726
Average Income: $60,049

9. Little Rock, Arkansas


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $729
Average Income: $33,847

10. Fall River, Massachusetts


Rent For 1 Bedroom: $578
Average Income: $32,205

The places where it’s easiest to start from scratch

There you have, the 10 cities where it’s easiest to show up and establish a new life for yourself. Low unemployment means finding a new job will be easier in these cities and judging by the median salary, the jobs are fairly decent. Affordable 1-bedrooms mean the steepest moving cost (first and last month’s rent and a security deposit) are lower than other cities.

Of course, what’s a new city without new friends (and maybe more?). These cities also have more single folks. And isn’t that nice?

None of the 10 cities your style? Don’t worry, we rounded up the top 100 best cities for starting over fresh.

100 Best Cities To Start Over Fresh

Rank City
1 New Bedford, Massachusetts
2 Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3 Paterson, New Jersey
4 Brockton, Massachusetts
5 Worcester, Massachusetts
6 Newport News, Virginia
7 South Bend, Indiana
8 Newton, Massachusetts
9 Little Rock, Arkansas
10 Fall River, Massachusetts
11 Independence, Missouri
12 Billings, Montana
13 Miramar, Florida
14 McAllen, Texas
15 Metairie, Louisiana
15 Mobile, Alabama
17 Mesquite, Texas
18 Elizabeth, New Jersey
19 Yakima, Washington
20 Green Bay, Wisconsin
21 Durham, North Carolina
22 Beaumont, Texas
23 Oklahoma City Oklahoma
24 Amarillo, Texas
25 Bloomington, Minnesota
26 Manchester, New Hampshire
27 St. Louis, Missouri
28 Livonia, Michigan
29 Lakeland, Florida
30 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
31 Whittier, California
32 Winston-Salem, North Carolina
33 Sioux Falls, South Dakota
34 Odessa, Texas
35 San Angelo, Texas
36 Baltimore, Maryland
37 Kansas City, Missouri
38 Columbus, Ohio
39 Midland, Texas
40 Tracy, California
41 Richmond, Virginia
42 Rochester, Minnesota
43 Bend, Oregon
44 Lee’s Summit, Missouri
45 Salt Lake City, Utah
46 Spokane Valley, Washington
47 Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
48 Cincinnati, Ohio
49 Buffalo, New York
50 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
51 Beaverton, Oregon
52 Fayetteville, Arkansas
53 St. Petersburg,Florida
54 Raleigh, North Carolina
55 Nashville, Tennessee
56 Lubbock, Texas
57 Des Moines, Iowa
58 Everett, Washington
59 Dallas,Texas
60 Tyler, Texas
61 Kent, Washington
62 Joliet, Illinois
63 San Leandro, California
64 Arlington, Texas
65 Lehigh, Florida
66 Topeka, Kansas
67 Roswell, Georgia
68 St. Paul, Minnesota
69 Edmond, Oklahoma
70 North Charleston, South Carolina
71 Olathe, Kansas
72 Providence, Rhode Island
73 Overland Park, Kansas
74 Laredo, Texas
75 Springfield, Massachusetts
76 Tulsa, Oklahoma
77 Louisville, Kentucky
78 Sandy Springs, Georgia
79 Reno, Nevada
80 Springfield, Missouri
81 Waco, Texas
82 Tuscaloosa, Alabama
83 Wichita, Kansas
84 Huntsville, Alabama
85 Abilene, Texas
86 Lincoln, Nebraska
87 Clovis, California
88 Montgomery, Alabama
89 Vacaville, California
90 Tucson, Arizona
91 Phoenix, Arizona
92 Hampton, Virginia
93 Miami, Florida
94 Fargo, North Dakota
95 Yonkers, New York
96 Carmel, Indiana
97 Elgin, Illinois
98 Albuquerque, New Mexico
99 Norman, Oklahoma
100 Roanoke, Virginia

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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Topics: Rankings