Which Florida Major City is the Best for You To Live or Retire?
In this article you’ll find 6 different lists ranking Florida’s 5 Major cities.
Each list will name the best big cities to live in Florida, based on the following criteria…
- Highest overall quality of life rating
- Best for job seekers
- Ranked by overall cost of living
- Rated by safety based on crime rates
- Ranked by better school districts
- Rated best for retirement
Please note: None of the large Florida cities on this list would qualify for our best places lists. We have prepared this list for those who, for various good good reasons, want to move to Florida but will only consider a major city. There are many places on our best places lists that meet all of our high quality of life requirements, that are located just outside of of these major Florida cities or within a reasonable daily commuting distance.
Here They Are, Florida’s Large Cities
List #1 Best Major Cities to Live in Florida by Highest Overall Quality of Life Ratings
Just like we do for all of our lists, we factor…
- Crime rates
- Employment data
- School ratings
- Cost of living
- Recreation options
- Availability of goods and services per capita
#1 Tampa Highest Overall Quality of Life Ratings
#3 St. Petersburg
#5 Miami Lowest
List #2 Best Major Cities to live in Florida for Employment
You should have no problem finding a job in any of these major Florida cities currently.
We used income per capita, starting with the highest income first (according to the US Census Bureau).
We included the Florida and national average for comparison purposes.
#1 Tampa $32,869 Highest Income
#2 St Petersburg $31,724
National Average $31,177
Florida Average $28,774
#3 Orlando $28,117
#4 Jacksonville $27,486
#5 Miami $24,067 Lowest
List #3 Best Major Cities in Florida by Lowest Cost of Living
Based on the cost of the following items…
- Goods and services
- Health care
This how Florida’s major cities compare, starting with the lowest cost of living first.
#1 Jacksonville Lowest Cost of Living
#2 St Petersburg
#4 Tampa/National average
#5 Miami Highest
- Jacksonville’s cost of living is considerably lower overall than the other places on the list.
- Tampa’s cost of living is about the same as the national average.
- Miami’s cost of living is considerably higher than other places on the list.
List #4 Best Major Cities to Live in Florida by Lowest Crime Rate
Using the total number of crimes per 100,000 people (according to information derived from FBI reporting) for the latest year available, we started with the major Florida city with the lowest total reported crimes first.
The total crimes reported includes both property and violent crimes.
#1 Tampa Lowest Total Crime Rate
#4 St Petersburg
#5 Orlando Highest
List #5 Best Major Cities to Live in Florida for Better School Districts
The quality of education in Florida can vary wildly, even for schools within the same district. This list is an overall comparison.
We would suggest checking which particular school(s) your children would actually be attending, for each neighborhood you might consider.
Here’s a list with the best school district first.
#1 Miami Highest Student Test Scores*
#2 St Petersburg
#5 Jacksonville Lowest
- The list is based on information derived from test scores from the Florida Department of Education.
- *Reporting is based on School Districts which are usually for the entire county in which the city is located.
List #6 Best Major Cities to Retire in Florida in
This list is based solely upon the healthcare quality rating of hospitals located in Florida’s major cities, starting with the city that has the most, higher rated medical facilities.
Please note, it’s been reported that most hospitals in Florida are rated below average.
Our Best Places to Retire in Florida list has 6 towns that offer both, a high quality of life (including low crime rates) and 4 or 5 star hospitals.
#1 Tampa Higher Quality Health Care Ratings
- St. Joseph Hospital, rated 5 stars by Medicare
- Memorial Hospital, rated 4 stars by Medicare
- Florida Hospital Carrollwood, rated 4 stars by Medicare
- Tampa Community Hospital, rated 3 stars by Medicare
- Tampa General Hospital, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Florida Hospital Tampa, rated 1 star by Medicare
- Baptist Medical Center, rated 4 stars by Medicare
- Mayo Clinic, rated 4 stars by medicare
- St. Vincent’s Medical Center Southside, rated 3 stars
- St. Vincents’s Medical Center Riverside, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- UF Health Jacksonville, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, rated 4 stars by Medicare
- Florida Hospital, rated 3 stars by Medicare
#2 St Petersburg
- St Anthony’s Hospital, rated 3 stars by Medicare
- Palms of Pasadena Hospital, rated 3 stars by Medicare
- St Peters General Hospital, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Northside Hospital, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, rated 1 star by Medicare
#5 Miami Lowest
- Kendall Regional Medical Center, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Weschester General Hospital, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- South Miami Hospital, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Baptist Hospital of Miami, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Mount Sinai Medical Center, rated 2 stars by Medicare
- Larkin Community Hospital, rated 1 star by Medicare
- North Shore Medical Center, rated 1 star by Medicare
- Jackson Memorial Hospital, rated 1 star by Medicare
Ron Stack, “That Best Places Guy”
Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.