For the last decade, many of America's biggest cities have grown more than ever before. But what's the big deal about urban life?

Using data from the United States Census Bureau, we've identified the top 10 biggest cities in the US by population and the reasons more people are moving to them. If you're thinking about relocating, let ADT be your moving guide.


1. New York City, New York


Current Estimated Population: 8.8 million

New York City is fast-paced, diverse and teeming with life at all hours. The heart of that dynamism is the amount of businesses headquartered in New York City. While they may have started careers closer to home, New York is where many professionals go to take it to the next level.

While NYC is home to world-famous attractions like the Empire State Building and Times Square, New Yorkers have plenty of other things to do, such as:

  • Watching the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Giants and Nets play

  • Exploring dizzying amount of art and history museums including the MoMA and Guggenheim

  • Finding hidden shops and restaurants nestled in the five boroughs

  • Finding peace in green, quiet Fort Tryon Park (the local alternative to Central Park)

In a city of almost 9 million people, you'd expect to always have something to do. In NYC, it's certainly true.


2. Los Angeles, California


Current Estimated Population: 3.9 million

Los Angeles proper has almost 5 million fewer residents than New York City, but the entire LA metropolitan area is home to almost 13 million people. Like New York, it's bustling with commerce, but the main attraction is the ever-growing tech industry. The warm climate and diverse cultural opportunities don't hurt, either.

For families and culturally-minded people, there are more than enough attractions to keep life interesting in LA:

  • A diverse and booming restaurant scene

  • Disneyland and Universal Studios

  • World-renowned museums including the Getty and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

  • Hollywood

  • Numerous piers and beaches

While any of these attractions make Los Angeles a great vacation spot, the overall diverse, artsy atmosphere makes its residents proud to call the city home.


3. Chicago, Illinois


Current Estimated Population: 2.7 million

If LA and NYC are coastal beacons of industry, Chicago, Illinois, is their Midwest counterpart. While it offers similar career opportunities, the cost of living in Chicago is much lower than its coastal competition. Combine that with robust public transportation, many massive parks and its Midwestern charm, Chicago is one of the greatest cities to live in.

If you're looking for something to do in Chicago, check out:

  • The Lincoln Park Zoo

  • The Art Institute of Chicago

  • Navy Pier

  • The luxury shops of Michigan Avenue


4. Houston, Texas


Current Estimated Population: 2.3 Million

In 2021, more people moved to Texas than any other state. Houston is one of the main draws. Its cost of living is slightly less than national averages. While Texas's sales tax is on the higher end, there is no income tax. Add that to the fact that there are 24 Fortune 500 companies in Houston (the third highest in the nation) and the city becomes a great place to buy a home, advance your career and raise a family.

Houston isn't all cowboy boots and rodeos. The city is home to:

  • Numerous school districts and more than 300 private schools

  • Nationally-recognized hospitals like Houston Methodist

  • The Space Center of Houston

  • A large aquarium and zoo

Like LA, these attractions can largely be enjoyed without the threat of freezing temperatures.  


5. Phoenix, Arizona


Current Estimated Population: 1.7 million

If you're thinking about moving to cities without cold temperatures, it doesn't get much better than Phoenix, Arizona. While the cost of living in Phoenix is slightly higher than average, low property taxes make it one of the best cities for retirees on fixed incomes. For younger people, downtown Phoenix and many nearby neighborhoods are full of bars, restaurants and clubs.

Around the Valley of the Sun, you'll find:

  • Plenty of parks with unique desert landscapes

  • Museums such as the Heard Museum that celebrate Native American culture

  • Old Town Scottsdale with its funky shops and Bohemian vibes

  • Child-friendly destinations including the Arizona Science Center

As one of the sunniest cities in the US, there's plenty of time to enjoy everything Phoenix has to offer.


6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Current Estimated Population: 1.6 million

Though it's one of the most historically-important cities in the US, the cost of living in Philadelphia is only slightly higher than national averages and lower than many of its East Coast counterparts. As an added bonus, Philly residents often make 15% more than their colleagues in other cities in the US.

To many locals, the City of Brotherly Love doesn't feel like a city —each distinct neighborhood feels like a small town with big city energy. Around its many neighborhoods, residents will find:

  • Numerous historical sites that played a part in our nation's formation (Liberty Bell Pavilion, Independence Hall, etc.)

  • Many institutions of higher learning such as the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Drexel University

  • Over 300 parks and 166 miles of trails

  • Public transportation and biking paths

Despite the heavy traffic, travelers will love Philadelphia for its proximity to Washington, DC, Boston and New York City.


7. San Antonio, Texas


Current Estimated Population: 1.5 million

While San Antonio isn't the smallest city by population on this list, it's the least dense city in the top 10. It shares the same tax situation as Houston (no income taxes, higher sales tax), but the cost of living in San Antonio, Texas, is cheaper than state and national averages. These factors combine to make San Antonio the home of affordable housing and country charm.

You and your family won't be bored after moving to San Antonio. In this top-10 city, you'll find:

  • The River Walk, San Antonio's cultural centerpiece surrounded by bridges, shaded banks and plenty of local shops

  • The world-famous Alamo

  • Mission trail, a hiking trail connecting Mission San Juan and Mission Espada

  • Farmer's markets throughout the city

  • Caverns, parks and botanical gardens

Potential residents will be drawn in by these living conditions, attractions and the warm climate.


8. San Diego, California


Current Estimated Population: 1.4 million

This So-Cal city earned its nickname of America's Finest City. Workers across a number of industries enjoy wages 14% above national averages. For students working on their secondary and post-secondary degrees, there are 23 universities to choose from, with 3 making the Forbes Top 100 Colleges list.

Life in San Diego isn't all work and academics — it's quite a fun place to live, too, with:

  • Beaches for sunbathers, athletes and sight-seers

  • Over 160 breweries

  • The 1,200-acre Balboa Park that includes a zoo, art museums, science museums and much more

  • Historic Old Town and its Mexican eateries — the places SoCal residents endlessly brag about.

Like California's other entries on this top 10 cities list, San Diego is fresh, breezy and sunny.


9. Dallas, Texas


Current Estimated Population: 1.3 million

Texas rivals California by having three entries on this top 10 cities list. Dallas keeps the Lone Star state in the competition with its strong economy and only slightly above-average cost of living. The Walton Foundation places the Dallas-Fort Worth metro as number 27 on its list of the most dynamic economies in the US. According to the report, Dallas recently added more jobs than any other metro area in the country.

If the booming job market isn't enough to draw you to Dallas, the culture will. If you're moving to Dallas, you have a lot to look forward to:

  • Scenic weekend trolley rides from Uptown to the artsy downtown district full of hip shops

  • Cowboys games at AT&T stadium

  • Shopping at Highland Park Village, the US's first outdoor shopping mall

  • Museums for history buffs and kids alike

On top of that, Dallas is home to some great Texas BBQ that'll have you abandoning your weekly meal prep plans.


10. San Jose, California


Current Estimated Population: 1 million

At $109,593, San Jose has one of the highest median household incomes in the US. According to Forbes, San Jose is the fifth-best city in terms of education, 29th in job growth and 42nd in business and career opportunities. In 2021, San Jose dethroned San Francisco as the number one city for small businesses. For those reasons alone, San Jose is the perfect city to round out our list of top 10 US cities by population.

At just over a million residents, there aren't many cities of a similar size that have the same opportunities as San Jose. For leisure, new residents should check out:

  • Truly unique museums like the bizarre and mysterious Winchester House

  • The San Pedro Square Market with its numerous Mexican, Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants and vendors

  • Gardens and parks on frequently mild, sunny days

  • California's Great America amusement park and the Raging Waters water park

Surrounded by the tech giants of Silicon Valley and full of rich local events, San Jose is the perfect city for techies to move to and settle down.


Bring ADT With You to Any of the US's Top 10 Cities


No matter which of these cities you call home, let ADT help keep your life in order. From smart home automation to home security cameras and life safety alarms, ADT helps make anywhere feel a little more like home. Moving to a big new city is complicated — home security doesn't have to be. Contact ADT to find a home security provider near you.


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