Huntsville, Alabama, was named the best place to live in America in 2022.

U.S. News & World Report releases a list of the best places to live in America every year.
Its 2022 ranking for the best places to live looked at five metrics: job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration.
The best place to live in America is Huntsville, Alabama, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado.

When deciding where to put down roots, many factors are in the eye of the beholder, such as climate, politics, or proximity to extended family.

Other aspects are desirable to nearly everyone: affordable housing, access to well-paying jobs, a low cost of living, good schools, and quality healthcare. In its ranking of the best places to live in America for 2022, U.S. News & World Report gathered data on these crucial components for more than 100 US cities.

U.S. News categorized the data into five indexes for each city — job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration — to definitively rank these major metro areas. You can read U.S. News’ full methodology here.

Scores for “value,” a blend of annual household income and cost of living, and “quality of life,” which accounts for crime, college readiness, commute, and other factors, are included below on a 10-point scale, as well as the city’s population and average annual salary.

Huntsville, Alabama, came out on top, while Colorado Springs trailed close behind.

Keep reading to discover the 50 best places to live in America.

50. Peoria, Illinois

Peoria is quickly becoming a place where families comfortably occupy the suburbs while the youth can enjoy new entertainment districts.

In the warmer months, festivals pop up around the city each weekend, and nature lovers have access to trails for hiking, hunting, and biking.

Population: 403,747

Average annual salary: $54,330

Quality of life: 6.6 (out of 10)

Value index: 8.2

49. Charleston, South CarolinaCharleston, South Carolina.

Charleston’s charming, historic, and sophisticated ambiance is exemplary of southern culture. “Not only is the area overflowing with entertainment and good food, but this low country locale is also gorgeous,” said a local expert.

Tourism is booming in Charleston, creating plenty of jobs, especially in the summer months. Year-round, jobs in tech, sales, marketing, and advertising keep the city’s economy strong.

Population: 790,955

Average annual salary: $50,810

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 6.1

 

48. Fort Wayne, IndianaFort Wayne, Indiana.

The Rust Belt hub of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is being revitalized as of late. Manufacturers including General Motors and BAE Systems have brought jobs to the area, while its economy is seeing a spike from young people eager to move downtown from the suburbs.

“With its low cost of living and quiet neighborhoods, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is an excellent place to buy a house, start a career, launch a business and raise children,” a local expert said.

Population: 409,419

Average annual salary: $48,060

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 8.4

 

47. Hartford, ConnecticutHartford, Connecticut.

Located in the Connecticut River Valley, Hartford was once the home to notable historic figures, including Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Among the city’s historic attractions, today it offers nearby entertainment venues, ski slopes, state parks.

The aerospace, healthcare, and financial services industries dominate the job market in Hartford, which is home to Aetna Inc., United Technologies Corp., and Hartford Hospital.

Population: 1,205,842

Average annual salary: $65,750

Quality of life: 7.2

Value index: 6.1

 

 

46. Asheville, North CarolinaAsheville, North Carolina.

It’s no surprise why the mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina, is beloved by tourists and residents alike. Nestled in between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, Asheville is a magnet for outdoor lovers as well as fans of music, art, and craft beer.

Population: 459,344

Average annual salary: $46,310

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 6.7

 

 

45. Buffalo, New YorkSkyline of Buffalo, New York.

Located only 20 miles away from the tourist destination, Niagara Falls, Buffalo offers a more tight-knit community. Residents of Buffalo can enjoy a game of two of their beloved professional sports teams or ski the slopes in the winter.

Nearby are the Allegheny National Forest and Letchworth State Park for nature enthusiasts, and art lovers can enjoy cultural attractions as well.

Population: 1,129,018

Average annual salary: $53,300

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 7.8

44. Pensacola, FloridaPensacola, Florida.

This diverse area is home to a 10-day fiesta, gorgeous beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico, and great areas for fishing. Pensacola received high marks for desirability and net migration, meaning more and more people are interested in moving to this beautiful part of the country. 

Population: 496,278

Average annual salary: $45,170

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 6.5

 

43. Greenville, South CarolinaGreenville, South Carolina.

Once a sleepy small town, Greenville has witnessed a cultural revival in recent years, complete with an influx of new restaurants and businesses. Though the summers can get hot, the city’s typically mild weather makes it possible to explore downtown on foot any time of the year.

An influx of manufacturing jobs has also boosted Greenville’s economy, with brand-name companies, such as GE and Michelin, setting up shop in town.

Population: 908,680

Average annual salary: $47,100

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 8.0

 

 

42. Rochester, New YorkRochester, New York skyline.

History meets modernity in Rochester as the city has made strides to preserve its roots while updating its downtown to make it more attractive to suburban residents.

In the winter, Rochester offers ski slopes and sledding hills while they have access to Lake Ontario during the summer for boating and fishing.

Population: 1,071,784

Average annual salary: $54,550

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 7.0

41. Cincinnati, OhioCincinnati, Ohio.

Cincinnati is a city that loves its food, sports, and culture. There’s something for everyone in the Midwest’s Queen City, from a strong job market to a busy event calendar filled with museums, baseball, and local heritage events.

Residents appreciate the city’s affordability — housing there is cheaper than the national average, despite Cincinnati being one of the 30 biggest metro areas in the US.

Population: 2,214,265

Average annual salary: $53,650

Quality of life: 6.7

Value: 7.8

 

40. Kalamazoo, Michigan

The small-town atmosphere of Kalamazoo calls to anyone intrigued by chili cook-offs and farmers markets. It’s a hot spot for lovers of arts and culture.

Visitors of the city can enjoy craft breweries, museums, and live music during their time in Kalamazoo.

Population: 264,322

Average annual salary: $51,480

Quality of life: 6.5

Value index: 8.0

39. Tampa, Florida

Tampa residents can enjoy the laid-back vibes of the beach while maintaining access to a metropolitan area full of entertainment options — including an NFL team.

It was once home to the “Cigar Capital of the World” and the Tampa Bay metro area includes the beaches of St. Petersburg.

Population: 3,152,928

Average annual salary: $51,770

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 5.9

38. Syracuse, New YorkSyracuse, New York.

Syracuse is a haven for lovers of winter, but this central New York city is one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the US. Wine lovers will delight in its proximity to the Finger Lakes where they can enjoy some of the best wine the region has to offer.

The city offers a city center that’s only a short distance from surrounding suburbs, and it’s only four hours away from New York City.

Population: 650,211

Average annual salary: $54,890

Quality of life: 7.7

Value index: 7.0

37. Myrtle Beach, South CarolinaMyrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular vacation destination.

Popular vacation destination Myrtle Beach is rife with job opportunities in the hospitality industry thanks to tourism from beachgoers. The tourist hot spot offers recreational activities, quality restaurants, and mild weather.

The low income taxes and company incentives make an ideal home for small business owners.

Population: 481,489

Average annual salary: $39,250

Quality of life: 6.0

Value index: 6.4

36. Seattle, WashingtonSeattle, Washington.

Seattle is sandwiched between water and mountains and doesn’t get as much rain as you’d think, said one local expert. The city’s residents are drawn to the area for its atmosphere of “calm and patience” and its close proximity to nature. 

Jobs in Seattle are concentrated in tech, healthcare, and maritime industries, but the city is also a huge manufacturing center for companies like Boeing.

Population: 3,928,498

Average annual salary: $74,330

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 5.4

 

 

35. Harrisburg, PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Located on the banks of the Susquehanna River and the foothills of the Appalachian Trail, Harrisburg offers residents unlimited access to the outdoors.

Many are employed by the state and federal government in Harrisburg, but there’s also several large private-sector companies that are top employers, including Hershey’s, Rite Aid, and D&H Distributing.

Population: 574,691

Average annual salary: $52,700

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 7.6

 

34. Lexington-Fayette, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky.

Lexington, Kentucky, is known as the horse capital of the world, and residents are especially proud of their city’s reputation for equestrian. On top of world-famous horse parks and racecourses, the area has more than 1,000 horse farms, not to mention streets named after Triple Crown winners and a bevy of horse statues in parks around the city. But love of equestrian activities isn’t the only thing Lexington offers.

Younger residents move there for its college-town feel and appreciation for local sports and music. And the area is a haven for fans of the outdoors — the nearby Red River Gorge and Cumberland Falls are scenic places for residents to explore their surroundings.

Population: 514,273

Average annual salary: $48,150

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 7.6

 

 

33. Knoxville, TennesseeKnoxville, Tennessee.

For sports enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike, Knoxville, Tennessee, is a great place to call home. Close to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Ijams Nature Center, getting outdoors and enjoying nature is a breeze in this Southern city. 

Population: 861,872

Average annual salary: $47,740

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 7.9

 

32. Dallas-Fort Worth, TexasDallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

A healthy balance of urban and rural, Dallas offers residents “big-city excitement and quiet, suburban living,” shared one local expert. There’s local bars, retail shops, and plenty of sports spirit to satisfy the huge population. The city — with large employers in business, finance, and education — is teeming with young professionals.

Population: 7,451,858

Average annual salary: $56,190

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 6.7

 

31. Hickory, North Carolina

Located just an hour outside of Charlotte, Hickory is garnering attention from young professionals after being home to mostly retirees and families. 

Residents have access to the mountains of Asheville an hour west and local art around town by way of outdoor sculptures and art galleries. Tech giants Apple and Google each have data centers here.

Population: 367,982

Average annual salary: $43,630

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 8.9

30. Charlotte, North CarolinaCharlotte, North Carolina.

A “melting pot effect” draws all types of people to Charlotte, a place with “equal parts old-fashioned southern charm and high-energy cosmopolitan bustle,” touted one local expert. NASCAR and motorsports are a cultural cornerstone of Charlotte.

The Queen City houses Bank of America’s headquarters and major offices for Wells Fargo, making it one of the largest financial hubs in the country.

Population: 2,595,027

Average annual salary: $55,330

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 7.1

 

 

29. Omaha, Nebraska29. Omaha, Nebraska.

Due to a combination of Omaha’s history of cattle ranching and its current landscape of bustling tech startups, the city has earned the nickname “Silicon Prairie.” Plus, eight Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Omaha, including Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Mutual of Omaha.

Young professionals and families are attracted to the city primarily for its affordability, safety, and strong economy.

Population: 940,163

Average annual salary: $53,050

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 7.7

 

 

28. Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln is the capital city of Nebraska and home to the Cornhuskers of University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although the city attracts thousands of college football fans and students in the fall, the low cost of living keeps people around.

It’s home to large tech companies – such as Hudl and Spreetail – as part of the Midwest “Silicon Prairie.”

Population: 333,193

Average annual salary: $50,240

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 7.7

27. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MinnesotaSt. Paul, Minnesota.

The Twin Cities have “big-city amenities like museums and sports stadiums, but also have an approachable, Midwestern feel,” according to a local expert. Residents are accustomed to the area’s changing seasons, participating in ice fishing and cross-country skiing in the winter and music festivals and baseball games in the spring and summer.

Jobs are available in science-focused fields at companies like Xcel Energy and Medtronic as well as retail corporations like Best Buy and Target.

Population: 3,605,450

Average annual salary: $62,560

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 7.2

 

 

26. Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh is taking steps to rehabilitate its industrial reputation with increasing amounts of green spaces and state parks.

Local expert Cheryl Werber also explains that more and more companies are also migrating to the Steel City, bringing exciting job opportunities to the area. Housing in Pittsburgh is also more affordable than other major cities, despite rates slowly beginning to rise.

Population: 2,234,447

Average annual salary: $54,300

Quality of life: 6.6

Value: 8.3

25. Nashville, TennesseeNashville, Tennessee.

Honky-tonk culture and an entrepreneurial spirit define Nashville.

“A blossoming job market and an exploding entertainment scene [are] fueling an appetite (and thirst) for all things locally sourced and artisanal in craft,” a local expert said. Thousands of residents work in healthcare at the area’s large hospitals and research centers, small startups, and business accelerator programs.

Population: 1,904,186

Average annual salary: $52,170

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 6.7

 

24. Jacksonville, FloridaJacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville’s beach-adjacent location makes it ideal for outdoor activities. In addition to spending lazy days in the sand, residents can also visit the area’s prime golf courses or go hiking, camping, and kayaking in the nearby parks. Jacksonville also continues to grow, with burgeoning art and music scenes, as well as new business development, according to a local expert.

Population: 1,533,796

Average annual salary: $49,940

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 6.1

 

 

23. Salt Lake City, UtahSalt Lake City, Utah.

Salt Lake City might experience some of the snowiest weather in the country, but residents make the most of it through the multitude of ski resorts perched in the city’s backyard. In warmer weather, residents can take advantage of Salt Lake’s more than 900 acres of public parks and enjoy outdoor performances from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square.

Population: 2,522,032

Average annual salary: $52,094

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 7.0

 

22. Portland, OregonPortland, Oregon.

Portland isn’t for everybody — its slogan is “Keep Portland Weird,” after all. But one local expert asserts that it’s a “well-rounded city with more than just the offbeat shops and events” and a population that has “more academic degrees than the national average.”

Major employer Intel Corporation calls Portland home, as well as the headquarters for Nike, located about seven miles outside of Portland.

Population: 2,472,774

Average annual salary: $61,860

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 5.6

 

 

21. Albany, New YorkAlbany, New York.

Despite the snowy winters, living in Albany comes with several advantages. Albany offers a cost of living lower than the national average and the cost of housing sits well below the rest of the US as a whole. In terms of jobs, the city’s state government and health care companies are Albany’s primary industries for residents there.

Albany’s downtown is lined with art galleries, wine shops, and churches for visitors to peruse. In keeping with the city’s cold climate, hockey is the sport of choice for residents.

Population: 880,766

Average annual salary: $58,880

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 7.5

 

 

20. Melbourne, FloridaMelbourne, Florida.

Between fishing, boating, and a plethora of bars and restaurants, there’s never a shortage of things to do in the Melbourne area. The city’s ripe with retirees and “snowbirds” — people who split their time between colder climates in the summer and Florida in the winter — who can enjoy days on one of the many nearby golf courses and nights out exploring the local shops and art galleries.

Population: 594,001

Average annual salary: $51,740

Quality of life: 7.0

Value index: 6.6

 

 

19. Washington, DCWashington, DC.

The District’s neighborhoods each give off their own vibe, but across the city residents often “gather for block parties, mingle at dog parks, and converse at coffee shops,” explained a local expert. While Washington, DC, is known as a hub for politics, there’s also a strong job market for education and health services.

Population: 6,250,309

Average annual salary: $77,210

Quality of life: 7.0

Value index: 5.8

 

 

18. Boston, MassachusettsBoston, Massachusetts.

Boston attracts a diverse group of residents, including everyone from recent college graduates to retirees and musicians to engineers. The historical city — often referred to as the “Cradle of Liberty,” according to one local expert — also overflows with team spirit for the Red Sox and 2017 Super Bowl champions, the Patriots.

Population: 4,854,808

Average annual salary: $73,850

Quality of life: 7.2

Value index: 5.2

 

 

17. Madison, WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s capital is a “hotbed of the healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing industries,” said a local expert. The area is also home to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, providing hundreds of jobs in education. 

Madison has a unique food culture that’s a blend of fine dining and farmer’s markets catering to the city’s college students, young professionals, and families.

Population: 660,212

Average annual salary: $57,680

Quality of life: 7.3

Value index: 6.8

 

 

16. Grand Rapids, MichiganGrand Rapids, Michigan.

Grand Rapids attracts “college students and young families with its healthy job market, affordable housing, and outdoor recreational activities,” said a local expert. The self-proclaimed “Beer City USA” has more than 80 breweries as well as dynamic public art and music scenes.

Once a hub for furniture production, Grand Rapids’ job market is now dominated by education and healthcare, with many opportunities for workers without a college degree.

Population: 1,069,696

Average annual salary: $49,700

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 8.2

 

 

15. Boise, IdahoBoise, Idaho.

Idaho’s capital city is “a recreationalist’s paradise,” according to one local expert, who also said Boise sits “squarely on the boundary of urban and rural, civilized and wild, refined and raw.” The region is home to more than 25,000 Boise State University students and provides jobs at government agencies as well as in tech and healthcare.

Population: 730,483

Average annual salary:$49,010

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 7.0

 

 

14. Des Moines, IowaDes Moines, Iowa.

Des Moines is drawing millennials and young families alike for its “one-of-a-kind shops, locally-owned restaurants, and hip bars” as well as its historical residences in quiet neighborhoods, said a local expert. Home to more than 80 insurance companies including giants Allied Insurance and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the job market is thriving.

Population: 690,585

Average annual salary: $55,660

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 8.0

 

13. Austin, Texas

The capital of Texas gains about 150 new residents daily, many seeking out the city’s “music, outdoor spaces, and cultural institutions,” said a local expert.

Austin is beloved for its live music scene and is host to some of the country’s biggest music and culture festivals, including South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. The city was nicknamed “Silicon Hills” in the 1990s for its status as “among the top areas for venture capital investment in the country.”

Population: 2,173,804

Average annual salary: $57,830

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 6.3

 

12. Naples, Florida

Naples sits between the Everglades and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. With its sunny beaches, fine dining, and golf courses, it attracts many older, wealthy residents, including retirees and snowbirds. Tourism and frequent development means jobs in the hospitality and construction industries dominate.

Population: 379,345

Average annual salary: $50,040

Quality of life: 7.4

Value index: 5.2

11. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is primarily known as a college town but is attracting more full-time residents downtown and along its outskirts. Born in the mid-1800s, the city is set among hills, with the Huron River running through it.

Residents will find plenty to do outdoors throughout the year, from kayaking to ice skating. More than 90% of residents live within 10 minutes of a public park by walk, according to the Trust for Public Land.

Population: 368,385

Average annual salary: $59,200

Quality of life: 8.0

Value index: 6.5

10. San Francisco, CaliforniaSan Francisco, California.

A local expert described San Francisco as “the heart of the bohemian lifestyle, the epicenter of the LGBT rights movement, and the launching point of the technology era.” In the last decade, thousands of tech companies have raced to set up shop in the Bay Area, sending the cost of living through the roof.

But despite all the focus on the tech and startup scene, the city also has plenty of business jobs available with more than 30 international finance headquarters.

Population: 4,709,220

Average annual salary: $81,840

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 5.1

 

9. Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida.

Sarasota boasts “warm temperatures year-round, award-winning beaches, and a thriving arts and cultural scene,” said a local expert. The biggest employers in Sarasota are in education, trade, and transportation, and the leisure and hospitality sector touts a low unemployment rate powered by a recent increase in tourism and a flood of new residents.

Population: 821,613

Average annual salary:$48,180

Quality of life: 7.0

Value index: 6.2

 

 

8. Portland, MainePortland, Maine.

Located right on the water at Casco Bay and lined with cobblestone streets, Portland immediately evokes the quaintness of a much smaller town. Between fishing, sailing, cross-country skiing, and exploring the city’s buzzing nightlife, there’s no shortage of things to do. Seafood lovers can nosh on fresh catches at the city’s modern oyster bars and or grab one of Maine’s signature lobster rolls.

Population: 536,314

Average annual salary: $55,790

Quality of life: 7.2

Value index: 6.6

 

 

7. Fayetteville, ArkansasFayetteville, Arkansas.

Fayetteville sits among the Ozark Mountains and is home to the University of Arkansas’ flagship campus. The surrounding area of northwest Arkansas is home to headquarters for seven Fortune 500 companies including Walmart and Tyson Foods.

The city has experienced immense growth, according to a local expert, who said the region has evolved “from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism.”

Population: 526,101

Average annual salary: $50,470

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 8.3

 

6. Raleigh-Durham, North CarolinaRaleigh, North Carolina.

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are collectively known as the Triangle, an area anchored by its foundation in research and tech. The Triangle employs nearly 40,000 residents at companies like IBM, SAS Institute Inc., and Cisco Systems as well as surrounding colleges Duke, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A strong job market coupled with a burgeoning microbrewery and dining scene draws new residents every day, said a local expert.

Population: 1,999,253

Average annual salary: $59,174

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 7.1

5. San Jose, CaliforniaSan Jose, California.

The sprawling city of San Jose is “as much defined by its suburban neighborhoods and large tech campuses as it is by the high-rises in its business district,” said a local expert. Young residents and recent graduates of nearby Stanford and UC Berkeley have no trouble finding jobs in the area, which touts Facebook, Google, and Apple as its largest private-sector employers.

Population: 1,985,926

Average annual salary: $93,450

Quality of life: 7.6

Value index: 5.5

 

 

4. Boulder, Colorado

There’s never a shortage of outdoor fun to be had in Boulder, with more than 60 parks and 155 miles of hiking trails at residents’ disposal. Downtown, locals enjoy the prominent arts scene, craft breweries, and farmer’s markets. Major employers in Boulder include companies in the technology, aerospace, and bioscience industries.

Population: 324,682

Average annual salary: $70,450

Quality of life: 7.7

Value index: 5.1

 

3. Green Bay, Wisconsin

The oldest settlement in Wisconsin, Green Bay used to be a key shipping center. Today, it’s better known as the home of the Green Bay Packers. Residents can enjoy craft breweries and wineries, boutique shopping, museums and art galleries, and outdoor fun on trails and the Fox River.

Some of Green Bay’s largest employers include insurance companies like UnitedHealth Group and Humana and shipping firms like Georgia-Pacific.

Population: 320,827

Average annual salary: $50,020

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 8.5

 

2. Colorado Springs, ColoradoColorado Springs, Colorado.

Colorado Springs is “booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks, and cultural attractions,” touts a local expert. The city is just an hour’s drive from Denver and in close proximity to Aspen and Vail’s world-class ski resorts. Military jobs influence Colorado Springs’ culture and economy, but jobs are also available in medical innovation and tech.

Population: 735,480

Average annual salary: $55,540

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 5.7

 

 

1. Huntsville, AlabamaHuntsville, Alabama.

The once-sleepy town of Huntsville, Alabama, gained fame in the 1960s when it became a hub for NASA. Now Huntsville is undergoing another renaissance, with tech companies, craft breweries, and artists all flocking to the town in recent years.

Huntsville is the fastest-growing city in Alabama, and residents are enjoying an emerging downtown shopping and dining scene even as the city maintains a low cost of living. If you can handle the heat and humidity, you might find yourself at home there.

Population: 464,607

Average annual salary: $58,730

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 8.5

 

 

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