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Best Cities for Living
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Photo: Greg Phillips
Ever get the urge to change your job and move to a new community? Since you’re probably not alone in dreaming of what might be, various media periodically promote best places to live.

Take for example, the cover story of the June 2006 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Titled “50 Smart Places to Live,” the subhead says, “You told us your ideal city is fun, vibrant, and affordable. We found dozens that fit the bill.”

The article started with the story of a couple in their early 40s who decided to leave busy lives in Washington, DC. They apparently spent six months on the process and described it, “We were ready for a life change, and the road trip was amazing.”

Several Kiplinger’s staff researched sources of recommended cities (“Cities Ranked and Rated” by Bert Sperling, published by Wiley, $25 and www.BestPlaces.net). Criteria included attractive and affordable housing ($300,000-$400,000 or less), access to good medical care, and a robust economy. But finding facts was just the start.

Top Ten Picks

“Next, we traveled to the cities that bubbled to the top of the list, to speak with residents and savor the flavor of their neighborhoods. Based on our experiences, we ranked our top-ten picks. . .”

1.      Nashville, TN (“music is just the beginning”)

2.      Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (“cosmopolitan gem”)

3.      Albuquerque, NM (“resort town ambiance, boomtown economy, cowtown prices”)

4.      Atlanta, GA (“best of the new South”)

5.      Austin, TX (“sophisticated salsa of culture, history, and politics”)

6.      Kansas City, MO/KS (“something for everyone…at prices to dream of”)

7.      Asheville, NC (“effortlessly blends its distinctive voices”)

8.      Ithaca, NY (“Ivy League outpost with great food, beautiful scenery. . .”)

9.      Pittsburgh, PA (“the largest small town I know.”)

10.  Iowa City, IA (“wholesome middle-American town bursting with creative and intellectual energy.”)

In addition to Atlanta, Philadelphia ranked in the top 50.

This is how other highly populated metropolitan areas ranked according to their cost of living indexes:

83. Houston

85. Detroit

88. Dallas

115. Miami

116. Chicago

118. Washington

127. Boston

153. Los Angeles

157. New York

200. San Francisco

The entire list of 50 smartest places to live includes life stages key with dots to show which life stages each city is particularly suited for:  singles, young couples, families, empty nesters, and retirees.

Click here for more details.

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