America's Best Places to Live 2008
Great jobs, schools, housing—these 10 small cities have all that and more
Courtesy of City of Plymouth, Photo: Martha Johnston Plymouth's Medicine Lake at sunset
Chances are, you love the corner of the nation your family calls home. And that’s exactly as it should be. But let’s face it: Certain towns have more of the things that make a place great for raising a family and building a rich life—like plentiful jobs, excellent schools, scenic beauty and houses that won’t suck away your last dime.
As we do every year, we set out to identify those communities that just seem to have it all. We analyzed the nation’s small cities, those with populations of 50,000 to 300,000. That means you won’t find, for example, Chicago on our top 10 list—but you will find places that offer Chicago-like amenities (such as cafés and culture) plus other benefits the Windy City can only dream of (such as low crime and affordable homes).
These 10 towns aren’t mere suburbs; they’re places in their own right, with thriving commerce and job growth. That means many residents need not leave town for work—a huge plus with gas at $4—and some rarely need to drive at all. One result: a strong sense of community. “One of the great things about walkable cities is that if you’re constantly passing by someone you don’t know, eventually you say hello,” says Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture.
Here is the top 10 list:
Rank City Population 1 Plymouth, MN 70,100 2 Fort Collins, CO 129,400 3 Naperville, IL 142,900 4 Irvine, CA 193,900 5 Franklin Township, NJ 59,100 6 Norman, OK 102,800 7 Round Rock, TX 92,300 8 Columbia/Ellicott City, MD 158,800 9 Overland Park, KS 166,700 10 Fishers, IN 61,800
The top 100 list is here http://money.cnn.com/...eymag/bplive/2008/top100/