Economic prosperity and affordable living were front and center as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance selected its "top ten cities in which to live and work." Key factors included: "strong economies, abundant jobs, reasonable living costs—and fun things to do." The list appears in the July issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and online at www.kiplinger.com/money/bestcities.
Here's a snippet:
"Kiplinger’s Best Cities of 2008
1. Houston, TX — Back with a roar after the oil bust of the 1980s, Houston has reclaimed its title as energy capital of the U.S. and added aerospace, technology and medical companies to the mix, generating more than 100,000 jobs in 2007.
2. Raleigh, NC — On the road to renaissance, Raleigh is bringing urban living to the city through the Raleigh’s Livable Streets project. Top-notch research schools in the area fuel a smart workforce, the main reason companies relocate to the area.
3. Omaha, NE — This city’s success is defined by its mid-western values. People believe in giving back to the community—and that includes the executives of the five Fortune 500 companies headquartered here.
4. Boise, ID — This Rocky Mountain town boasts high-tech businesses including Micron Technology and Hewlett-Packard, the Boise Valley’s two largest employers. With a median home price of $235,000, housing is affordable, and the average work commute is only 18 minutes.
5. Colorado Springs, CO — Natural beauty abounds at this 6,000-foot-high city. A strong military presence—with U.S. Army and Air Force operations, as well as the U.S. Air Force Academy—adds fuel to the economy, as do the aerospace and defense sectors attracted by the military.
6. Austin, TX — Home to the University of Texas and the state capital, Austin is known for great music and a lively culture, but it also offers a strong economy and affordable housing. It has expanded its economy to include digital media, green energy and biotech, creating 114,000 jobs in the area in the past five years.
7. Fayetteville, AR — The Green Valley city is attracting businesses and start-ups in the area with a sustainability spin in industries such as electronics, water purification, dairy products and packaging.
8. Sacramento, CA — A hub of technology, biotech and energy, many Fortune 500 companies have a strong presence in Sacramento. Newcomers are won over by the city’s subtle charms, including more than 210 tree-filled parks.
9. Des Moines, IA — Des Moines’s hometown atmosphere, top public schooling, and affordable cost of living make it an ideal place to raise a family. It also offers big-city amenities such as art galleries, a symphony and a ballet and opera house.
10. Provo, UT — The Provo area has grown into the country’s second-largest software center, featuring top employers Novell and Micron Technology. Workers are drawn to great job opportunities as well as the low cost of living and year-round outdoor lifestyle."