Top 10 Cities to Work and Live In
Several decades ago, the greatest cities to work in the United States were obvious, classic choices - New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago or Detroit. Times, however, have changed rapidly and mercilessly. After the collapse of the banking system, the demise of print media, and the bankruptcy of Motor City, these places are vulnerable to the lure of more modern cities.
1. Austin, Texas Austin, the capital of Texas, is the self-proclaimed live-music capital of the world, a surprisingly liberal college city considered the Fertile Crescent of established tech companies - such as IBM, AMD and Intel - as well as an incubator for fledgling startups. In addition, the city's housing costs, while higher than other cities in Texas, are quite reasonable compared to the rest of the United States.
2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee was once known as the city of beer with its extensive brewing and manufacturing industries, but in recent years the city has attracted major corporations, such as Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls and Kohl's. In addition, the city boasts one of the most well-preserved historical centers in America, and is situated on the coast of picturesque Lake Michigan.
3. Seattle, Washington Often considered the cheaper and rainier version of San Francisco, Seattle is a mecca for top talent in multiple industries, and is home to top brands such as Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Nintendo of America. The city's liberal and progressive ideas and close proximity to Vancouver and the serene islands of the Puget Sound make it an ideal place to work and live.
4. Salt Lake City, Utah A surprising amount of businesses have relocated to the Mormon capital of the west, Salt Lake City. Cheap real estate, low living costs, labor costs, operating costs and taxes have all attracted scores of businesses - which include Huntsman Corporation, eBay, Unisys, 3M, Myriad Genetics and Kroger subsidiary Smith's Food and Drug. A large portion of the city's economy is also dependent on the numerous ski resorts nearby, which is also attractive to new hires to the area. Despite its religious foundations, Salt Lake City is considered one of the most liberal cities in the United States.
5. Boulder, Colorado Boulder is often referred to as a ski resort or as a prominent location in spaghetti westerns. However, due to an influx of hippies in the 1960s, the city has since transformed into "San Francisco in the Rockies", a liberal, educated city highly rated in healthcare, quality of life, education and art. The city is powered by three main forces - the highly ranked University of Colorado, federal research laboratories and over 6,600 small businesses and corporations.
6. Washington, D.C. Nearly half of the country's 25 richest countries are headquartered in the nation's capital. The U.S. government offers many jobs in the area, which offer a level of security and benefits heads and shoulders above regular corporations. In addition, housing costs are lower than New York City, and the area is steeped in history and culture, a rarity in comparison to other younger cities.
7. Rochester, Minnesota Rochester owes much of its existence to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, a frontier hospital that evolved into one of the nation's leading medical institutions. As a result of its strong reputation, the area attracts more medical professionals than any other major metropolitan area, as well as other businesses in the medical field. Housing costs are low, and the quality of life rating is high - and the city is consistently featured in many "top ten" lists of best places to live in America.
8. Burlington, Vermont Burlington is considered one of the greenest and most eco-friendly cities in America, a venerable oasis untouched by large multinational chains, bioengineered grops and grotesque power plants. The city's economic rise has been powered by a local-food movement in which co-ops, city markets and local marketplaces have worked hand in hand to keep the community self-sufficient. The city is also a major supporter of solar power, and liberally uses Vermont-based groSolar's panels atop its businesses. In the next decade, the city should attract more local-food businesses as well as green energy companies.
9. Topeka, Kansas The city, best known as Dorothy's (assumed) hometown in the Wizard of Oz, has certainly grown up over the past decade. The capital of Kansas boasts a stable job market in which a fourth of the city is employed by the government. In addition, low housing costs, good healthcare and schools have all spurred a population spurt in the once tiny city.
10. Baton Rouge, Lousiana Baton Rouge, along with the rest of Louisiana, has bounced back with a vengeance since the dark days of Hurricane Katrina. The capital city is expected to grow in digital media, biofuel production, wood products and construction. The city is also expanding its hospitals to boost the quality of its healthcare, and is expected to attract more health industry jobs as well. In addition, housing costs are low and the city's classic casinos remain a draw for tourists.
The tech revolution made San Francisco and Silicon Valley the hottest places to live and work, and as these companies expanded, states with lots of cheap real estate and low corporate taxes came into favor, as crowded urban environments fell out. A top ten list of America's best cities to work in - in no particular order - demonstrates how the changing trends of business have reshaped the definition of the ideal city for work and play.
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