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Best Cities to Live, Work and Play
Yahoo! Finance | June 4, 2008

These ten great places will only get better.

Our approach this year to picking the ten best cities in which to live and work was simple: Look for places with strong economies and abundant jobs, then demand reasonable living costs and plenty of fun things to do. When we ran the numbers, some of the names that popped up made us do a double take at first. So we hit the road to meet movers, shakers and regular folks, experience the ambience and take in the sights.

We discovered that our numbers guru, Kevin Stolarick, hadn't steered us wrong. Stolarick, research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute, a think tank that studies economic prosperity, says: "Our formula highlights cities not just with strong past performance, but also with all the ingredients for future success." One key to a bright future is a healthy shot of people in the creative class. People in creative fields -- scientists, engineers, architects, educators, writers, artists and entertainers -- are catalysts of vitality and livability in a city.

The cities that made our list also represent larger surrounding areas. And because we understand that city living isn't for everyone, we've highlighted some great suburbs, too.

Pack a bag and join us on a tour of the Best Cities for 2008 and prepare for some surprises.

1. Houston

Population: 5,542,048
Population Growth Since 2000: 14.9%
Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 31.3%
Cost-of-Living Index: 88.1 (100 being national average)
Median Household Income: $50,250
Income Growth Since 2000: 13.1%


2. Raleigh

Population: 995,662 Population Growth Since 2000: 19.9% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 36.1% Cost-of-Living Index: 99 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $56,150 Income Growth Since 2000: 10.3% 3. Omaha Population: 821,356 Population Growth Since 2000: 6.6% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 30% Cost-of-Living Index: 89.4 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $51,627 Income Growth Since 2000: 15.1% 4. Boise Population: 568,086 Population Growth Since 2000: 18.2% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 33.2% Cost-of-Living Index: 95.5 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $49,833 Income Growth Since 2000: 16.6% 5. Colorado Springs Population: 600,444 Population Growth Since 2000: 10.5% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 34.1% Cost-of-Living Index: 95.3 (100 being national average) Median Household Income Since 2000: 53,486 Income Growth Since 2000: 16.1% 6. Austin Population: 1,506,425 Population Growth Since 2000: 17% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 36.5% Cost-of-Living Index: 92.8 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $52,882 Income Growth Since 2000: 12.2% 7. Fayetteville Population: 419,455 Population Growth Since 2000: 17.3% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 31.4% Cost-of-Living Index: 90.4 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $42,267 Income Growth Since 2000: 17.6% 8. Sacramento Population: 2,067,117 Population Growth Since 2000: 13.1% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 34% Cost-of-Living Index: 121.7 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $56,953 Income Growth Since 2000: 19.1% 9. Des Moines Population: 532,425 Population Growth Since 2000: 9.6% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 32.1% Cost-of-Living Index: 90.6 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $53,384 Income Growth Since 2000: 16.3% 10. Provo Population: 474,351 Population Growth Since 2000: 20.6% Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 32% Cost-of-Living Index: 97.7 (100 being national average) Median Household Income: $50,583 Income Growth Since 2000: 12.2% For more places, tools and walking tours, visit Kiplinger.com's Best Cities Center. From: http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/105190/Best-Cities-to-Live,-Work-and-Play
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