Money Magazine Best Places to Live highlights small town life

A father and mother walking with their young child on a beach in Florida.

Is your hometown one of the Money Magazine "Best Places to Live?" (Photo: Flickr; Allen Armstrong)

It’s time for this year’s Money Magazine “Best Places to Live,” and the fact that small towns dominate the list of 100 cities should come as no surprise. Overcrowding in America’s modern metropolises presents a wide array of safety and logistical problems for families, not to mention exorbitant costs. CNN Money claims that the major criteria used to pick the Money Magazine “Best Places to Live” for 2010 included job availability, quality schooling, public safety, recreational opportunities and the x-factor of the city’s overall charm. Money Magazine “Best Places to Live” are intended to be America’s most family-friendly cities.

Top Five Money Magazine ‘Best Places to Live’

As a sneak peek at the full list of Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” for 2010, here are the five best places to live in America. Data provider Onboard Informatics provided CNN Money with stats on population size, median income, area sales tax and other categories to assist in the decision-making process. The overall rate of installment loan origination – whether they be secured loans or unsecured loans – is also below the national average in these cities, as job availability, average income and overall quality of life make financial emergencies somewhat less frequent.

1. Eden Prairie, Minn. (Pop. 64,000; Unemployment 5.1 percent)

One of several Minnesota cities in the top 100, Eden Prairie boasts rolling hills and access to many lakes. Outdoor activities are plentiful and schools rate highly. Economically, the city is four points below the national unemployment average and has a perfect AAA bond rating from Moody’s. With multiple major employers in town, it’s no wonder that Eden Prairie has as many as 50,000 jobs in town.

2. Columbia/Ellicott City, Md. (Pop. 155,000; 5.2 percent)

Diverse population, excellent schools, lots of affordable housing and an attractive downtown are just some of the best features here. The NSA and Fort Meade provide more than8,000 jobs, with thousands more to come. Baltimore and Washington D.C. are within commuting distance , where more job options exist.

3. Newton, Mass. (Pop. 82,000; 6.0 percent)

Boston College and Newton-Wellesley Hospital are major employers in the area, and a great deal of public transportation is available, thanks to Newton’s proximity to the Greater Boston area. Newton is divided into multiple “villages,” and each reportedly has its own New England charm.

4. Bellevue, Wash. (Pop. 124,000; 5.8 percent)

Microsoft, T-Mobile, Verizon and Expedia have brought new jobs to the area, making Bellevue more secure than nearby Seattle on the job front. Cultural activities and the natural beauty of forests and Lake Washington beckon families. While housing is far from cheap, everything else about Bellevue makes it a cinch for the Money Magazine “Best Places to Live” list.

5. McKinney, Texas (Pop. 125,000; 7.8 percent)

A downtown area filled with lovingly restored 19th century buildings pops out when one visits McKinney. And with employers like defense contractor Raytheon in town providing jobs, the need to drive an hour to Dallas for work is far from inevitable, even during the recession. Add lots of parks and hiking trails, and you have a very nice place to live.


What do some people do for residency in expensive places like London? They squat – legally!

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