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looking for a city to love? the 5 most liveable u.s. cities  

by Michelle Sonier

The economy may be on a slow rebound, but that doesn't mean the American dream is struggling at all. There are still places in this country where employment, income, culture and safety are thriving, and these cities are a great choice if you're looking to relocate and raise a family. Here are our choices for the five most livable cities in the U.S.A.:

Pittsburgh, Pa.


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Pittsburgh ranks highly among the most livable cities in the United States because of its strong cultural scene. It has a world-renowned ballet and symphony and a diverse selection of trendy restaurants serving every kind of cuisine. No longer burdened by its past of falling-down industrial buildings and closed steel mills, Pittsburgh now has a high employment rate, less crime than years before and affordable housing. And those abandoned steel mills? They've been converted into multimedia art centers and galleries.

Ogden, Utah

Photo by Scott Catron via Wikimedia Commons

The city's unemployment rate is below the national average, and household incomes have increased by nearly 3.5 percent in the past few years. This is the highest income growth of all metropolitan cities in Utah. Housing and utilities are also cheap, costing about 16 percent less on average than the rest of the country, and its thriving independent film industry makes Ogden a cultural powerhouse as well. Throw in the abundance of facilities for winter sports and you have the icing on the cake for livability.

Manchester, N.H.

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Manchester used to be a mill and factory town, but the city floundered when those companies went out of business. Now Manchester is making a comeback. Abandoned industrial buildings are being re-purposed as apartments, medical centers and museums, which has helped strengthen the local economy. Manchester has the second-lowest crime rate of all metropolitan areas in the United States, city-wide income has increased by 3 percent in the past few years and its unemployment rate is below the national average.

The area is made even more attractive by the presence of an international airport and a variety of sporting facilities. The winters may be cold, but the lack of sales or income tax (did I mention you get a free e-file too) in Manchester makes the city highly desirable for those looking for a good quality of life.

Ithaca, N.Y.

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Ithaca is a beautiful college town by Cayuga Lake in upstate New York. There is a thriving multi-cuisine restaurant scene there, and the popular Cornell University men's ice hockey team brings in big crowds. It also has a vibrant outdoor scene with a well-trafficked Saturday farmers market and plenty of areas for hiking, biking and sailing. There is a strong theater scene in town, too. According to State Farm, it's things like this that make for the kind of stress-free living that keeps life insurance rates low.

Cornell University is the centerpiece of the town and its largest employer. The university, combined with a multitude of independent business startups by the students and the tourism brought in by the town's 100 local wineries, has given Ithaca a more stable economy than other upstate New York towns.

Burlington, Vt.

Photo by Alex via Wikimedia Commons

Burlington is a green city. Local restaurants serve organic, farm-fresh food, University of Vermont is located there as is the corporate headquarters for IBM and green companies like Seventh Generation and AllEarth Renewables. This means plenty of jobs and low unemployment. The cost of living is low as well, thanks to the presence of the university. The city also maintains a commitment to eventually using all renewable energy in its utilities, and it's almost there.

Income and cost-of-living data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau; employment data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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