Slide Show | July 2012

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Best Cities for Every Life Stage

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Some cities are better suited to mid-career workers than to retirees, and some appeal to recent grads more than to families. That's why we picked five great cities for each of five different age groups -- young adults, mid-career professionals, families, second acts and retirees.

All of the cities on our list have reasonable living costs, strong employment growth and a population that scores high on measures of education, tech-savviness and tolerance. We sorted them further by using criteria tailored to each of our categories. For instance, we factored in rental cost for young adults; commute times for professionals; school quality for families; the arts and number of restaurants for second acts; and, for retirees, climate and number of doctors.

To identify the winners, Kiplinger teamed up with Kevin Stolarick, research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute, a think tank that studies economic prosperity. The cost-of-living index measures how expensive it is to live in a city; the national average score is 100. That means cities with a score below 100 have a lower-than-average cost of living. Nationwide, the median price of an existing single-family home is $157,000, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $959, median income is $43,024 and median income growth from 2006 to 2011 was 11.1%. The national unemployment rate is 8.2%.

Best Cities for Every Life Stage
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