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CNN names America’s top ten best places to live – small city edition

According to, there are plenty of reasons to love the small cities listed in their top places to live for 2010.

CNNMoney analyzed median family income, job growth, median home price, test scores, crime, number of restaurants, number of higher education institutes, weather, median age, and other quality of living data to create their top ten list for 2010:

  1. Eden Prairie, MN
  2. Columbia-Elicott City, MD
  3. Newton, MA
  4. Bellevue, WA
  5. McKinney, TX
  6. Fort Collins, CO
  7. Overland Park, KS
  8. Fishers, IN
  9. Ames, IA
  10. Rigers, AR

According to CNNMoney, Eden Prairie is number one this year because, “not only is it family-friendly, it has a dynamite economy too. At 5.1%, its unemployment rate is nearly one percentage point below the county rate and more than four points below the national average. It helps when you’ve got 50,000 jobs right in town.”

If your favorite small town didn’t make the top 10, maybe it made the top 100 and if not, tell us in comments why it should have!

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Jason Sandquist

    July 13, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I can vouch for Eden Prairie… no joke

  2. Alison Shuman

    July 13, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Great list! In my opinion, one of the good things about lists like this is that it encourages people to consider living in places beyond the big cities, where perhaps the homes are less expensive, and the lifestyle more relaxed. It also encourages businesses to locate to these areas.

  3. Joe

    July 13, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Funny thing how I’m disappointed when our area is not in these top 10 lists. We’ve made several top ten lists lately that I’ve kinda come to expect one of our cities being there.

  4. Property Marbella

    July 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Nice list, but it can be so small different thing who do your town number 8 or number 12 and not on the list.

  5. BawldGuy

    July 13, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Seriously, La Mesa, CA ain’t on that list? You can buy a condo for not much over $100K or a house on the hill in Mt. Helix for several million — and they’re 2-3 miles apart. The police force does their job exceptionally well. There are parks everywhere. I’ve lived here since 1979, raised my kids here, have my business here. It’s truly one of the safest cities around. The weather is heavenly. Heading west for 20 minutes I can be on Coronado Island, Mission Bay, or the Gaslamp District downtown.

    Heading east I can be in the mountains in an hour, eatin’ the world’s best apple pie in Julian. Goin’ north gets me to the small, calm coastal cities of Del Mar and Solana beach.

    The options here are crazy good, with 90% of the destinations within a 15-40 minute drive. If there’s a better place, I’d love to hear about it. Beaches, mountains, limitless outdoor recreation, and everything else in between.

    But the best part about La Mesa? Ya can’t swing a dead cat without hittin’ a taco shop.

  6. Bryan Thompson

    July 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I can’t vouch for the other cities, but this is the second mention I’ve heard of Overland Park in the last week. I live a couple of hours from there now and almost moved there a couple of years ago. I don’t know that I’d have put it in the same category with Eden Prairie, but I think it has grown like crazy.

  7. aMY L cavENDER

    July 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I lived in Ft Collins, CO for 18 years. Love that place!

  8. Doug Francis

    July 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    A few years ago my town, Vienna,VA topped one of these lists… but the following year it didn’t even rank. Well, now I have to move to Minnesota!

  9. Bob Jack

    July 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Another huh list? Are those listings paid for by cities? Don’t know about Eden Prairie, but it’s in Minnesota, correct. Weather? Million degrees below zero. Bellevue, Wa. RAIN. McKinney=rednecks, HOT, divided between nicer homes and poverty shacks; Rogers, Ark. COME ON. Been there. Pit. So, what gives?

  10. Debra Sinick

    July 14, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Bellevue is doing something right. It’s been on both US News’ and Newsweek’s top schools list, Kiplinger’s list of the best places to be over the next decade, and now CNN/Money Magazine’s list of top places to live. Bellevue has a huge variety of housing and prices from mega mansions to modest one level homes which fall in the high 200’s, terrific green spaces, lakes and mountains, a strong economic base with Microsoft right next door, and some great weather!

    Yes, Bob Jack, there’s even great weather here. I love the milder temperatures and our fabulous summers, which is our big secret. Is it gray a lot? Yes, it can be, especially in the winter. But winters are short with flowers that start blooming at the end of January!

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