Big bustling cities are great for the young, single crowd. But that's not what most families are looking for. Forbes magazine ranks the best small cities to raise a family.
Using a variety of data including income levels, commute times and graduation rates, Forbes magazine compiled a list of the Best Small Cities To Raise A Family. See if your city made the cut.
15. Mankato, Minn.: This city of 36,000 in southern Minnesota ranks eighth among the cities analyzed for high school graduation rates and boasts of rising median household incomes.
14. Fond du Lac, Wis.: This city bordering the south end of Lake Winnebago was named the safest metropolitan area in the United States in the 2006 edition of "City Crime Rankings."
13. Cheyenne, Wyo.: The capital of the country's least populous state ranks well in median household income and commute time and is one of the top Western cities on Forbes' list.
12. Minot, N.D.: Founded in 1886 during the construction of the Great Northern Railway, Minot is also known as "Magic City," commemorating its remarkable growth in size over a short time. The city of 36,000 is also home to a U.S. Air Force base.
11. Warsaw, Ind.: Cradled among Winona, Pike, Hidden and Center lakes, Warsaw is nicknamed the "Lake City." The town of 13,000 ranked well in home ownership rates and median household income.
10. Columbus, Ind.: Columbus is currently ranked 11th in a list of the country's safest cities, and was named as one of "The Ten Most Playful Towns" by Nick Jr. Family Magazine in 2004.
9. Helena, Mont.: Montana's capital city has just 30,000 residents, but boasts a thriving arts community and was once home to some of the country's richest people during a 19th century mining boom.
8. Quincy, Ill.: This city of about 40,000 people sits along the Mississippi River and is the economic and cultural hub of west-central Illinois.
7. Casper, Wyo.: Nicknamed the "Oil City," the second largest city in Wyoming has a long history as an oil boom town, dating back to the development of the nearby Salt Creek Oil Field. It ranked well in cost of living and high school graduation rates.
6. Stevens Point, Wis.: This city in central Wisconsin is home to two higher education institutions and hosts the world's largest trivia contest every April.
5. Marshfield, Wis.: This city of just 18,000 is home to the Marshfield Clinic, Saint Joseph's Hospital and the Central Wisconsin State Fair, as well as the world's largest round barn.
4. Midland, Mich.: Dow Chemical Co. was founded in this city in 1897 and is still headquartered there, providing jobs to many area residents. It also ranked well in high school graduation and home ownership rates.
3. Marquette, Mich.: The largest city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Marquette is a major Lake Superior port and the home of Northern Michigan University. Its cost of living and commute time ranked well with Forbes magazine.
2. Manitowoc, Wis.: Located on the western shores of Lake Michigan, this city of 34,000 boasts a low cost of living and is home to several museums and a free zoo.
1. Dubuque, Iowa: The eighth-largest city in Iowa lies at the junction of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin and is the area's main commercial, industrial, educational and cultural center. Home to five higher education institutes, it also boasts a diversified economy and good salaries.
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