6 Places It Pays to Relocate To

by Jennifer Holder on 21 November 2012 3 comments
Photo: awnisALAN

Across the country, there are a lot of cities (and states) that want you to move there for one reason or another. Some of the cities want you to move to some of the more “affected” places — regions riddled with bad reputations and high crime rates. This isn’t because the city doesn’t care about you and your safety; they’re looking for a way revitalize formerly thriving neighborhoods. Some want you to move closer to downtown (if you're already working and living there). And there are some that are just really, really small and want new blood (don't worry; Bon Temps is not on this list).

Check out the list below, and maybe you’ll find a new place to live and earn some extra money, too. (See also: Natural Disasters: 10 Safest Cities in America)

1. Niagara Falls, New York

I’m sure you’ve seen the recent headlines: Niagara Falls wants to pay off your student loan debt. The city is looking for some fresh blood to move to town and take advantage of all they have to offer. They want you so bad, in fact, they're willing to pay you $3,500 per year for up to two years (if you've graduated in the past two years), with all money to be used toward paying off student loan debt. Check out the program, and if you think you stand a chance, apply!

2. Rural Kansas

Although not a specific city per se, most of rural Kansas offers former students a similar program to Niagara Falls’ student loan debt program. They also offer tax waivers to new residents. To be eligible, you must live in a “Rural Opportunity Zone” (there are about 50 counties to choose from). For students, you must establish residency after July 1, 2011 and have an associate's, bachelor's, or post-graduate degree. You could receive up to $15,000 in student loan repayments. The requirements for tax waivers are an established residency after July 1, 2011, having lived outside of Kansas for five or more years, and having earned less than $10,000 in Kansas Source Income in each of the five years leading up to establishing residency.

3. Milnor, North Dakota

OK, some of my research turned up some weird results. For instance, Milnor, North Dakota, a sprightly town of 700 people, wants a few more people to add to their welcome sign. This town offers some interesting deals (if you’re looking for that small town approach, of course): $500 toward the new construction cost of installing sewer and water lines; free minimum on water, garbage, sewer, and vector control for two years; an individual or family swimming pool pass; golf membership; and a school activities pass for one year.

4. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit has a bad reputation. I mean, it is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous cities in the country and the poster child for the decline of American manufacturing... but it has some positives. After all, it’s where the auto industry thrives still, the Detroit Tigers were just in the World Series (although they lost rather quickly), and a ton of amazing musicians are either from there or got their start there. And the incentives to move there are pretty great, too. If you work in Southeast Michigan for one of five companies, the city wants to offer you some incentives for either renting or owning downtown, from forgivable mortgages to funding for the first and second year’s rent. There is a similar program for one of three companies in midtown.

5. Alaska

So it’s a state, not a city, but you can move pretty much anywhere in Alaska and get paid by the government. However, you have to wait around a year in Alaska to get the check. This particular program is called the Permanent Fund Dividend. To be eligible for the PFD, you must be a resident of Alaska for a full calendar year, have the intent to remain an Alaskan resident indefinitely, not be a felon, and a few other things. And I’m sure some of you are hesitant, because Alaska is so darn far away, but I’ll tell you — I’ve been there, and it’s a lovely state filled with lovely people. I almost moved there myself. Go for it.

6. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Last but not least, Chattanooga is offering geeks the chance to relocate to a city known for its outdoor activities, and of course, the iconic song by the Glenn Miller band. The initiative, called the “Geek Move,” is targeted toward developers and system administrators who move to Chattanooga and offers a $10,000 forgivable second mortgage and $1,250 for relocation expenses. There is a similar program for police officers to move into certain areas, called the Police Fund.

These are just some of the great places to live throughout the country, what does your town offer?

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Philip Brewer's picture

Good to see ordinary people getting in on the incentive programs states and communities use to lure businesses.

Those deals are almost always a loss for the states, and I expect these are as well, but that's no reason not to try them and see if they work for you.

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Pauline

Pretty cool incentives! My town had a tax rebate if you wanted to start a business from home, you didn't have to pay taxes for the first two years of the activity.

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Guest

Chattanooga had a small problem with a local org hacking Ohio election computers. Police ignored over 20,000 911 calls before being exposed. The local force doesn't prosecute hacking, electronic burglary, IP theft, or ID theft, in a town where name changes don't have to be published. After 20 years experience with that city, I fled their substantial and persistent criminal population. No amount of subsidy can compensate for their vatied forms of criminal mischief.