The 5 Best Cities for Starting Over

By Qiana Chavaia on 24 February 2016 0 comments

The number one reason people push for getting a fresh start in a new city is economic opportunity — with 44% of respondents citing a new job or business endeavor as their primary motivation, according to Pew Research report.

Slightly fewer said they had moved to raise a family (36%) or to be near a loved one (35%). But, obviously, there are other good reasons for starting over. Perhaps you simply dislike the weather in your hometown or prefer to put some distance between you and your loved ones. Whatever your reason, here are five cities for starting over that all have thriving industries and offer good salaries relative to a low to moderate cost of living. (See also: The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials)

1. Long Island City, Queens, New York

LIC, as New Yorkers like to call it, is just on the east side of Manhattan, connected by the Queensborough Bridge. It's a waterfront community with a hodgepodge of new high-rise, pre-war, and multi-family buildings. Its biggest advantage is a subway commute into the bustling city of Manhattan that takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Renting a studio apartment in LIC ranges from about $1900 (for a recently built luxury high-rise) to $900 for a walk-up. Though not the most luxurious, it's the alternative to renting a room and having roommates, if you want a new start and work in New York City.

2. Phoenix, Arizona

If you're looking for some of the best year-round weather conditions this country has to offer, head southwest to Phoenix — where the average forecast is a mild 72 degrees and sunny. The major industries are technology, tourism, and hospitality. But that's not to say career opportunities aren't abundant elsewhere. Phoenix has a low unemployment rate of 5.4% and a median household income of $53,365 relative to a cost of living — that's only 2.5% above the national average. Average home prices in any one of the city's neighboring communities ranges from $150,000 to $250,000. However, a home in Scottsdale, one of the city's most prominent and sought after communities, will cost anywhere from $350,000 and up.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From rooftops of hotel bars, to towering office buildings, you can overlook all of Philadelphia and still see remnants of the Industrial Revolution — a boisterous time of economic prosperity when only 3% of the population lived in cities. Actually, Philadelphia is one of the East Coast's best kept little economic secrets. The average rent for a top of the line studio rental in the affluent Rittenhouse Square costs around $1,600 per month. Philly is an epicenter of wealth management, real estate, academic, medical, advertising, hospitality, tourism, and manufacturing enterprises. And it's just a short train ride away from New York City and Washington, D.C. If career and business opportunities are what you seek, then Philadelphia just might be your calling.

4. Portland, Oregon

The city of Portland's Development Corporation (PDC) has put together an economic development plan to attract the young, ambitious, and business-minded. What's the strategy? To become the capital of the global green economy. And no, that doesn't mean marijuana, but it's a good place for that, too. Portland is one of three U.S. cities that has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana use. The PDC is on a mission to become the center of clean energy, green technology, and building practices. It hopes to do so by revitalizing its business districts and urban centers, which it expects will help boost the local economy and spur population growth.

5. Austin, Texas

It's hard to believe that at one time, Austin was only thought of as a college town — home to the University of Texas (UT Austin). But in the last 15 years, it has emerged as the live music capital of the world. And unearthing talent and hosting music festivals isn't all the city is good for. The city has a strong job market with a low unemployment rate of only 2.6%. Forbes has even ranked Austin #1 for consecutive years as one of the fastest growing cities, and best places for jobs, "attracting large numbers of college grads, immigrants, and families with young children."

What other cities are great for starting over. Share with us in the comments!

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