hey, according to MSN and Sperling’s Best Places, we
(Daniel’s family) happen to be in the ‘best place to live’. kind of a
surprise to me. the criteria they used for this list included cost of
living, crime rate, education, home prices and weather.
here’s what the article had to say about raleigh :

Raleigh has the warmth and charm of a small southern town, while
still being large enough to provide all the amenities of big-city
living. Raleigh’s scores are above average in nearly every category.
The city has the second-best health score in the nation, thanks to
great air quality and affordable health care. The citizens of Raleigh
are a smart bunch—91% of its 312,000 residents have graduated from high
school, and nearly 19% have a four-year college degree. A healthy
economy and a low cost of living cement Raleigh’s ranking as America’s
Best Place to Live.

from the MSN website :

2. Denver, CO
Denver is a great place for those concerned about the economy. The city
has a low unemployment rate and affordable housing. Denver is winning
the battle against the air pollution problem that threatened in the
1990s, and its 554,636 residents now breathe some of the cleanest air
in the country. The ninth-safest big city in the country, Denver has a
low violent crime rate. With little rain and few days over 90 degrees
F, the climate is comfortable, with no noticeable humidity. There’s
also great recreation indoors and out, including world-class theater,
opera, dance and of course, skiing.

3. San Diego, CA
If you’re looking for the perfect climate, San Diego may be for you.
Just 20 miles north of Mexico, San Diego gets little precipitation,
very few extremely hot or cold days, and lots of sunshine. San Diego’s
economy is excellent, too, with a low unemployment rate and continuing
job growth. It’s a good place to own a home, thanks to rapid home
appreciation, low property tax, and a low property crime rate. With the
Pacific Ocean in their backyard, San Diegans also enjoy good air
quality, lots of options for outdoor recreation, and a vibrant fine
arts scene.

4. Punta Gorda, FL
Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Punta
Gorda has the best economy score in the nation. Current and future job
growths are both excellent, the unemployment rate is very low, and the
cost of living is affordable. Florida’s tax structure can be very
favorable, with no personal income tax or property tax. House prices
are low and appreciate quickly, and utilities are inexpensive. Punta
Gorda’s 14,000 residents also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a
very low property crime rate, an extremely low personal crime rate, and
low health care costs. Punta Gorda’s climate is comfortable and commute
times are short. A very poor transit score and a significant lack of
recreation options only partially offset the great quality of life
Punta Gorda offers.

5. Tucson, AZ
The Sunbelt is the fastest growing region of
the United States, and for good reason. Few places can compare to
Tucson’s natural beauty. Set in the Sonoran Desert, the city’s air is
amazingly pure, there’s little snow and rain, and it rarely gets too
cold. To top it off, Tucson gets 287 days of sunshine a year! It’s no
surprise that this warm, sunny city has many spas, resorts, and golf
courses. The economy is also excellent in Tucson, with very low health
care costs and a low unemployment rate. For those looking to start a
family, houses can be quite affordable in Tucson.

6. Nassau-Suffolk, NY
The Long Island counties of Nassau
and Suffolk are perfect for young families. Just 15 minutes from New
York City, the area is extremely safe, and the educational climate is
one of the best in the country. Nassau-Suffolk has extremely low
property and violent crime rates. The school district spends over
$11,000 annually on each student, the most of any district in the
nation. This commitment to schooling is reflected in the high
graduation rate and the low pupil-to-teacher ratio. Nassau-Suffolk is
also a good place to buy a home. Reasonably priced homes can still be
found, and appreciation has lately been better than average. The
economy is good in Nassau-Suffolk, though it’s closely tied to that of
the New York City metro area. Nassau-Suffolk’s 2.78 million residents
enjoy extremely clean air as well as the recreational and cultural
options of the Big Apple.

7. Madison, WI
There’s a lot to get excited about living in
Madison. Home to the University of Wisconsin, Madison has one of the
highest education scores in the country. The percentage of high school
graduates is very high, and there is a very low pupil-to-teacher ratio.
Madison’s economy is in great shape too, with an extremely low
unemployment rate and a low cost of living. If you’re thinking about
home ownership, houses in this city of 200,000 people are inexpensive
and appreciate quickly. Madison is also an attractive choice for those
who are concerned with health and safety. Health costs are low, and
there are very low personal and property crime rates. The air is very
clean and it never gets too hot in Madison, but you will have to endure
some very cold winters.

8. Danbury, CT
Living just 70 miles north of Manhattan,
Danbury’s 75,000 residents enjoy one of the lowest personal crime rates
in the country, as well as an extremely low rate of property crime. The
economy is booming in the city, which has very good job growth and a
very low unemployment rate. The cost of living is very low, and home
prices are currently low and appreciating rapidly. Danburians can count
on lower than average health costs and cleaner than average air.
Danbury makes school spending a priority, and their schools boast a low
pupil to teacher ratio. Finally, Danbury has a buzzing nightlife,
featuring fine dining and a thriving theater and opera community.

9. Columbia, MO
The city of Columbia has an amazing
economy, boasting the lowest unemployment rate in the country and an
extremely low cost of living. Columbia draws much of its economic
stability from the University of Missouri, which enrolls or employs
nearly half of Columbia’s 85,000 residents. The university’s positive
influence is also seen in Columbia’s impressive high school graduation
rate and high percentage of graduate degree holders. The city also has
good news for prospective homeowners: house prices and utility costs
are low. Additionally, Columbia’s climate is mild and comfortable,
commute times are short, and there’s little crime.

10. Providence, RI
Providence wins this year’s award for
Most Improved City. For years, downtown Providence had fallen into
disuse as more and more citizens chose to make their home in the
suburbs and commute to the city for work. Recently though, the downtown
waterfront area has been revitalized and Providence has become a model
of urban renewal. This is reflected in the low unemployment rate and
very high rate of recent job growth. Making Providence even more
appealing is low housing costs, good home appreciation, and a low cost
of living. The city’s 174,000 residents are also safe - there is a very
low rate of personal crime and a low rate of property crime. The air is
nice and clean and it never gets too hot, though summertime humidity is
always a consideration on the Eastern Seaboard. The fine arts scene is
also notable, featuring outstanding symphony, theater, and opera
events. Providence schools also have one of the lowest pupil to teacher
ratios in the nation.