NPR logo
Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Your City's Personality

Your City's Personality

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Boston is a magnet for college graduates. It's also a great place for young singles! Source: Paul Keleher hide caption

toggle caption Source: Paul Keleher

Conventional wisdom tells us that, nowadays, it doesn't matter where you live — you can prosper economically whether your reside in the Silicon Valley or the thick of the Rust Belt.

As the thinking goes, globalization and advances in technology have leveled the economic playing field, making the world "flat," so to speak. But author and economist Richard Florida argues that the world is actually more "spiky" than some may be willing to admit — innovation, finance and personality types tend to cluster in specific, centralized locations which he calls "mega-regions."

In his new book, Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, Florida charts out the personalities of various cities across the country, and shows how place is one of the biggest predictors of prosperity and overall happiness.

So if you're young and single, an empty nester, or about to retire... a budding entrepreneur, looking for adventure, or prize a sense of community above all else... look no further, Florida's got the place for you.

And tell us, what's the personality of your city?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

we moved from flagstaff arizona to portland oregon because of the need for advanced medical care for my infant daughter. flagstaff did not have pediatric surgeons, and we were air-lifted to phoenix three times in her first year.

my husband's work gave him the opportunity to get a position in the vancouver, washington office and we moved to portland two years ago.

we love it here. it is a beautiful city of friendly, mostly progressive people, and it's a great place to raise a family.

Sent by evi | 3:19 PM | 6-19-2008

I grew up in Los Angeles and now live at Lake Tahoe. As a musician, living at a gorgeous resort destination, I can find plenty of performance work. The place a has a small-town feel about it, and I thrive on being close to nature. Yes, in a resort town, there is an ebb and flow of money into the region, depending upon tourist seasons, but when one plans for it, it can be manageable. There is no question that for me, the wonderful lifestyle is worth the trade off of inconsistent work opportunities.

Sent by Anne Roos | 3:20 PM | 6-19-2008

I moved from Southern California to the little town of Chico to go to school in 1972. Since then I've moved away to work in Southern California and came back a year later, to Milwaukee WI and came back two years later, to Stockton CA, and came back and then Auburn CA, and am now happily living back in Chico. Of course I can't work as a City Planner here.

Sent by Tom Barrett | 3:24 PM | 6-19-2008

I moved from Laramie to Casper Wyoming when I got out of school. I'm happy I moved here, close to the family but far enough away. Especially since the action is here for geologists. Central Wyoming couldn't be a better place based on energy resources and easy to find work for a geologist such as myself. Also has some great fishing and outdoor opportunities.

Sent by Kellen Waldo | 3:25 PM | 6-19-2008

I moved to Portland in 1989 from New York City. At first it was difficult to fit in, especially knowing no one, but my 18month old toddler made it easier to meet people. My family is all in the New York area, and I still miss them a lot, but I'm very happy my daughter grew up here, and it is much more affordable as well. I probably couldn't go back east to retire though, because of the difference in cost of living. Portland is a perfect size city with amazing culture and countryside just 1/2 hour away.

Sent by Carole Penner | 3:26 PM | 6-19-2008

My career in academia has taken me from the East Coast (Harvard) to the far West (University of Hawaii) and now, finally, back to the mid-west (Chicago) where I am working. Although I would have preferred to stay in Hawaii, I'm finding that Chicago has allowed me a better quality of life. I don't have to own a car, the real estate market is stable and I am now in close proximity to my parents and other family. It was a difficult trade off but I expect that I will have another phase of my life where I will make another set of choices based on a completely different set of priorities.

Sent by Lori | 3:27 PM | 6-19-2008

How does Mr Florida recommend retirees choose a place to retire in?

Sent by ken ogilvie | 3:27 PM | 6-19-2008

My sister came out of college with a degree in teaching and left Portland Oregon for Japan to teach English. She met her now-husband there and spent 10 years living there both moving to Vermont where they both got Master's in Teaching degrees. They went back to Japan for a few years as college teachers/administrators then back to Vermont for the same type of jobs. They love their town and now my brother-in-law is commuting to NYC for 3 days each week (spending nights in the city) and working from home 2 days so they can stay in small-town Vermont but still have the wonderful career move of the job in New York.

I stayed in Portland after college and my husband and I have grandparents for childcare help and we don't have fly a family of four across the country to visit family but sometimes we throw up our hands and says "That's it! We're moving to Vermont!" If only there were jobs for us there...

Sent by Amy in Portland | 3:28 PM | 6-19-2008

Born in Milwaukee, Wi; graduated from the UW-Eau Claire. Philosophy professor recommended going out west; so I worked in Yellowstone National Park for 8 years. I loved the area and thought I found my 'niche'. Then I met my husband-to-be, whose career was high school teaching. Helena, Montana had only one high school, the chance of him finding employment was nil. We both returned to his 'Ol Kentucky Home' in Louisville. We are happy, but always wonder how life would be if we stayed in Montana. We here from friends and are usually envious of their lifestyle, but then family (his) are well worth it. Thanks! Christine

Sent by Christine Zickel | 3:28 PM | 6-19-2008

I live in Portland, Oregon, as I have most of my life. My mother was born here, as was her mother. My great grandmother arrived here with her parents around 1900.

I had a several year period where I had a hard time finding satisfying employment here, and I did contemplate moving out of town. I did manage to find a good job a few years back, and I bought a house a year and a half ago. I intend to stay here and raise my kids here.

Keep in mind if you move here that jobs are kind of hard to find and wages haven't always kept pace with rents and mortgage costs. Nonetheless, I am happy to live here and I keep myself involved making this a better place.

Sent by Adam R. | 3:29 PM | 6-19-2008

I graduated from college with a degree in Communication in 2006. I went to a small school in Michigan where I lived my entire life. After graduating, I had a choice to move anywhere to start my life and career. I was immediately drawn to the Northwest. Seattle and Portland were too expensive and overwhelming for this small town Midwestern girl. Well, 1 week after submitting resumes, I had 4 job offers in Spokane, WA. I took an offer and moved to Spokane immediately. I have never been happier. The city has gourmet restaurants, high fashion, theater, and culture, but it's not so overwhelmingly large. It has major universities for furthering my education. It also has a low cost of living, a vibrant political landscape, and a cheap and partially hybrid public transit system that goes to the farthest reaches of the city. I feel like I belong here, among natural beauty and a self sustaining economy.

Or maybe it's just that after Michigan, everything seems like a utopia.

Sent by Samantha | 3:29 PM | 6-19-2008

We live in Denver, Colorado. We lived in the northern Bay Area for 12 years. We had several reasons for wanting to move here. The first was skiing! The second was because my husband's job was going nowhere. The company he worked with moved us. Third, I'm from here.

We've been here 11 years now. The skiing is awesome and we do it a lot. My husband has changed jobs, but is still happy to have made the change. I still teach in California, but do so online. Was this a good move for us? You'd better believe it!

Sent by Nikki Raschbacher | 3:30 PM | 6-19-2008

It would be great if I could really pick the city where I would like to live, but we have one child with autism and services for children for special needs vary from state to state. We are now located in Phoenix, AZ because the services are great for my son, but I would love to move back to Los Angeles if I could, unfortunately we could not match his services there. So, we feel that we are very limited as to where we could live having this situation.

Sent by Eva Gehn | 3:30 PM | 6-19-2008

I'm currently working on getting my master's in school counseling in Indiana, and I'm planning to move to Nashville when I'm done. Not only is there a great need for school counselors in Nashville, but it was listed as the second best city in the U.S. to earn a high salary while maintaining a fairly low cost of living. Also, my sister and her fiance plan to move there as do my parents. And I already have many close friends there. Nashville is a wonderful city for people in their twenties and thirties. It's full of music and has that wonderful southern hospitality that I love so much.

Sent by Rhonda Hershberger | 3:30 PM | 6-19-2008

Your caller is wrong about Portland. I was born and raised there, move away a year ago. The urban sprawl is horrible, the cost of living is outrageous. All the people moving in are making the native oregonians move out. Portland used to be a great place, but all the development has made is horrible. If your guest thinks Portland has done a great job at capping development, tell him to drive the I-5 corridor....he'll see where all the development has gone. Tell him also to take a drive to the coast or the mountains....the "great place to live" has gone.

Sent by Brittni | 3:30 PM | 6-19-2008

I was born in grew up in Clifton NJ, studied city planning in Champaign Ill, then in East Lansing, did graduate work in Economics in San Jose, and ended up in Stockholm, Sweden. Each city had something special but Stockhom is by far the best at integrating town and country, and one of the best place in the world to live. Have been here for 40 years.

Sent by Leslie Rosenbaum | 3:31 PM | 6-19-2008

We moved to Denver in 1984 for my husband's first job out of college, he received a degree in Mining Engineering. He worked there for the Fed. Bureau of Mines for a couple of years then got a job with an engineering consulting firm (he is still with that firm). We were in Denver until 1999 when he accepted a transfer to Johannesburg, South Africa where we stayed until 2003. Then soon after our return to Denver he was asked to move again in order to head up the office in Elko, Nevada; where we reside today. The career moves have been excellent as far as money and moving up but it has taken us away from family. My children are not known to their grandparents (one set in Colorado, a grandfather in Kansas and a grandmother in North Carolina) as their cousins are known and vice versa. This has often been upsetting to my children. My daughter is now a Freshman in college and she chose to go to school in Portland, Oregan and is loving it-----so I guess she is a lot like her parents and not clinging close to home.

Sent by Ellen Ulrich | 3:32 PM | 6-19-2008

My wife is from rural, me urban. We decided to live rural beacause we believe that anyone who can read can live in a city, but to really undersatnd small town living you have to be raised in it. I'm a weekend resident in our small town, where as my wife and kids are completely engaged with local life.

Sent by Trent | 3:32 PM | 6-19-2008

I recently moved from Phoenix, Az to Ann Arbor, MI, and after the transition I discovered the phenomenon that you are talking about exactly. Having spent the entirety of my life in such a sunny warm climate, I found myself suffering from a deep seasonal depression. Now, I have only lived in Ann Arbor for one year, but not only did I notice the change in my own personality, but the distinct differences in the emotional atmosphere of each locale. Do you think that the particular climate relate to the individual's prosperity within the 'mega-region', and the climate and geographical location to the prosperity of the type of business in that area?

Sent by Melanie Macker | 3:33 PM | 6-19-2008

From Matt in Portland:
There has been a lot of talk about Portland that it's compact urban form which has great livability benefits, however there are also down sides which should be mentioned. Because of the limited urban growth outward, housing prices/cost of living has risen dramatically for blue collar workers who can't afford to live here in the last 20-30 years. The "creative class" in Portland needs the blue collar and service workers to support the infrastructure here, but service workers can not afford it.

Sent by Matt | 3:35 PM | 6-19-2008

After living for 10 years in Mexico, we returned to look for a place to live in the United States. It was an overwhelming challenge. We spent three months traveling up through California -- too expensive, too crowded -- to the Northwest: too claustrophic with all those pines trees, water too cold. So we turned headed east, totally perplexed by what I called the Tyranny of Choice. It would have been so much easier to have someone tell me where to move, and we would have made the best of it. Instead, we ended up in a remote corner of Utah, in the small town of Moab, which seemed to be full of people as perplexed as us. But what I found to be true is that I could make a living there, thanks to broadband. So in the end, I have been able to raise my family in a small town atmosphere -- no crime, caring community, bike-to-work kind of place -- while working in a field that usually requires an urban address. Couldn't have happened 20 years ago. How many small towns are being reinvigorated by this kind of urban flight?

Sent by Charlie Kulander | 3:36 PM | 6-19-2008

I am in a dilemma, I just had a baby and want my child to live close to his grandparents, because I missed out on that when I grew up, but where my parents live in Idaho I am not in to the culture there. I live in Portland, OR and absolutely love it but have no family here

Sent by Naomi | 3:38 PM | 6-19-2008

Stop advertising the Cascade region! Its a haven we'd like to keep secret. Just kidding. I think that the rain 8 months out of the year will help keep this gem from being over populated. My husband and I are transplants from the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area and we love it here. I am in graduate school in Corvallis, OR a town of about 50,000. When I am done I will only accept jobs in the Northwest and will not move back. My husband and I are both willing to adjust career options to live where we want. We both took cuts in pay to move here, but the cost of living is less and our lives are inherently richer.

Sent by Sarah | 3:38 PM | 6-19-2008

I am undergraduate and will be graduating with a BFA in photogrtaphy from Savannah College of Art and Design. Within recent years many new and up coming artists have placed themselves in bigger cities, like New York City for example. It seems like that is the place to be at the moment. How would a recently graduated student with loans to pay off survive in NYC? With the rent and food a low income would not work. So really, how would one go about living in a big city?

Sent by Lora Gettelfinger | 3:39 PM | 6-19-2008

My initial reaction when I began reading the excerpt from Mr. Florida's book on the TOTN website was disagreement - how could where I live be as, or more, important than who I married? However, after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that if I hadn't lived where I was when I met my wife, I wouldn't have married her. She is amazing and I owe at least some of the happiness I have in marriage to the fact that I lived in a place where I could meet her. We now live in a small town in Idaho where I practice law. Both of us grew up in larger cities (Phoenix for me and Reno for my wife) and wanted a slower lifestyle in which to raise our children. I have a very short commute, can ride my bike to work, and have a lot of time with my wife and children. Granted, I make a third of what some of my friends from law school are making, but I am very happy with the choice we made. Thanks for the program.

Sent by Dave Bagley | 3:41 PM | 6-19-2008

I've always felt you are either a small town person or a city person. I was raised in a small town in NC, my husband in a small town in Iowa. We married after Peace Corps and moved to a different small town. We raised two boys there and have loved it. I have a master's degree as does my husband. We could have made a lot more money in a larger place, but never wanted to make that trade off. We have lots of well-educated progressive friends in small towns. We enjoy the space, the quiet, and the neighbors. Our boys have made different decisions, despite what many would consider being education in "poor backward" school systems. One is a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in rochester, NY and the other is a banker in London. They, however, thrived growing up in a small town. We have no regrets.

Sent by Brenda Remmes | 3:42 PM | 6-19-2008

I am soon to be a 45 yr old licensed elementary teacher, and am at a loss as to where to go. I need a place of need, but I have to be happy. I am from California, living in Indiana, have a six year old with me, and am at a loss as to where to go. I miss California, but know I can't afford to live there on a teacher's salary. This subject is absolutely fascinating to me. Thanks for your help.

Sent by Leslie Edwards | 3:42 PM | 6-19-2008

i live in the torbuffester region (not close enough to tor!) - but i'm from seattle - how does seattle fair??

Sent by Doug short | 3:45 PM | 6-19-2008

Kerry, You don't have to move across country to find a great place for kids near San Antonio. Have you ever looked to the small towns in the Hill Country? New Braunfels, San Marcos, Boerne, Canyon Lake, etc? My family has just moved back to New Braunfels from Dallas and can't believe it took us this long to get back.

Sent by Darrell Caldwell | 3:46 PM | 6-19-2008

I just wanted to point out two things...cities can change identities. I was one of the Gen Xers who moved to San Francisco in the early '90s because it was CHEAP -- for the funky, bohemian, arty lifestyle. It was the place to go if you DIDN'T want a job -- if you wanted to write, paint, do performance art, etc.

Of course in the intervening years it has changed completely. Where are the bohemians going now? For a while it was Austin, Portland, etc. I thought maybe New Orleans post-Katrina would be a magnet for creative types but it doesn't seem to be.

Second issue -- our needs have changed too. As a writer/editor who works in publishing, I missed out entirely on the boom and the current prosperity (I was part of the anti-gentrification movement). My husband and I now have a new baby and are looking for somewhere to move where we can raise our child affordably while living in a major city with all of the cultural benefits and liberal sensibilities. Where to go? Portland is mentioned a lot but we have family back east, so I'm pushing for Philadelphia (the most underrated city in my view).

Sent by Kathleen | 3:47 PM | 6-19-2008

from Chicago, moved from San Fran 10 years ago to Reno-Tahoe. Yeah, I took a hit in pay, but now I live in a place where I can own my own business without being terrified of the financial burdens of living in a big city and before the housing market corrected, our house increased 6X (!) in value--now it's only worth 4x the purchase price. And I HAVE A LIFE. I am not in my car 35% of the time. I am also not terrified of losing my job because the community is easy to penetrate and people know me. In SF, I was one of a zillion people like me. Here, I am pretty special and people pay me for that.

Sent by Lorna | 3:47 PM | 6-19-2008

Boise, ID - Moved from Washington DC area. Huge step up in quality of life.

Sent by Rob & Linda Adams | 3:47 PM | 6-19-2008

You want to see the Rockies without congestion - try Wyoming...
There are opportunities for life in Wyoming - I moved from Denver - tired of all the congestion and being awash in a sea of humanity but not knowing anyone. Moving to Wyoming, to a small town, become involved, met my husband, really became a person - but there is one thing - you have to like yourself to live in a small town - there's no place to hide! We're now in Gillette - great opportunities!

Sent by Charlene Busk | 3:50 PM | 6-19-2008

We live in Charlotte NC because my husband's "dream job" was here. We had a deal that if we didn't both like it, we'd leave after 2 years. Only one of us liked it, but eleven years later, we're still here. It isn't bad enough though to insist that we move again. Since it is growing, I just keep hoping it will grow into an interesting place to live.

Sent by Vivian | 3:50 PM | 6-19-2008

Recently my husband and I, both mid-thirties, mid-career, relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii from Chicago. We lived in the city, rode our bikes or took the El to work and walked to excellent restaurants.

We spent four years "shopping" for cities - spending long weekends and vacations in places we thought we'd like to live. Since my husband is an attorney, we have the benefit of a higher income which allowed us to save, but also the limitation of licensing and bar exams and law firm personalities. I'm a small business manager which I consider easily transferable.

We ended up in Hawaii for many reasons...I have family here, we decided not to wait for retirement to live in paradise and the logistics fell into place much easier than our other choices at the top of the list.

Even though this place is widely diverse and international, there is still a strong small-town mentality and attitude. Too many people drive, the public transportation isn't as good as it could be and the contiguous 48 states have a single mass personality summed up in term "the Mainland."

That said I love it. We moved to paradise and will never complain about having frequent picnic dinners on the beach. Unexpectedly, we moved to an island thousands of miles away from the next nearest airport just when airfares increased, but we don't feel one bit of "rock fever."


Sent by S. M. Hudgins | 3:54 PM | 6-19-2008

Portland is going through growing pains right now, but I think the Urban Growth Boundary remains a good idea. In NE Portland, I've noticed the large one-family houses are being replaced by multi-family units, usually small apartment buildings.

Of course, these are probably more than I could afford, but as more of them are built, more housing is created in the same amount of space. With higher density, the city becomes more interesting.

Right now, I find myself wishing that there was more mixed residence/business. The nearest grocery stores aren't within walking distance.

Does anyone have that website address for the place finder? I can't find it.

Sent by Teresa Celsi | 3:54 PM | 6-19-2008

I'm troubled by the elitism implied by a discussion focused on mobility---an option so many in our society lack. What's the public policy prescription here? Especially for those of us in flyover country?

I like that the body of Florida's work has moved those of us who work in economic development from a discussion of smokestack-chasing to talking about people. That said, as its actually implemented in terms of public policy I'm not sure the new chase for high-end human capital is much better.

In the late 90's I moved from Richmond, Virginia to Portland, Oregon to pursue my PhD in urban planning. A few years later, degree in hand I moved to Southwest Virginia to be closer to family and to be more useful in my life. I loved the Portland for all the reasons any "overeducated elite" would, but too many like-minded post-docs floating around Portland didn't leave a lot of opportunity to make a mark. Here I'm needed and doing work that matters.

Sent by john | 3:57 PM | 6-19-2008

I have one word that describes my town: backward. We moved to the Panhandle of Florida 8 long, boring years ago for my husband's job. He is a civilian working for the USAF, a major employer here. The schools are pathetic, night life is dull if you don't like bars, the "good ol' boy system is alive and well, and I cannot find a job. There are few opportunities for educated people in my field, unless you count seasonal table waiting at "The Beach." (I have an M.A. in English.) It is too far to drive to any town of significant size where I could work/get a Ph.d.) If Richard Florida has a place for me, I REALLY want to know, because Bay County, Florida sure doesn't! My husband who spends all day with fellow Ph.Ds doesn't understand just how important place is! (I think I will buy him this book!) He thinks it is just me, but I have to deal with the locals, he is insulated! Our families are far away, the pay is not good, so why in the heck are we still here?

Sent by Annie | 3:57 PM | 6-19-2008

Hi from Greg in Phoenix,

I start law school in August and have decided to stay in AZ although my heart told me to go to Boston. All of my family is here and I have a two-year-old boy who I believe will need the familial support while I'm in school. I still feel uneasy about my decision to stay because I want to practice international law. Any recommendations?

Sent by Greg | 4:00 PM | 6-19-2008

I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, went to college in a teeny town in Indiana, lived in Milan, Italy and Brooklyn after college. I came back to Cincinnati because I felt stagnant in New York. I tried to be everything and wound up being nothing ("the tyranny of choice" is so well put). I never thought I'd stay in Ohio after graduate school, but I met my now-husband and got an interesting job that I would have had to kill someone to get in NYC. I miss Brooklyn like crazy, and I still want to move someplace beachy and sand-strewn. South Carolina, I think.

Sent by laura | 4:03 PM | 6-19-2008

Early last fall, I moved my family from the Washington DC area to Salt Lake City, Utah for the skiing and for family. My wife and I ski and we taught our kids to ski this year, so that was a big success. The lifestyle here is great, and there is a major university and our kids are in decent schools.

But professionally it has been a challenge for me. I am CEO of a new and growing foundation (the International Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Science, and Technology or iFEST) which can be found on the web at Mostly I travel every month or more overseas, or to the Silicon Valley area and also to DC and NY for fundraising and program development. My colleagues all tell me to move to San Jose and that is where the action is... Yet, I resist. SLC is close to northern California, so my air travel there and to China, Japan, and India is a bit easier than from DC. And the cost of living in SLC is absolutely wonderful relative to the coasts.

I wonder what Tom Friedman and Dick Florida would argue about or perhaps say to all of us about the emerging global nature of our professional futures, over the course of our lives. I spend much of my time in airports and on planes, and it is not easy. But the world makes demands, and I am finding my way through such demanding challenges. For the future, I think we must better prepare our children to negotiate those increasingly global professional demands and find balance as well as success... if that's possible. I hope that it is.

Why don't you bring back Florida and Friedman and let them debate/discuss this issue. I would certainly tune in, and maybe give my two cents as well.

Many thanks!

Mike Snyder

Sent by Mike Snyder | 4:03 PM | 6-19-2008

This book will come in handy in case America refuses to elect Barack Obama this November. I will use it to pick a new country to move to!

Sent by Sherri levek | 4:13 PM | 6-19-2008

After living in NYC for thirty years, wanting more quality life - garden, dog, community, I moved back to my home town of Paducah Kentucky. I mean, it WAS MY home town. However, I soon learned that the old adage "You can't go back," was actually a true bit of old fashioned wisdom. After a honeymoon period I soon felt like a fish out of water. I had thought, the locals would welcome me with open arms and that what I could bring as a photographer,artist,writer and social activist would support my life style. An incentive was a city of Paducah program of incentives for artists to buy a house and start a business. I have lost tens of thousands of dollars on a house that is too expensive and consumes the time I need for art. It turns out that folks here are happy with the standard photography fare and do not need what I can offer. I have no skills for plant or medical jobs so I cannot make a living in this location. Since I gave up my rent stabilized apt in NYC, I cannot go back and so I am looking for a new location. "Who's Your City" has arrived just in the nick of time. I was inspired to write this upon hearing the caller "Jan" who had moved to Hilton Head.

Sent by Patt blue | 4:27 PM | 6-19-2008

Florida lost much credibility with me when he made the comment regarding the investment potential of the Silicon Valley. The SF Bay Area saw prices increases that were unprecedented, first due to the dot com bubble, then as with other bubble markets, due to very 'creative' financing. People should be aware that many experts are predicting that prices may drop considerably, or, in the least, stay flat for at least the next ten years. If one bought in at today's still grossly inflated prices, given the expected out-migration of retiring boomers, one would most likely be putting their financial future in serious jeopardy - and NOT making a great investment, as Florida is suggesting.

Sent by JS | 4:54 PM | 6-19-2008

I live in Boulder, CO now, but have looped the country getting here. Grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and went to college in Philadelphia. Stayed there for 5 more years, then went with a boyfriend to Washington DC. Loved both Philly and DC, and would live there again. Stayed in DC 5 years, then moved to Palo Alto, CA for husband's job. Was not happy about having to make this move, with all family connections near the East Coast. Actually grew to like northern California and the weather especially. Lived there 8 years, then with husband and 2 children moved to Boulder, CO by voluntary job transfer just to try something new. During these 10 years, we have wanted to move closer to FAMILY many times and get back to one of the coasts (better weather and more diverse). We are having a very, very hard time deciding whether to go back to California or east to Pennsylvania and have remained stuck. Current plan is to buy a second place/vacation home in California, possibly opening up the door to move there later. Kids are going to be too old to move easily soon. I think part of our problem is that this next move is *optional*, and so we're almost considering too many factors and places!

Sent by Carol | 5:03 PM | 6-19-2008

We moved from college to Baltimore for my husband's career. After 18 mo, we returned to Detroit to be near family. Over time, my mother retired out of state, my brother moved for his career, and my sister became a snowbird. Now that our retirement is just 6 yrs away, we're planning to move. We hate cold weather. Our children live in GA, and we have tentative plans to move there. Family considerations brought us back, then left us by ourselves again. This must be more common than it seems.

Sent by Sue Shores | 5:22 PM | 6-19-2008

So much is dependent upon the person, this can only be a rough guide. What is heaven for one person is hell for another. Some people need to be close to family to be happy, while others must get far away in order to succeed.

An example: while many praise Boston, it was not my cup of tea. I lived there through and after college and never connected with the place despite trying very hard for several years. Serendipity led me to Portland, OR almost 20 years ago, and that has worked out very well indeed. Everything that seemed so hard in Boston came easy once I was here. My career has gone places, I have raised a family and love my surroundings.

Is Boston "worse" than Portland? Does a move to Portland guarantee success? Both are silly questions. For me, Portland has worked very well but for others Boston is just dandy. Both cities support the "Creative Class" quite well but with different flavors of lifestyle and environment.

Sent by Brad Price | 5:28 PM | 6-19-2008

My city is a beautiful and lovely place. It has trees water and buildings. It is the essence of "middle america", and I would live no other place. My whole family lives within 60 miles of each other and we are all their when we need each other. My city is my home and I would lie nowhere else.

Sent by NGH | 5:59 PM | 6-19-2008

This story really struck me because recently I have been pondering why -- that despite living in Riverside, California, an area that has a bad rap for smog, limited employment opportunities and a host of other supposed down-sides -- I'm much happier here than I was in Los Angeles or even Santa Barbara. I attribute this to the fact that I grew up here -- it affords me some of that psychic $133K that Florida mentioned on the air today. Being surrounded by familiar things that I feel rooted to is a source of enormous day-to-day strength and peace. Add to that the manageable size of this town, presence of my family and no commute makes this a great place for me to live.

Sent by Cristi Hendry | 8:03 PM | 6-19-2008

This book would be fine for a recent college graduate or someone who has no family responsibilities. As several other people mentioned, those of us in the lower classes don't have the 'Tyranny of choice' that afflicts our social superiors.
I also noticed there was no mention of family or friends in the test.

Sent by John Koester | 10:29 PM | 6-19-2008

I was born and raised in Chicago, went to college in Urbana, and lived for short period of time in Kentucky...then to military service in Indiana, and grad school at Bloomington...then a year in Lansing Michigan because of job availability...then when a job opened in Bloomington it was "Back Home Again in (adopted) Indiana", then after three years I was RIFed (Reduced In Force) from what was my "perfect" job with the Federal government. I found a job in La Crosse, Wisconsin and have lived here for 38 years, and retired here. No desire to become a "snowbird". I am close enough to Amtrak down to Chicago a few times a year as I still love that city. I do wonder sometimes about what might have happend had i stayed in Bloomington, Indiana...a city about the size of La Crosse, but with a much more dynamic large university...our local campus of UW system is kind of back water! La Crosse is in top 20 "Best Small Cities" in some polls...I'm a retired planner and like to think I contributed to helping make it a nice place to live. We are striving to be a top "bicycle/pedestrian city"

Sent by Robert Fisher | 11:36 PM | 6-19-2008

My husband and I have always followed his job as a teacher and math professor. We bought a house near his work in a "good" neighborhood here in Southern California. Now there are other forces at work on our family. High gas prices, higher food prices, activities for our children that we can afford, and global warming. Now we are trying to find a bit of land that we can garden, as a kind of back-up as we watch my husband's job pay for less and less.

Sent by Diana kaljumagi | 1:29 AM | 6-20-2008

This paradigm does not acknowledge differences by age or career status or whether there is a dual-career couple. Also, while this is a rational model, there are other factors at play, e.g., a parent with a progressive disease.

Sent by Michelle | 1:30 AM | 6-20-2008

Inertia is my problem. I grew up in NJ about 15' from NY, and loved it. Went to school in northeast and Philly. I loved Philly. Since I'm an OB/GYN I came to Myrtle Beach to start a practice due to low malpractice. I intended to stay only a yr or 2 and have been here 10 yrs. I'm really a city person and want to move back to the Northeast, but my practice has done well and I've been here so long. Now I have 2 young children and I would prefer to raise them elsewhere. However, as a middle aged woman, it's hard to make a move and start all over again. It's also hard to continue to stay someplace I don't really want to be. Also afraid the "someplace else" might not be better than where I am now. I can't wait to get Mr Florida's book to see if he addresses these concerns.

Sent by Dawn | 3:16 AM | 6-20-2008

The book may have info about various cities, but the on-line survey does NOT. It just plays your own input back to you--what you already think about the various cities. To test this, I entered scores of ZERO for every option at every city, and it told me I should move to all of them! It's not a great survey instrument for doing anything but presenting you your own data.

Sent by Geronimo | 7:47 AM | 6-20-2008

My husband and I moved from Phoenix, Arizona to a small rural town in Iowa. He is involved in radio news and we knew that he simply wouldn't be able to get into the Phoenix market. Although Washington, Iowa is a little small for us, it was a great decision to have made and we have been really happy here. One of the best things is that, as a childless couple, we have many opportunities to get involved in the community and local government, and we even live downtown. However, I think we both still feel a pull on our hearts to move back to Alaska, which is where we met. We'll write back in a few years to let you know where we wind up!

Sent by *Debbie Stanton* | 10:46 AM | 6-20-2008

My family moved frequently when I was a child, and as a result I am accustomed to moving every few years.

Nonetheless, I loved my college town. All of my professors told me I had to move away -- and eventually I did. I have moved about once every two to three years since then, and I'm ready to go back.

My partner didn't move very much as a kid -- he has a true home to which he can return. As I get older, I want to have that kind of place, too -- so we're choosing his home town. Lucky for me, we me when I was in college, so I get to return to the town I loved.

Many of my friends, though, think I'm crazy for moving into a small midwestern town. Just like my professors, they tell me I have too much 'potential' to waste it in a small town. But I disagree. I'm wilting in this big city, San Francisco. My commute is so long that I have very little time to enjoy my home or neighborhood. I'll be challenged to find a job in my college town, but I'll be able to spend time outside, contribute to the community, and build long-term relationships.

What makes me sad is that it is just as I'm getting ready to leave that friends are starting to come out of the woodwork. Don't leave! they exclaim. I just want to yell at them -- why couldn't we have been hanging out for the previous two years, when I was starved for companions? Why is it only when I'm leaving that you're willing to get closer?

Sent by Rachel N H | 7:33 PM | 6-20-2008

Fabulous Las Vegas. Yes, its known as Sin City, but it's also a great place to live.

Sent by John | 7:34 PM | 6-20-2008

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, went to school in Iowa City and loved being a Hawkeye and now struggle daily in Los Angeles trying to work my up the entertainment ladder. If I could live anywhere else I would - Los Angeles does not resemble a true city to me, like Chicago does with its civic pride and architecture. Many people I know who want to work in showbiz struggle with living or not living in Los Angeles. Starting out, you're paid less than peanuts so you definitely don't enjoy the California lifestyle. And with no public transportation to speak of, it seems most of my private life revolves around commute times.

Sent by Michael in LA | 7:47 PM | 6-20-2008

Purposely leaving my home region right after college and going to San Francisco Bay / Silicon Valley, before I acquired lots of life's expenses and responsibilities, was probably the best decision I ever made. (My college pal and I had $160 between us, and no job prospects.) I've been to high school class reunions from the 20th onward to the 45th, and can see the dramatic difference it made to take myself out of my comfort zone, to someplace where I had a chance to get caught in an updraft. I learned a lot, worked a lot of nights and Saturdays, and ended up as a senior vice president at an S&P 500 company. There's only one S&P 500 company that even has headquarters where I grew up. The early change of place and the stamina to stay there were definitive.

Sent by Geronimo | 8:24 PM | 6-20-2008

I was born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and went to college in Ann Arbor. Since then, I have lived in San Antonio, Austin, Orlando, St. Louis, Phoenix, San Diego, Wausau, WI, and back in the UP. The two cities I enjoyed most were Ann Arbor for it's progressive, college-town culture and San Antonio for it's relatively safe neighborhoods and close-knit family-friendly atmosphere. I wonder if there's a city that encompasses both of these cities' personalities?

Sent by Scott | 8:09 AM | 6-21-2008

I lived most of my life in small northwest communites. When I left college and I planned to stay in these small towns long enough to get experiance to move to a large city outside the region. After 30 years I'm still here, and do not even like to go to Portland (too many People in a hurry) any more. A lot of people are moving here, but move back to where the came after 3 to 5 years, the only contribution they seem to make to the region is driving up the cost of living, and building housing developments. Our wages are low, close to minimum wage, even for skilled work. My Wife is from Montana, its worse there.

Sent by WLS | 9:22 PM | 6-21-2008

Steve Martin once said Terre Haute Indiana is the most nowhere place on earth!
If You want to live in a small town atmosphere in a population of 60 thousand,or so, move to Terre Haute Indiana.

We have the most beautiful well cared for, and clean city parks anywhere.
It is said Terre Haute is good for Children, and older folks.
We have excellent schools for grades K-12. We have 4 Outstanding Universities and colleges for furthering your education. We have the best down home restaurant in the state of Indiana. It is named "Becky's Cafe"-Their coconut creme pie is to die for! Tell them "the crazy pie lady" sent you there! They have friendly service, very fast, excellent food, and dirt cheap prices! It is kind of like "Norm's" from the TV show Cheers. Everyone really does know everyone that comes in, or soon will.
I almost forgot, we have an exceptionally good, and very caring hospital and staff at Union hospital.
The downside, you better have a job to go to before you move here.
I have lived here 40 years. I like it because it is a very safe place to live, You don't have to be afraid in your own neighborhood.

Compared to almost any other city in the U.S.A. the cost of living is very cheap. If you just wanted a small home, you could actually buy one for less than 30 thousand dollars and even cheaper. We have lots of houses for sale and rent too. There's a saying here, like most teenagers all kids can't wait to get out of the town they were born in, they do leave, and sooner or later They All return, so there must be something about this midwestern Nowhere'sville town that people like. Everyone has to have a home somewhere, and here I am.
A footnote, alot of people who come here to visit or live, just can't believe the amount of open space and woods we have. TerreHaute is also a Certified Tree City. Larry Bird is also a Hoosier. Happy Home State hunting!

Sent by Paula | 4:38 PM | 6-25-2008