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Small cities offer a chance to start over

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 9:28 a.m. CDT

By Paul Tooher

Whether it’s for personal or economic reasons, sometimes you just need to get a fresh start, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Sure, Crystal Lake is relatively tranquil, but it’s still a part of Chicagoland, the third-largest metropolitan area in the country with more than 9.5 million residents.

But where can you find a relatively small city that still offers plenty of opportunities and amenities?

According to a report published by credit card comparison website CreditDonkey, Charleston, S.C., is the best small city in American for those seeking to chart a new course.

The report noted that Charleston’s unemployment rate is below the national average, while income growth is pegged at 2.3 percent. And for those looking for a fresh start personally as well as professionally, the report notes that Charleston is home to a large percentage of single adults.

Madison, Wis., ranks second on the list. As both the state capital and home of the state university’s main campus, the city consistently boasts a low unemployment rate, along with a high percentage of single residents.

Other small cities making CreditDonkey’s top 10 list include Durham, N.C.; Provo, Utah; Jackson, Miss.; Greenville, S.C.; Des Moines, the capital and most populous city in Iowa, Omaha, Neb.; Albany, N.Y.; and Ogden, Utah.

Millions of Americans opted to make a move last year.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 35.9 million Americans, or 11.7 percent of the population, moved between 2012 and 2013. That’s down from 12 percent in 2012.

“Relatively few of these movers traveled long distances,” said David Ihrke, a demographer with the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch. “In fact, nearly two-thirds stayed in the same county.”

Renters were far more likely to move than homeowners, the report stated.

The most common reasons for moving were housing-related (48 percent). Family-related and employment-related reasons followed, at 30.3 percent and 19.4 percent, respectively.

The Northeast had the lowest mover rate, followed by the Midwest, the South and the West, the bureau reported.

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