Looking for a new beginning for the new year? The Daily Beast crunches the numbers to find the best places in America for reinvigorating your life and career.
With Thanksgiving's gluttony behind us, planning for December's holidays and the year ahead begins. For Americans using the coming new year as motivation to move, we calculated the best metro areas for reinvigorating a career and improving one's quality of life.
For the second-annual ranking of the best cities in which to start over, The Daily Beast considered six data points, equally weighted, for more than 200 metropolitan areas:
• Small-business friendliness, based on Civic Economics and the American Book Association’s Indie City Index, a study of the vitality of independent retail in U.S. metropolitan areas.
• Ease of finding a job, based on September 2011 unemployment figures compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• High income level, based on median income figures for 2011, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, accessed via Fannie Mae.
• Low cost of living, based on the Council for Community and Economic Research's Cost of Living Index for the third quarter of 2011, in which a 100 is the average for all places and each city's index score is a percentage of the average.
• Nonprofit friendliness—nonprofits are a key job source—based on Charity Navigator's ranking of the top 30 cities that are most charity-conscious.
• Student friendly—key for retraining—based on the American Institute for Economic Research's 75 Best Colleges for Students, which ranks small, medium, and large cities, as well as college towns, in terms of academic environment, quality of life, and professional opportunity.