Population (metro area): 2,356,285
Unemployment rate: 6.6%
Cost-of-living index: 94.9
Median household income: $46,381
Doctors per 100,000 people: 196
The home of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the nation's safest big city, according to Farmer's Insurance. It also offers world-class hospital facilities, including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a $10 billion health system with 20 hospitals and more than 3000 physicians. The median home price is $119,900, according to Clear Capital, nearly $40,000 below the national average. For those who don’t want to worry about upkeep, there are plenty of retirement communities in the Allegheny County area, says Craig Davis, president of VisitPittsburgh.
Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh provide intellectual energy in the Steel City, which shook off its sooty image years ago. Heinz Hall, the cornerstone of the cultural district, features Broadway shows, concerts by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other events.
Newcomers should brace for typical northeastern winters, but the area also enjoys all four seasons. And natural disasters are rare. "You're not going to experience an earthquake or sandstorm," Davis says.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Plastikspork