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Old 05-19-2015, 09:22 AM
 
4 posts, read 4,140 times
Reputation: 18

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Hi all,

I have what I think is a very challenging relocation problem. We are a family of 3 (husband, wife, and a pre-teen) living in New Jersey. We have alot of culture and outdoor diversity here and everything is very convenient and accessible, but the cost of living is one of the highest in the country, it's very crowded and yet it's hard to make close friendships and really feel part of a community.

So, we want to move and are considering moving to the Midwest or West, or possibly further North.
But it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. We are hoping that there are some well-traveled persons, familiar with alot of different parts of the U.S., who could help us narrow down the search a bit.

Here's what we are looking for:

- Better cost of living
- Welcoming, friendly and open to newcomers
- Good public schools
- HOUSES to rent (not only apartments)
- Easy for first time homebuyers
- Some racial diversity
- Liberal to moderately liberal (not conservative).
- Not crowded or congested
- We are not big outdoorsmen, but some open space would be nice. We like the beach, easy
walking/hiking, lakes, grass, etc.
- Low crime.
- No big cities.
- Not in tornado alley!

I guess what we are looking for is a place that balances some features of country or town living, without the bigotry and insulation. We've done some research, but mostly only states or cities turn up, It's very hard to narrow the search down to specific towns or even a region of a state. Some states we have looked at are New York state, Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Hawaii, Maryland, and Idaho. We are wide open for other states though.

Any info that can help us find our ideal place would really be appreciated!
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:56 AM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,480,774 times
Reputation: 12309
Madison, WI
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:56 AM
 
21,230 posts, read 30,469,580 times
Reputation: 19701
You might consider a place like Columbus OH, in particular the suburbs of Dublin or Westerville which really fit that friendly, welcoming and family friendly environment you're looking for in a metro area with a thriving economy and reasonable cost of living.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
3,451 posts, read 3,407,907 times
Reputation: 2896
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightlysparrow View Post
Madison, WI
Was going to suggest this as best option for WI, given the above.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:36 AM
 
56,807 posts, read 81,169,050 times
Reputation: 12565
Ithaca NY comes to mind. Perhaps select suburbs of the Upstate NY metros too. Suburbs like Amherst(Buffalo), western Irondequoit, Brighton, Brockport, Spencerport and Henrietta(Rochester); DeWitt, the Fayetteville-Manlius, parts of the North Syracuse and Liverpool areas(Syracuse); Colonie(North and South), parts of Guilderland and Niskayuna(Albany-Schenectady-Troy); Vestal and parts of the Johnson City and Endicott areas(Binghamton) and maybe New Hartford(Utica-Rome) are some that come to mind.

A question I have is what kind of jobs would you be looking for?
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:42 PM
 
96 posts, read 95,695 times
Reputation: 175
We had a similar wish-list about a year ago and ended up near (but not in) Madison, WI. We like Madison, but wanted a smaller town atmosphere. Compared to other places I've lived, it's notably less racially and ethnically diverse, though. I think it meets most of your other criteria. It has been a good move for us.

We also looked at Minneapolis/St. Paul and suburbs. To be honest, I think we would have moved there if we didn't have a connection to WI (my husband is from northeast WI). The economy is stronger and more diverse -- though the Twin Cities are of course much larger than Madison. I was impressed with k-12 education stats in MN, though of course stats aren't everything...

We lived in Seattle about 15 years ago, and WA is beautiful. Even if you're not super outdoorsy, it's just a gorgeous place to be. I always thought Bellingham would be a nice place to settle down. Real estate has exploded throughout western WA, though. Hopefully someone else can fill you in.

I'm from MA. If you're willing to look outside of the Boston metro area, I think you could find most of what you're looking for. People in New England are generally reserved compared to other parts of the country, though. (Even compared to NJ -- I've lived there, too).
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