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Old 10-21-2015, 09:27 PM
31 posts, read 27,804 times
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I am currently a 20 year old college sophomore. I hope to gain some information about possible medium sized cities for after graduation. I am looking for a city (I could settle for a smaller, accessible suburb) with a population anywhere from 80,000 to 300,000. This is just a range, you can change the numbers here or there.

I am a left-leaning moderate, single, I plan to work in the human services after graduation. I hope to be fluent in Spanish as well. So, a sizable Hispanic population would be nice but not a deal breaker by any means. I am also a huge music lover so the local music scene/ability to get good concerts is important to me. A large park district would be a nice touch as well. I am not too picky about weather. Cold winters could easily forgotten with affordable cost of living (lol). I am currently from middle of no where central Illinois. Even though it's not the most exciting place, staying close to home is important to me (seriously considering Iowa in particular. Yes? No?). Although, the New England (Pennsylvania? New York? Massachusetts? Yes? No?) area is probably my second choice.

My third option would realistically be the southern U.S. (Not the Deep South, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina). My only concern, and I try not to be stereotypical, is that not only am I a liberal, I'm a very skeptical person in regards to religion in general. I don't want to meet some nice people in the south and have them think horribly of me because I'm not a church goer or believer for that matter.

Ultimately, I've done some estimations and I believe rent (for just me - I'll probably get a roommate sometime) is $600-$1,000 a month. I've heard that a rule of thumb is "Safe, cheap, or accessible. You can only pick two." That said, I definitely prefer the cheap and safe over the accessible. I can ride my bike, walk, or drive to the places I need to go.

It might be important to note that I do not need to newest & hippest apartment complex. I am very open to older apartment that exist in top of coffee shops, bakeries, old record stores run by hippies, mom and pop shops, ya know? Do these places still exist???) I can definitely find things to offset any odd deficiency (within reason) the apartment may have.

I know I am very much over the place. Just to recap, the Midwest is my preference but the New England and northern southern (yeah, I read it a couple of times too. I don't know to explain it better) states would be follow up at #2 and #3.

In conclusion, I'd prefer any medium sized city(ies) that leans left, has a great music scene, and generally has the feel of alternative-ness/embraces the arts community/supports public aid (human service worker here). College towns would be cool for awhile. I don't know about having a family in such towns (I'm sure you'll fill me in. Thanks.) Obviously, generally low crime would be essential.

Thanks for your future responses. If there is anything I missed, I am open to any and all suggestions!
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:37 AM
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I would suggest putting Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro NC at the top of your list. It's very much a left-leaning moderate's kind of place with a nationally-known music scene, overall is very safe and quite walkable/bike-friendly (especially in Carrboro and Chapel Hill), a cost of living pretty much at or below the national average on varying indices, a thriving economy/job market, a sizable Hispanic community with around 10%-12% of the metro area's population of 325K, lots of parks/greenspace, a moderate four season climate with pretty much equal distribution of seasons largely minus winter precipitation, a very well-educated population (one of the most educated in the country overall) with nearly 50% of residents holding a four year degree or higher (on par with San Jose, CA) and very little religious overtones. While considered college towns (University of North Carolina), Chapel Hill-Carrboro are also valued as a great place for families given the safety/amenities as well as having the top school district in not only NC (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District), but also one of the best in the US.
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:50 AM
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What about the suggestions in the other thread?

If you want the Northeast, perhaps look into cities inland like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Erie, Allentown and Albany, that will be more affordable, are roughly within the population range and have areas that fit what you are looking for. Allentown out of the cities mentioned has a pretty big Hispanic/Latino community that has been growing in recent years and the same goes for adjacent Bethlehem: Photo Essay: The Majority Minority | Jerk Magazine

Rochester at about 17% Hispanic/Latino, is next in that regard. I know the other NY cities also have a Hispanic/Latino community and in all cases, the community is largely Puerto Rican.

Hopefully others will chime in, but these publications will give an idea about the scene in some of the cities/areas mentioned: Syracuse Newspaper - Syracuse New Times


Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly

Rochester City Newspaper

This may help as well: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...tro-areas.html

Educational Attainment Data for Metro Areas
It is around 30% nationally.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:32 AM
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I would say Greenville, SC. It is very much a church going town, but people here are very non-judgemental IMO. I have plenty of friends who are non-religious and plenty of friends who are very religious in my circle and its never been an issue. It is also politcally conservative here, but same thing in respecting others views, no one will judge you or hate you based off of political preference and most of the younger people here I would classify as more moderate than anything, some more right leaning, but also some more left leaning. There are a ton of great local artists and you are likely to find music somewhere every night of the week, although as good as the talent here is, we don't have a ton of venues.

Another suggestion I would recommend would be Asheville. From a religious and politically standpoint, it is very much opposite from Greenville and honestly may be too far left leaning if you are more of a moderate but it has an awesome music scene, its in the middle of the mountains so its beautiful to say the least and has all kinds of cool stuff to do.

Other cities I would at least consider would be Columbia, Charleston, Savannah, Knoxville, and Birmingham.

Hope this helps and good luck on the search!
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:35 AM
Location: Eastern Tennessee
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NW Arkansas is perfect for you. Lots of Hispanic workers, great college town (Fayetteville), lots of arts and music going on, good economy and generally liberal leaning
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:36 AM
31 posts, read 27,804 times
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Ultimately, my other thread showed me that I need to be very literal lol. As far as the cities mentioned, I also discovered that they're all pretty expensive. I figured I could find a smaller, cheaper city with similar characteristics.

Thanks for your response too!
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:06 PM
4,924 posts, read 1,837,241 times
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If you are serious about New England, I would suggest you look into Providence. The city proper has a population of about 180k (metro is 1.6m) and meets most of the criteria you seek. Furthermore, the Latino population was last estimated in 2010 at 38% of the city's population (probably even higher now). The mayor of the city, Jorge Elorza, is the son of Guatemalan immigrants (his predecessor was the son of immigrants from the DR). The city has a young vibe given it has five colleges (Brown/RISD/JWU/PC/RIC), with three located right downtown. The city has very vibrant arts and culture and the music scene is not bad (one of the oldest alternative music stations and several clubs). It is less than an hour from Boston and NYC is just 3.5 hours away. The only issue you might have with Providence is cost as it may be more expensive than similar sized cities near the coast.


Last edited by MMS02760; 10-22-2015 at 01:30 PM..
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