Micropolitan Oases

The business-news site bizjournals.com recently ranked more than 500 "micropolitan" communities - defined as "a county or cluster of counties that are economically dependent on a central city, town or village with 10,000 to 50,000 residents" - according to their overall quality of life. According to the site, "the study’s objective is to identify America’s most attractive micropolitan areas. It gives the highest marks to small, well-rounded communities where the economy is strong, traffic is light, the cost of living is moderate, adults are well-educated, and access to big-city attractions is reasonably good."

In the overall ranking, Bozeman, Montana, comes out at number 1. A good number of Minnesota micropoli appear in the top 100. Mankato leads at #16, followed by Marshall at #25, Owatonna at #28, Alexandria at #30, Bemidji at #32, Fairmont at #45, New Ulm at #46, Red Wing at #52, Willmar at #59, Faribault-Northfield at #63,  Brainerd at #69, Winona at #85, and Austin at #88. Houghton, Michigan, my sorta-hometown, comes in at #91, while two other U.P. burgs, Marquette and Iron Mountain, appear at #136 and #137.

email: christopher at tassava dot com