a sign depicting Iowa State Universityh

#8. Ames

Anchored by a top research university and an engaged community, Ames has made our Top 100 Best Places to Live three years in a row and our Top 10 Best College Towns in 2014. This intelligent city ranks in the top 10 for educational attainment on the list and the top 5 for high wage job growth. It’s a place that makes it easy to live, work and play, ranking in the top 5 for affordable housing and the top 20 for culture. Ames boasts a relatively low unemployment rate (in the top 20) and creativity, ranked in the top 20 for creative class workers.


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