Iowa City

Iowa City, Iowa –

What the research shows: Perhaps best known as a college town (it’s the home of the University of Iowa), Iowa City is also a great place to live and ranks in the top 20 for affordable housing and food spending, growth in high-wage jobs, culture and jobs.

One entrepreneur’s take: “Folks here are progressive, educated and cultured. The small-town vibe means word of mouth and cultivating regulars are a critical aspect of our business. We can’t rely on cycling through customers like you might in a metropolitan area.” — Rodney Anderson, founder, Pancheros Mexican Grill