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3. Seattle-Bellvue-Everett (WA)

Metro population: 2.4 million
Unemployment rate: 8.1%
Cost of living index: 132.9 (100 is average)

Seattle was the grunge music capital in the 90s and it’s “still a very happening place,” Sperling said. It ranks high on indie culture, the number of young people and green living.

Sue Elias