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2. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY

Buffalo is an older, industrial city that has “gone through a sort of gut-wrenching transition into the 21st Century,” Sperling says. And now that it’s gotten over the bumps, it’s a great place to live.

The Buffalo-Niagara Falls areahas a growing arts scene and it’s affordable: The cost of living is 14.4 percent below the national average, and the average home price is $119,700, well below the national average of $171,700.

There are more than 20 parks in Buffalo, earning it the nickname, “City of Trees,” and for all you sports fans, it’s home of the Buffalo Bills football team and Buffalo Sabres hockey team. As for Niagara Falls, the city has moved from an industrial center to a more sustainable tourism-based economy, and with the opening of the Conference Center Niagara Falls a few years ago, it now attracts more business travelers.

The unemployment rate in the region is 8.3 percent, below the national average. Health care and education are the fastest growing industries here.

Companies That Are Hiring Now: Synacor, M&T Bank, Kaleida Health and HSBC Bank, according to Indeed.com.

Photo: Hisham Ibrahim | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images