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New Haven, CT

The Bad: New Haven makes the list for its high crime, high cost of living, high taxes and poor schools, according to city-data.com. It also has a high unemployment rate at 9 percent.

The Good: The city has made the transition from an industrial center to a more diversified economy, with education and health care the biggest industries. It’s home to Yale and other colleges, Sperling notes, plus it’s got great museums and other cultural assets such as a vibrant theater community. Plus, it’s only 90 minutes to New York City by train.

Recovery: The unemployment rate, though still high, has fallen to 9 percent from its peak at 9.7 percent last July. The city has offered tax breaks to companies to attract more business, including an initiative last year to attract more videogame makers and other new media companies. Downtown New Haven has undergone a significant revitalization in the past decade, with restaurants, nightlife and shops, making it an attractive place to live.

Photo: Michael J. Ivins | Getty Images