Hat tip to KTVA Channel 11 for being the only local media outlet to pick this story up so far. Although no state is totally buffered from the downturn, several have gotten a boost from the energy, military and agricultural sectors. The healthiest states include Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
And Anchorage has been rated by Business Week as the best city in the country to start over. The top ten list is provided below; the links will take you to a slide show explaining each city's characteristics:
Click each place to learn more about it and why it made the list.
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Provo-Orem, Utah
- Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, Wash.
- Yakima, Wash.
- Omaha, Neb.,-Council Bluffs, Iowa
- Richmond, Va.
- Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Amarillo, Texas
- Washington, D.C., Arlington-Alexandria, Va., plus areas in Maryland and West Virginia
Here's their description of Anchorage:
-- Companies planning to hire in next quarter: 28%
-- Best job prospects: Construction, durable goods manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, other services, government. In particular, Providence Health & Services Alaska is averaging about 200 open positions and is looking for speech-language pathologists and nurses with specialized training in wound care and neonatal intensive care.
-- Population: 279,243
-- Average home price in January: $313,796 (this is somewhat of a downside)
-- Unemployment rate: 8.1%
As an additional bonus, MSN Real Estate rated Anchorage the number one most tax-friendly city in the country. No income or sales taxes, just property taxes and business taxes (if you open a business).
Upsides to living in Anchorage:
-- Great parks and trails system
-- Hunting and fishing nearby
-- Clean air
-- Anchorage School District considered to be among the top third of public school districts in the country (additional demographic information on schools available via Schoolbug).
-- No vehicle safety inspection law; only an emissions inspection required every two years
-- Strong support for the Second Amendment
-- Still a relatively tolerant political and cultural environment; as long as you don't commit crimes or create a public nuisance, we won't restrict what you do
-- University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA) emerging as the state's flagship school; new Integrated Science Facility opening up
-- Police focus on real crimes and don't nickel-and-dime you to death on penny-ante infractions. Vigorous DUI enforcement and punishment.
-- Professional minor-league hockey (Alaska Aces) and indoor football (Alaska Wild)
-- Six month winter (don't move up here if you can't handle snow on the ground all winter)
-- Political elite biased in favor of preservation over development; contributes to an excessively high median home price
-- No right-to-work law
-- State legislature buries itself in Juneau instead of meeting in Anchorage where they could be more accessible - and accountable - to voters.
-- Finding parking in downtown Anchorage can be a hassle - and expensive, too.
Those considering a move to Anchorage may also want to visit the designated City-Data forum for more information. Additional demographic information available via Zipskinny and on NeighborhoodScout. For NeighborhoodScout, you have to supply the zip code. Sample output for Anchorage 99508 HERE; mouse the cursor over an area and click, and you'll be able to access property values and crime stats for that given area.
I consider Anchorage a great place to live, notwithstanding the few downsides. No place is perfect.