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      A Great Place to Live

      Posted on August 06, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      By almost any measure, Minnesota is a great place to live. We have it all: a growing economy, affordable living, top-notch health care, pristine lakes and forests, educated workers and a low crime rate.

      In study after study, Minnesota consistently lands at the top of the heap when it comes to quality of life measures. The granddaddy of those studies, the Camelot Index, recently ranked Minnesota second in the country based on six factors: economic vitality, health, education, crime, society and government. Another study, the Opportunity Index, rated Minnesota third this spring behind Vermont and North Dakota, based on social and economic factors that contribute to opportunities for career and life success.

      Underscoring the health of the economy, the state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, while per capita income grew to $46,227 last year – 11th best in the United States.

      Want more evidence about the quality of life here? Minnesota was rated the third-happiest state in the country, according to a 2012 report by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures physical health, emotional health, work environment and overall life satisfaction.

      We’re active and engaged in our communities, too, volunteering and voting in high numbers. Minnesota has led the country in voter turnout in 13 of the past 17 national elections, including the past nine straight. In the 2012 presidential election, 76.1 percent of the eligible voters went to the polls in Minnesota, compared with 58.7 percent nationally. Meanwhile, a 2011 study by the Corporation for National and Community Service ranked Minnesota fourth in the country in volunteering, with a 38 percent participation rate, compared with 26.8 percent nationally.

      Yet another recent study, this one by the Trust for Public Land, said the Twin Cities has the best park system in the country, based on park access, size, services and investment. Minneapolis and St. Paul are an impressive first and second, respectively, in land dedicated to parks, with16.6 percent of Minneapolis devoted to parks and 14.7 percent of St. Paul.

      Central Connecticut State University’s annual look at the country’s most literate cities ranked Minneapolis third and St. Paul sixth in its latest study. The 2012 study focused on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

      Even nerds are cool in Minneapolis, which was rated the fifth-nerdiest city in the country this spring by the Movoto real estate blog. Cities were ranked nerd-worthy based on their volume of bookstores, science museums, computer stores, comic book and science fiction conventions, and other criteria.

      Whether it’s nerds, parks, the economy or overall feeling of well-being, it’s hard to beat Minnesota’s quality of life. Want to learn more? Go to the DEED website at

      This post originally appeared in the DEED Developments Blog