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• America's Best Affordable Places 2011
• America's 50 Most Expensive Small Towns 2011
• World's Most Expensive Cities 2011
4. ScottsdalePopulation: 233,105
Mayor: W.J. "Jim" Lane
Why it's ranked: A wealthy Phoenix suburb, Scottsdale has the second best schools among cities we ranked, low unemployment, and a high number of park acres per person. More than half of the population has a college degree. Like many other Arizona cities, there is a high foreclosure rate, but Scottsdale bucks the trend with low unemployment.
5. Irvine, Calif.Population: 197,498
Mayor: Sukhee Kang
Why it's ranked: Settled into a broad valley between the San Joaquin Hills and Loma Ridge, Irvine is a wealthy Los Angeles suburb that sets the standard on many levels. The median income is $92,195 and 64.1 percent of the population is educated at the college level. Further, the area has the best schools among the cities on our list. In short, it's a great place to settle down.
6. Washington D.C.Population: 588,433
Mayor: Vincent C. Gray
Why it's ranked: The nation's capital doubles as a pretty cool city. There are great bars, endless restaurants for hobnobbing, and some of the best museums on the planet. On the down side, however, Washington D.C. suffers from the second- highest level of violent crime on this list and a poverty level that nears one in five citizens. However, the city is much in demand, with the lowest foreclosure rate on our list and great schools.
7. San DiegoPopulation: 1,297,618
Mayor: Jerry Sanders
Why it's ranked: It's difficult to find a city that has weather more classically perfect. Essentially, it's always sunny, flip-flop weather. So grab your surfboard and head to the beach, one of the hundreds of bars or thousands of restaurants. Or, put on a pair of loafers and head to one of the nearly 200 museums in the area. America's finest city is just waiting to please you.
8. Virginia BeachPopulation: 434,922
Mayor: William D. Sessoms, Jr.
Why it's ranked: Endless miles of sandy beaches and a happening three-mile boardwalk, along with thousands of acres of parks, make Virginia Beach a beautiful place to live. The city has low unemployment, more than a thousand restaurants to choose from, great schools, and low levels of crime.
9. San FranciscoPopulation: 797,271
Mayor: Edwin M. Lee
Why it's ranked: San Francisco has it all. From culture like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the leafy trees and conservatory of Golden Gate Park to the hippie history of the Haight, the city by the bay is a thriving, soulful city. The extensive restaurants, bars, and corresponding nightlife are the cherry on top.
10. AnchoragePopulation: 291,826
Mayor: Dan Sullivan
Why it's ranked: By the numbers, Anchorage ranks high, though there are extremes in terms of light and dark, with 24 hours of daylight on the summer solstice and about five and a half hours of daylight in the winter. The city has far more park acres per person than any other city we ranked and the best air quality by a long shot. Anchorage has also done well through the downturn, with low unemployment, a high median income, and a low rate of foreclosures.
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