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5 Best Cities for Families in the U.S.: The Tax-Free Edition

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Many people assume that suburbs are the best places for families, but urban living has its benefits, too. In fact, some metropolitan areas give middle-class families wonderful opportunities to thrive, because of low unemployment rates, great schools, low costs of living, cultural events, and indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities. Even better, some of these cities are in U.S. states that don’t charge income tax.

Here’s a rundown of the five best cities for families that offer the added benefit of no state income tax:

1. Fairbanks, Alaska

If your family loves the idea of living on America’s Last Frontier while still having access to the comforts of city life, Fairbanks could be the perfect place. With its approximately 32,300 residents, Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-biggest city and home to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Bordered by the Chena and Tanana Rivers, Fairbanks has a small-town feel but earns big points with families for its proximity to hunting and fishing locations, hockey teams and other sports programs, cross-country ski opportunities, and the annual Yukon Quest dogsled race.

2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

For those in search of a Midwestern lifestyle, Sioux Falls offers big-city amenities, hot summers, and cool, dry winters. In 2013, real estate website Movato named this city of approximately 164,700 as the eighth-best midsize U.S. city to move to. Thanks in part to its low unemployment rate of just 3.3 percent, Sioux Falls is consistently ranked as a top place for jobs on various national lists. It also makes the grade for families because of its recreational and leisure activities. If you’re planning to move your business to a tax-free state, Sioux Falls has made Forbes’s Best Small Places for Business and Careers list all but once over the past decade.

3. Glenrock, Wyoming

While beautiful Glenrock is technically a town, we’re still counting it as one of the best cities for families relocating to Wyoming—a state with a small population to begin with. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on the banks of Deer Creek, this charming spot is home to approximately 2,600 residents. With the bustling city of Casper less than 30 minutes away, mining and construction jobs in the area are plentiful. The cost of living falls below the U.S. average. Originally a stopping place for pioneers heading west on the Oregon Trail, today’s families enjoy music festivals, jamborees, and activities at nearby Medicine Bow–Routt National Forests.

4. Bellevue, Washington

Washington is home to several cities that may appeal to families looking for an urban lifestyle in a zero-income-tax state, and beautiful Bellevue is one of the top choices. Often described as a suburb of Seattle, Bellevue hosts its own population of 134,000 and has all the amenities a family could want. With top schools, award-winning restaurants, nearby hiking trails, and scenic Mount Rainier located about 80 miles away, this Washington city is an attractive option for families.

5. Fort Myers, Florida

As a smaller city in sunny Florida, Fort Myers may suit families who want to avoid the snow and ice of winter altogether. With a population of about 68,100, Fort Myers offers a variety of public and private education options as well as a good selection of family neighborhoods and a cost of living lower than the U.S. average. Add shopping venues, historic sites, music events, festivals, and beach activities, and Fort Myers becomes a winning choice for families in tax-free Florida.

If your family is ready to make a change to a new state, consider moving to one of these great income-tax-free cities.

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Sarita Harbour is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, entrepreneurship, and green living. As a former financial adviser with over a decade of banking experience, she has been writing for American and Canadian digital audiences for the past three years. Her work is featured regularly on Capital One's Spark Business IQ, Forbes, and The Lending Tree, and also appears on sites such as Fox News, Yahoo! Homes, Bob Vila, Equifax Insights for Small Business, and Intuit Small Business. Sarita graduated from the University of Guelph where she studied Psychology and Computer Science, and she holds the Personal Financial Planning designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers. Sarita is also a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. She lives with her family in an off-the-grid cabin outside of Yellowknife, NWT.