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19. Boise
Population: 203,649
Pro: Low-cost office space and housing
Con: Competitive labor market

Boise Valley is the third-fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. and is home to a very clever populace: Boise routinely tops lists of patent grants per capita. The tech industry is particularly strong - thanks to resources out of the University of Idaho and major corporations in the area, such as semiconductor firm Micron - but the health services industry has also demonstrated robust growth. And while unemployment is extremely low (just 1.9%), the university provides an annual crop of young grads eager for work.

Boise's Economic Development Team assists entrepreneurs with startup strategies, from selecting potentially profitable sites to accessing community and county data. Business owners who have made the move to this mountain town find low housing and office-space costs, light traffic, and low taxes.

Many also discover an improved quality of life. With sunny weather, plentiful outdoor recreational options, high-quality schools, and low crime rates, urban transplants may wonder why they didn't move sooner - though some might jet off to San Francisco from time to time (less than two hours away by air) for a high-culture fix. -Kelsey Abbott

The call of the mountains: Why entrepreneurs flock to mountain towns
Interactive map: Boise
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Boise


NEXT: 20. Raleigh, N.C.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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