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Charlotte, N.C.

What had to say: "With a metro population of 1,745,524, Charlotte is the second-largest banking center in the country, and it has the jobs to prove it: Wells Fargo and Bank of America (pictured above) rank among the city's top employers. Charlotte's diversified economy has also seen gains in fields such as aviation, defense, bioscience and energy production, and the city added 4,900 private-sector jobs last year alone. US Airways Group has its headquarters here. Low rents and living costs combined with a glitzy, developing uptown district make it worth a look." Pros: A cost-of-living bargain compared to other major cities, rebounding economy. Cons: High, but falling, crime rates, limited public transportationReuters