20 years of Best Places

Money's top places have always had great schools, reasonable housing and a genuine sense of community. For many, the trick today is to maintain those virtues when everyone wants to move in. Here is an update on seven past winners.

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C. (1994)
Franklin Street in Chapel Hill
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C. (1994)
 
1994 986,100 2.7% $140,000
2007 1,421,600 3.4% $212,000


It's no secret that the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area has a lot of gray matter, with three major universities - Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State - and the famed Research Triangle Park. In 1994 all that brainpower, plus the area's idyllic setting, job opportunities and great weather, made it our Best Place.

Today it remains a job mecca, and Triangle Park alone is home to 40,000 employees at 130 companies with a diverse group of employers in high-tech, life sciences and academe. The metro area added nearly 30,000 jobs in 2006, and Black Enterprise magazine named Raleigh/Durham the third-best area in the U.S. for African Americans in 2007. Rapid growth - before 1994 and since - has increased traffic and sprawl. Several school districts have switched to year-round schedules to help ease overcrowding, despite loud objections from parents.

Biggest development since 1994: Public and private investments worth a combined $1.8 billion will dramatically reshape Raleigh's downtown core. Construction began earlier this year.

Nashua, N.H.

Seattle

Rochester, Minn.

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

Gainesville, Fla.

Charlottesville, Va.

Sarasota
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.