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55. Dover, Del.
Population: 36,646
Pros: Quieter and less expensive than surrounding cities; state government provides a stable economy
Con: Too quiet for some residents

The state capital of Delaware is small, but it's in easy reach of major cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington - as well as a long stretch of beautiful Atlantic beaches.

Dover's pace is slower than that of larger cities, and its cost of living is much lower. Revolutionary War-era history is still evident, especially on Dover's historic green, where Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. The Dover Air Force Base is a major local presence. Housing thousands of military personnel and creating significant demand for support services, the base claims to generate $470 million in local economic impact each year.

Delaware is known nationally for its aggressively pro-business tax policies: it has no sales tax, no personal property tax, no business use tax and no inventory tax. As a result, many major U.S. companies are incorporated in Dover. The city has significant resources for small-business owners, with a cluster of city, state and federal offices available for technical assistance, advice and loan programs. -Elizabeth Bland

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NEXT: 56. Winston-Salem, N.C

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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