Collin County is no longer just the country cousin of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. With an influx of young families -- overall population is up 59% since 2000 -- its vast pool of workers is helping the area develop its own business base.
A few area companies have been hit hard by the sluggish economy. Big employers J.C. Penney and HP both recently streamlined operations. But others are growing fast. Oil and gas firm Denbury Resources is expanding its corporate campus in Plano, which is expected to add hundreds of jobs.
Collin County is keeping its eye on the long term and shoring up infrastructure. Its airport just opened a new runway, and the county is investing millions in road improvement projects.
These terrific small cities offer strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and a true sense of community.