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50. Greensboro, N.C.
Population: 231,720
Pros: Family-friendly, actively encouraging development of new industries
Con: Economy has suffered from the decline of major industries

Greensboro's economy has taken a hit because of the decline in the tobacco, textiles, manufacturing and furniture industries. However, the city is capitalizing on the growth in its new target sectors: advanced manufacturing, aviation, financial services and data centers, life sciences, and transportation and logistics. Greensboro's infrastructure works well for companies in these fields. No inventory tax and low rates for utilities like power and water are attractive to manufacturing firms, while biotech startups receive support from a government-funded organization dedicated to developing this sector, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

As proud as Greensboro is of where it stands now, it has not forgotten where it came from. Historical landmarks and reenactments commemorate the area's Civil War history throughout the city. The kid-friendly town is also home to a zoo, planetarium, children's museum and large water park. A new minor-league baseball park appeals to resident sports fans, as does the PGA's Wyndham Championship gold tournament, which is scheduled to tee off at Greensboro's Sedgefield Country Club this summer. For patrons of the arts, Greensboro offers its own symphony, opera, ballet companies and a collection of art galleries. -Brandi Stewart

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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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