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10 Steps to Finding the Best Place to Live

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Step 6: Outdoor Life

Most people equate a great place to live by the amount of outdoor activities available, the number of days you can be outside enjoying the weather and easy access to parks, beaches and all things green.

Step 7: Safety

Now, some people are surprised that safety ranks so low on my list; that's probably because I'm currently living in Canada, where the crime rates are typically low, even for large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.

Research the Internet: Using a search engine like Google or Yahoo or MSN, type in the name of the city and "crime statistics by neighborhood". Identify the risk of personal and property crimes for a location. This should generate some information, depending on the size of the city. Most larger urban areas have detailed crime reports, while smaller towns may only have general information. Either way, this is a good place to start. Contact the Local Police Department: The police department will provide details about a particular area. This is probably your best source for information on crime and safety. Most police stations will also provide details on how active the community is, if they are involved in crime prevention or community policing.

Forbes' provides a listing of the Safest and Least Safest Places to Live, with stats and detailed information. And checkout Sperling's Crime Calculator - a great tool for getting fast data.

Step 8: Politics

Think about the way you live, what is important to you and the values you take with you. Ask yourself if you prefer a conservative climate or a more liberal one? How does the city or county usually vote? How important are local politics? Is the social structure of a city or neighborhood important to you?

Step 9: Cost of Living

For most people, this is a crucial piece of information to access; cost for housing, food, entertainment and transportation are all factors in your decision. These helpful tools allow you to measure the cost of living in a variety of cities nation-wide.

Step 10: Spiritual

For many people, finding a community that supports one's spiritual needs is important; likewise, some prefer to live in a city that offers a variety of churches, temples and mosques.

Belief.net offers information on places of worship in cities and neighborhoods across the US. It also provides information on various religions, including history, articles and discussion forums.

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