When creating a list of cities in which you would someday like to live, Fresno, Calif. may not make your top ten; actually it may not even break your top 20. You may have never even heard of it. I've lived in California almost all of my life (shoutout to Moldova, though) and I didn't hear about Fresno until I was in my 20s and even then, only when one of my friends moved there to work in a jail. (To be fair, though, I also didn't learn that sun-in shouldn't be sprayed in your hair by the bottle until I was 22, so don't take my word for it. And don't Google any pictures!)
Fresno is a city in the central valley—agriculture as far as the eye can see-that's becoming increasingly more attractive to young people, along with other new favorites such as Tulsa, Tucson, and Omaha. Move over New York—bright lights and big cities can't compare to the allure of a steady source of income and a low-priced manicure.
That's right, a manicure! Aljazeera America reports that a project launched by digital magazine Vocativ to find the best cities for those under 35 studied every metric possible to give Fresno their seal of approval.
"We used everything from median age to unemployment to average cost for a two-bedroom apartment to the cost of a pint of Guinness and the cost of an ounce of weed to the number of coffee shops and music venues and the cost of manicures and pedicures," said Victoria Cavaliere, one of the lead reporters on the project. "The data doesn't lie."
Yes, but is there a combination coffee shop/beauty salon/marijuana dispensary yet? Because that sounds like it could do really well! And it might happen because Fresno is also extremely open to the entrepreneurial spirit, allowing new citizens to carve out their own path to what they want to do. (Within reason. Unfortunately, Fresno doesn't have its own version of Broadway yet or I would be living there tomorrow. Today, if I could get a ride.)
"There's a bit of a pioneering instinct," said Ilana Preuss, vice president and chief of staff of Smart Growth America, a national coalition that promotes growth without harming the environment (compact neighborhoods, public transit). "They feel they have the power to create a new economy … These are places to have businesses because of incredibly strong personal connections."
Personal connections, concern for the environment, and low-priced manicures? Hmm, maybe I'll sign up after all.
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