For most, living the good life includes high-paying jobs, affordable homes, a vibrant social life, and short commutes. How can you achieve such a first-rate lifestyle? Well, we identified 10 locales that promise a trove of business, professional, and personal opportunities: BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Top 10 Cities for African Americans.

Our 2007 ranking offers some major changes and repositioning in comparison to our 2001 and 2004 lists. Five cities found on both lists remain: Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Houston; and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio, represent returnees from our 2004 roster. Three cities failed to make the cut this time around: Birmingham, Alabama, which received a low response from its residents, and Baltimore and Memphis, Tennessee, which were knocked out of contention because of residents’ great dissatisfaction with several key living standards. Our newcomers to the list are Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

For the third consecutive time, major metropolitan areas such as New York and Los Angeles didn’t measure up. Chicago and Philadelphia, both included on our 2001 ranking, failed to return to their past glory. Residents of these urban hubs continue to be disenchanted with nagging social problems including the high cost of living, rising crime rates, and lackluster public schools.

Just as in 2004, the South continues to be the area of choice, with representation from eight metros—two from North Carolina; two from Texas; one each from Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee; and the Washington, D.C. Metro area. The career mobility, affordable housing, and overall quality of life found in Southern cities appeal to black families that live and flock there. For examples, look at the newbies: Jacksonville boasts a higher percentage of African American homeowners than any other city on the list, while robust job growth and a highly educated black population helped Raleigh-Durham make the grade this year. These Southern towns are no longer considered sleepy provincial locales; they now offer the same social amenities as cities traditionally considered more dynamic. Residents enjoy rich cultural environs complete with art galleries, concerts, professional sports, and night clubs.

So how did we arrive at the top 10? Our selections were culled from more than 2,000 respondents who filled out an interactive survey posted on our Website (www.blackenter over a nine-week period, between December 2006 and February 2007. Participants were asked to evaluate their cities based on their level of satisfaction with 24 quality of life factors (1, very dissatisfied, to 5, very satisfied). Although more than 300 cities were nominated, only those cities with more than 20 responses were given consideration.

How The Cities Were Chosen
In Assessing The Locations, We Actually Looked at metropolitan areas—the core cities and surrounding suburbs as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. This year’s survey showed respondents were satisfied overall with earnings potential, entrepreneurial opportunities, jobs, cost of living, affordable housing, higher education, access to technology, and medical care. In general, respondents were discontent with the quality of public schools, availability of daycare facilities, race relations, crime rates, and