4. Lincoln, Neb. Population
: 262,350 Credit rating
: Aaa, stable outlook Violent crime per 1,000 people
: 3.71 (18th lowest) Unemployment rate
: 3.9% (the lowest)
Lincoln’s 3.9% unemployment rate in 2011 was the lowest of all metropolitan areas in the country. The city is home to the University of Nebraska’s flagship campus, which employs more than 8,000. Like Omaha, Lincoln has been spared from the recession more than most places. Home values rose 2.7% between 2007 and 2011 compared to a 10.7% drop nationwide. In 2011, just 0.36% of Lincoln’s homes were in foreclosure, the eighth-lowest rate among large cities. Like many of the other top-rated cities, Lincoln’s general obligation debt is rated as a perfect Aaa, with a stable outlook.
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