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3 places in MN make top 30 in 'best small cities for business' ranking

8 out of the top 10 cities in the list are in the Midwest.

America's biggest business hubs all have one thing in common: It's expensive as heck to run a company there.

That's why has looked outside the biggest metropolitan areas in the U.S. to identify the best locations for businesses that want to set up shop in a more affordable, but still bustling location.

Its conclusion is intriguing, as it found that 8 of the 10 best "small cities" to run a business are in the Midwest.

Of those, Minnesota has one in the top 10 in the form of Rochester, the home of the Mayo Clinic as well as several universities and IBM's research and development center.

"The city places high on the list due to all-around solid statistics, but most notably due to its percentage of young people with a bachelor’s degree or higher," the study said of Rochester, which ranks 5th overall.

The list is topped by Fargo, North Dakota, with Bismarck placing 4th. Wisconsin has La Crosse and Appleton in the top 10, ranking 6th and 10th, respectively.

Other Midwestern cities in the top 10 are Billings, Montana, and Elkhart-Goshen and Columbus in Indiana.

There are two more Minnesota small cities that made the top 30, with Mankato-North Mankato ranking 17th and St. Cloud 26th, respectively. 

Cities that qualified for the rankings have populations between 50,000 and 250,000, which were judged on criteria including the percentage of the young population with a degree, median earnings of 25+ year olds, unemployment rates and the number of firms doing business in each city.

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