Population in 2000: 292,648
Population in 2010: 261,310
Buffalo hasn't gained more than a percentage point of population since the 1920s, so it's understandable why people would think everyone just shy of the Bills are leaving -- and even they skip town for Toronto every so often.
Like Pittsburgh, however, Buffalo may have found its sweet spot as a smaller metro area. Buffalo's universities and burgeoning tech, tourism and health care industries help keep its median age below the national average at 34, but other factors are making it a much sweeter place to stay. Folks who decide to make Buffalo their home enjoy a cost of living 14.4% below the national average and home prices also below what their neighbors throughout the rest of the country are paying.
At that discount, Buffalo residents get a thriving art scene with more than 50 art museums and galleries and two festivals -- the Allentown Art Festival and the Elmwood Festival For The Arts -- a system of 20 parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (of Central Park fame), a smattering of music venues and a ton of bars and clubs on West Chippewa Street and in Allentown that are open until 4 a.m. It's so deceptively cool that Forbes put it at No. 18 on its list of the Top 40 towns for singles, ahead of Las Vegas and Miami, but even cooler is that its 7.6% unemployment rate is well below the national and allows more of its residents to see what the other cities are missing.-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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