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6 Best Cities for Starting Over in 2012

BOSTON (MainStreet) -- If you're looking for a fresh start following a layoff, a divorce or other life-changing event, experts suggest that you go Midwest, young man -- or young woman, middle-aged man, etc.

"Things are really booming in parts of the Midwest right now," says Bert Sperling, of Sperling's BestPlaces. "If you take a map and draw a line from North Dakota straight south to Texas, that's where you're going to find areas that have really low unemployment."

With only a 4.7% jobless rate and 16.1% singles population, Iowa City, Iowa, may be the best place in America to start over after a life-changing event.

Sperling recently analyzed the latest government data and found that five Midwestern cities and one Utah locale offer America's best combination of low joblessness and a high percentage of singles (i.e., people you can date after a divorce).

The expert says the heartland's inexpensive living costs attract plenty of unmarried people, while high commodities prices are boosting the region's farming, oil and gas industries.

As a result, Sperling says the cities below all provide great opportunities for starting over after a life setback -- or really for anyone who's looking for a nice place to live.

"A low unemployment rate is a pretty good sign that a city's economy is doing well, while a large singles population is an indication of a community's vibrancy," he says. "In any metro area, singles are the hope for the future."

All figures below are from the U.S. Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey data and the U.S. Labor Department's latest city-by-city jobless statistics. Singles rates refer to the percentage of unmarried people among 25-to-34 year olds, while population figures reflect an entire metro area:

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