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Live the Simple Life

Where to find low costs, minimal stress and lots of fun

Much has been said in praise of the simple life—words that give us a lot to think about as we consider how and where we may want to spend the rest of our days. In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote of his two-year experiment with living in a woodland cabin, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

See also: Find Purpose, Live Longer.

Much earlier, Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” But closer to our own time Albert Einstein remarked, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

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We’re with Einstein, at least when it comes to identifying places where a simple life can most easily be attained. Working with Best Places guru Bert Sperling, we defined criteria for just what it may take. We screened more than 300 metropolitan areas in the U.S. for characteristics including stable home values, low unemployment and cost of living, minimal traffic congestion, availability of cultural activities, outdoor recreation opportunities, and more—17 traits in all that contribute to a no-hassle, low-key lifestyle.

All demographic information provided by Bert Sperling of For black-and-white reprints of this article, call 866-888-3723.