Boise, with an almost 20% population spike in the past decade, is an American West boomtown where access to the outdoors, a strong economy thanks to its booming tech sector, and a lower cost of living than many other cities similar in size is drawing people in from all over the country. Despite ranking just outside our Top 10 for midsize cities, Boise finished #7 in both our deep Place and Prosperity categories, led by the third-most Fortune 500 companies. Known as the “Austin of the North,” Boise’s tech scene is becoming well known at a rapid pace. It’s anchored by the tech giant Micron Technology and blossoming in all sorts of interesting startups. Also adding to its allure are mountains, a desert, and a river all within striking distance. Floating the Boise River, hiking around the foothills, or fishing at the Swan Falls Dam all make it possible for Boise to perform so well in our Place category, which ranks outdoor activities and air quality, among other factors.