Although the Midwest region of the United States has been derogatorily referred to as “flyover country” in some instances, millions of Americans are more than happy to make their homes within these states. The cost of living tends to be cheaper, and the people are often naturally friendly.

The Midwest is also a great example of the United States’ diversity. There are plenty of small towns, from University Heights, Iowa, to Westwood, Kansas. Then there are the big cities, like Chicago, the Twin Cities, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and more. But one increasingly viable option for everyone (from young professionals to families to retirees) is to live in suburbs with easy access to the city. In fact, many Midwestern suburbs consistently rank at the top of the best U.S. places to live lists. Why? They offer a close-knit feel, with good access to nature and safe neighborhoods. Meanwhile, they’re also located close enough to major urban areas that adults are easily able to commute into the city and access thousands of job opportunities.

Living in the American Heartland can be great, but unless you’re choosing to move somewhere where you already have family or friends, figuring out exactly which city or suburb to live in can be a daunting task—after all, there are thousands of communities spanning 12 American states. That’s why Stacker is here to help you determine the best Midwestern spot for you and your loved ones.

LOOK: Here are the 100 best places to live in the Midwest

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