9. Seattle, US

Seattle is fast catching up with its west coast rival San Francisco for attracting businesses and startups, with its lower cost of living and equally high further education rate.

Despite the city’s relatively high prices Seattle is still attracting all manor of startups attracting more than $1.2bn in venture funding in the last year.

The home of Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Costco, the city gets high marks for strong performances by its companies, and it scores high on payroll and personal-income growth, and high education levels.

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