Originally Posted by Morel Panic
I'm also a midwesterner planning on a major relocation in a few years, both for economic and personal reasons.
Somewhere in the dakotas seems good. I looked at South Dakota when I was considering going to school there (@ the school of mines). They really do have a lot of the good points that TravisW points out, plus I was actually pretty impressed with the school of mines (I'm not going there though mainly for distance related reasons, not academic). I also have kind of looked at moving to Australia, just to not be in the U.S. (I'm thinking of doing study abroad there).
Just an FYI, I'm from South Dakota. Pretty much, everywhere that's not Sioux Falls is a bunch of bible thumping hill billy type people. You might get some saving grace from college students, but as far as adults and teens go... It's all about being drunk, bars, and hunting. Not much for intellectual stimulation.
It's a decent atmosphere, great place to raise children as long as you bring them up right and don't let them be brainwashed by the churches. I grew up in the country, around Valley Springs / Brandon, which is just outside Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls is effectively an up and coming "Denver" (which is where I live now.) All the surrounding towns will eventually become part of Sioux Falls, much like Lakewood / Littleton / Aurora / etc. are all considered a part of Denver. You don't have nearly as much crime or anything in Sioux Falls yet, but then, the entire population of SD fits inside Lakewood alone, with room to spare.
I think I'd ideally like to live in Portland, Oregon. Or Seattle or something. Up there just sounds nice.
Edit: After reading some of the thread I skipped, it's kind of funny... I'm hardcore Scandinavian :P And I have to say, the cost of living is ridiculously much cheaper in SD than in Denver.