I'm adding a few resource links to both blogs that provide a wealth of information that could play into your decision on where to practice. There are so many things to consider when making a life-altering and financial decision simultaneously, and one can have a direct effect on the other.
The first site link is to the U.S. Census Bureau's official census regions and divisions of the United States, prepared by the Geography Division of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Not only is each region divided into divisions, but both regions and divisions have had some name changes over the years. The Midwest Region used to be called the North Central Region, and the East North Central division is what we used to affectionately call the Great Lakes Region. Be careful helping your elementary school student with their geography homework! At least they haven't changed the state capital names - yet.
Once you've located some areas of interest, you can go to Sperling's Best Places and pull-up detailed information on any area. You can even create multiple side-by-side comparisons on topics as varied as: people, crime, economy, health, housing, transportation, education and climate. The 'general' link gives you a high-level overview, including the most important stat - the number of Starbuck's locations? Yes, that's right, the number of Starbuck's locations, or how far to the next caffiene fix. Seriously, though, there is a lot of detailed stats here, including per capita figures for the number of physicians, healthcare costs, illnesses, air and water quality, even the number of Superfund sites.
True cost of living considerations such as housing, food and education costs can make a big difference over the years in your disposable income, savings rate, and general quality of life. Many out of the way locations offer bright prospects for future economic and population growth, while offering a wonderful quality of life for a growing family.
We are truly blessed to live in a country of such vast diversity in geography, climate, cuisine and culture.
In this age of technology, a little online research can make the process of making your medical practice and lifestyle choices easier.