By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Last week, listed Milwaukee as one of "20 cities you don't want to live in ... yet."

The article -- which Jeff Sherman reported in a blog last week -- noted Milwaukee students have low school scores and the city has above-average crime and unemployment rates. Detroit, Baltimore. St. Louis, Cleveland and Memphis also made the list.

On the flip side, in 2010, Milwaukee was rated America’s second-most "relaxed" cities by Forbes Magazine. Forbes stated that Milwaukee was a city that allowed residents to easily obtain a healthy balance between work and life.

According to Jeannine Sherman, Visit Milwaukee’s director of public relations, 96 percent of Milwaukee’s workers have a work commute that takes less than an hour and, on average, Milwaukee’s work week is 38.4 hours.

"Our quality of life here is amazing. We have incredibly talented, nationally-recognized, performing arts groups and diverse, world-class attractions that appeal to any age or interest, from the Milwaukee Art Museum to the Harley-Davidson Museum," says Jeannine Sherman.

In response to this, turned to current residents who recently moved to Milwaukee and asked them why they migrated and if they were satisfied with their decision.

Stephanie Stella grew up in Milwaukee. She moved back to the city in 2001 for graduate school, and in 2003 moved to Austin, Texas and later, to Lucca, Italy. In 2008, she again returned to Milwaukee, after living in Guatemala, to finish her Ph.D.

Her reasons for repeatedly returning to Milwaukee are rooted in family and lifestyle. Plus, world travel has affected her perception of safety.

"Milwaukee has always provided me with opportunities, both academic and career.  There's a naturalness and unpretentiousness to the people here that I really appreciate and feel comfortable with," says Stella.

"I think the city offers financially accessible cultural and artistic opportunities that are also high quality. More than many other places in the Americas, I feel it's pretty easy and safe to get around Milwaukee by foot, bike and public transportation. The cost of living is pretty low. And the family is here."

Julie Ragland and her husband, Russ Fascia, moved back to Milwaukee twice in 10 years. The couple moved to London for five years and later to Dubai for almost three years. Both moves were for work opportunities and the chance to see the world from a different perspective. Today, the couple lives in Bay View.

"There's a myth that bigger cities offer better cultural / art advantages. The fact is that these cultural opportunities in a big city are often very inaccessible," says Ragland.

"In London, for example, if we wanted to see a play we had to leave our house 90 minutes before it started to ensure that we would have enough time to get to it. Milwaukee is filled with more culture and art than we could ever get to, and we can usually go at the drop of a hat. We go to far more events here than we ever did in London."

Of course, not everyone is thrilled with their move to Milwaukee. It really boils down to luck -- or lack of it -- in some cases.

Mike Harding and his wife, Becca, moved to Milwaukee from St. Louis in 2008 because Mike got a job at a large corporation. Within six months, he was laid off, and Becca was unable to work because she was at the end of a complicated pregnancy.

"We saw the dark side of Milwaukee, and because we had no previous experience here, we’re still not big fans today," she says. "Mike has struggled to find work and because I was bed-ridden, we didn’t make any friends for months. Now, it’s a little better because we have a few friends and awesome neighbors. But I still want to move as soon as possible."

Lisa Goldman moved back to Milwaukee after living in Santa Fe, N.M., for 10 years. She moved back for a relationship, which did not work out, and although she considered moving back to New Mexico, she is glad she decided to stay in Milwaukee.

"I was absolutely devastated by what happened in this relationship and I was ready to tuck my tail between my legs and run back to Santa Fe. But I had a previous network of strong female friends here who rallied around me, helped me out emotionally. Milwaukee is amazing in that it is a paradox: a small city feel within a large city. I reconnected with a lot of old friends, and networked like mad," says Goldman.

Because of her previous Milwaukee connections and many friends, Goldman landed two jobs in Milwaukee: as a producer at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and as a MIAD instructor.

"If you had asked me this question eight months ago, I would have provided you a very different answer. Now, I feel like there is some major karmic retribution taking place. And I have many, many friends and family to thank. So, the new journey begins. We shall see where it takes me," says Goldman.

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.