9. Franklin, IN
Franklin, IN
Median home price: $99,000
Median family income: $60,914

Franklin produces auto parts, packaging and great basketball players, like former Indiana University sharpshooter, Steve Alford.

The town's early claim to fame came nearly 70 years ago when a Life magazine crew came to shoot a photo essay, which portrayed Saturday night in an ideal American small town.

Since then, the city's population has almost quadrupled and many big companies -- Toyota and Mitsubishi among them -- have opened up shop, employing a fair percentage of locals. Other residents commute to Indianapolis, just 25 miles away.

Since the Life story, "we've become more of a suburb," said Mayor Fred Paris, "but one thing that hasn't changed much is the people. There's a strong strain of volunteerism here."  

See complete data and interactive map for Franklin


Last updated August 15 2011: 2:48 PM ET
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These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

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