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4 of 50
4. Chanhassen, MN
Chanhassen, MN
4
Top 50 rank: 4
Population: 23,685

Chanhassen was affected by Minnesota's woes during the downturn, but the town is bouncing back and taking fresh steps to improve. The area school district recently provided $700,000 in grants for classroom tech projects and is now rolling out Wi-Fi on all school buses. The town also beefed up commuter options.

The housing market, which took a big hit, is surging back. Jobs have remained strong, and nearby Minneapolis offers big-name employers like Target and the Mayo Clinic.

One perk of Twin Cities-area living is access to the great outdoors. Chanhassen's highlights include 34 parks, 90 miles of trails, and the 1,137-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. When below-zero wind chills set in, there's February Festival with ice-fishing contests, sledding, and cookouts. --Veronica Crews

Watch: Why we love Chanhassen

Correction: An earlier version of this profile stated the Mayo Clinic is in Minneapolis. It is in Rochester, MN.

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Chanhassen, MN
Town stats
Median family income (per year)
$124,200
Job growth % (2010-2012)
4.16%
Median home price (2012)
$201,5001
Reading test scores (% above/below average)
13.3%
Math test scores (% above/below average)
16.9%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000)
13
Property crime incidents (per 1,000)
173
Financials
Town stats
Median family income (per year)
$124,200
Family purchasing power (annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$114,523
Sales tax
6.88%
State income tax rate (highest bracket)
7.85%I
State income tax rate (lowest bracket)
5.35%I
Auto insurance premiums (Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,594
Job growth % (2010-2012)
4.16%
Housing
Median home price (2012)
$201,5001
Average property taxes
(2012)
$4,498
Education
Reading test scores (% above/below state average)
13.3%
Test scores math (% above/below average)
16.9%
% students attending public/private schools (located within town limits)
84.7/15.3
Quality of life
Air quality index* (% of days AQI ranked as good)
N.A.
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000)
13
Property crime incidents (per 1,000)
173
Median commute time (in minutes)
20.8
% population with commute 45 mins. or longer
8.2%
% population walk or bike to work
2.6%
Leisure and culture
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts)
4.5
Weather
Annual rainfall (inches)
29.41
% clear days in the area
54%
High temp in July ° F
85.8°
Low temp in Jan ° F
3.4°
Meet the neighbors
Median age
38.8
Completed at least some college (% of residents)
84.3%
Married %
69.3%
Divorced %
4.4%
Racial diversity index (100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
30.0
From the September 2013 issue

Source: Onboard Informatics. Details

(1) Median based on fewer than 100 home sales in the area.
(3) Crime incidences are estimates based on FBI 2011 Universal Crime and incidence reports, OnBoard analysis.

(I) Income tax notes:
17 states have statutory provision for automatically adjusting to the rate of inflation the dollar values of the income tax brackets, standard deductions, and/or personal exemptions. Massachusetts, Michigan, and Nebraska index the personal exemption only. Oregon does not index the income brackets for $125,000 and over.
These states use the personal exemption amounts provided in the federal Internal Revenue Code.
The income brackets reported for Minnesota are for single individuals. For married couples filing jointly, the same tax rates apply to income brackets ranging from $35,480 to $140,961.
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2. Apex, NC 10,706
3. Westford, MA 6,014
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5. Hillsborough, NJ 5,323
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Using statistics from data services company Onboard Informatics and other sources, we crunched the numbers in order to zero in on America's best small towns for families. (Last year, we looked at small cities, with populations between 50,000 and 300,000.) More

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