10. Deer Park, TX
Deer Park, TX
Median home price: $131,250
Median family income: $80,721

It's just 20 miles outside of Houston, but Deer Park is no commuter kingdom: Many residents work right in town at Shell's refinery and petrochemical plant. The 1,500-acre Shell complex is the nation's sixth largest refinery, employing 1,700 workers.

The plant jobs pay well and the cost of living is low here, according to Debbie Westbeld, the city's Economic Development Administrator. "There's lots of disposable income," she said. "Everybody has a boat or a four-wheeler."

The town is also attractive for its extremely low crime rate, well-funded schools and slow pace. "It's Mayberry R.F.D," said Westbeld.  

See complete data and interactive map for Deer Park


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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