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31 of 50
31. La Palma, CA
La Palma, CA
31
Top 50 rank: 31
Population: 15,879

La Palma, about 20 miles from Los Angeles, is the archetypal California suburb: Think palm trees, sunny weather, and easy access to the beach.

But these attractive amenities come at a cost. With a median home sales price of $500,000, La Palma is an example of why Orange County has a rep as one of the most expensive counties in California.

Yet some are willing to invest for access to La Palma's high-ranking schools and safety: The town has the lowest police response time in the O.C. --H.L.

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La Palma, CA
Town stats
Median family income (per year)
$97,531
Job growth % (2010-2012)
2.81%
Median home price (2012)
$458,500
Reading test scores (% above/below average)
45.6%
Math test scores (% above/below average)
34.1%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000)
1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000)
16
Financials
Town stats
Median family income (per year)
$97,531
Family purchasing power (annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$80,154
Sales tax
8.00%II
State income tax rate (highest bracket)
12.30%I
State income tax rate (lowest bracket)
1.00%I
Auto insurance premiums (Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,478
Job growth % (2010-2012)
2.81%
Housing
Median home price (2012)
$458,500
Average property taxes
(2011)
$3,441
Education
Reading test scores (% above/below state average)
45.6%
Test scores math (% above/below average)
34.1%
% students attending public/private schools (located within town limits)
97.6/2.4
Quality of life
Air quality index* (% of days AQI ranked as good)
60.4%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000)
1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000)
16
Median commute time (in minutes)
26.3
% population with commute 45 mins. or longer
21.8%
% population walk or bike to work
1.6%
Leisure and culture
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts)
0.1
Weather
Annual rainfall (inches)
12.94
% clear days in the area
76%
High temp in July ° F
82.9°
Low temp in Jan ° F
46°
Meet the neighbors
Median age
40.6
Completed at least some college (% of residents)
70.4%
Married %
55.1%
Divorced %
6.5%
Racial diversity index (100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
507.8
From the September 2013 issue

Source: Onboard Informatics. Details




(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.
For joint returns, taxes are twice the tax on half the couple's income.
The personal exemption takes the form of a tax credit instead of a deduction.
California imposes an additional 1% tax on taxable income over $1 million, making the maximum rate 13.3% over $1 million.

(II) Sales tax notes:
California (1%) and Virginia (1%) levy mandatory, statewide add-on sales taxes at the local level; these are included in their state sales tax rates.
Is La Palma a great town, or what?
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Money picked the top 100. Now it's your turn: Which town will be our fan favorite? 'Like' your town and it might just make it to No. 1.

Town # of Likes
1. Sharon, MA 11,939
2. Apex, NC 10,693
3. Westford, MA 6,011
4. Peachtree City, GA 5,622
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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