Money's list of America's best small towns


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3. Papillion, NE
Papillion
WINNER
Top 100 rank: 3
Population: 22,200
Unemployment: 4.5%
Compare Papillion to Top 10 Best Places
It's rare for a town to rack up great scores in both economic performance and housing affordability. This friendly community outside Omaha delivers both.

The May jobless rate in its county was less than half the national average, thanks to diverse area employers including Mutual of Omaha, TD Ameri­trade, Union Pacific Railroad, and Con Agra. Within Papillion's borders are Alegent Health and InfoUSA.

What's more, Papillion has acres of open space, traffic jams are unheard of, and par­ents feel comfortable letting their kids ride bikes unsuper­vised.

The knocks on Papillion used to be a tired-looking downtown and few things to do. But the town has been working hard to fix both problems. It is $750,000 into a multiyear downtown revitalization project that in­cludes new sidewalks and antique lighting. Last year the town opened Sumpter Amphi­theater, a $1.5 million perform­ing arts center that hosts free movies, concerts, and wine tastings. And a new AAA baseball stadium is planned for 2011.

Is Papillion a great town, or what?
Papillion stats
Median family income
(per year)
$93,612 $97,441
Job growth %
(2000-2008)*
27.98% 19.58%
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Median home price $155,500 $262,148
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Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
N.A. 25.6%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
N.A. 28.2%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 0 1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 16 19
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
1,274 1,923
High temp in July ° F* 87.6° 85.5°
Low temp in Jan ° F* 11.2° 21.0°
Median age 33.8 36.6
Median family income
(per year)
$93,612 $97,441
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$107,724 $95,041
State sales tax 5.50% 5.63%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
6.84%I 6.06%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
2.56%I 3.07%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,553 $1,744
Job growth %
(2000-2008)*
27.98% 19.58%
See jobs near Papillion
Median home price $155,500 $262,148
Average property taxes N.A. $3,853
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Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
10 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
N.A. 25.6%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
N.A. 28.2%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
91.1/8.9 90.1/9.9
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
92.0% 78.6%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 0 1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 16 19
Median commute time (in minutes) 19.3 22.5
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
3.9% 13.8%
% population walk or bike to work 1.7% 2.3%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
19 24
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
1,274 1,923
Bars
(within 15 miles)
318 174
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
79 148
Libraries
(within 15 miles)
31 53
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
1 7
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 2 17
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 0.8 1.2
Annual rainfall
(inches)
30.68 39.77
% clear days in the area 30 27
High temp in July ° F* 87.6° 85.5°
Low temp in Jan ° F* 11.2° 21.0°
Median age 33.8 36.6
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
75.8% 71.9%
Married % 65.7% 62.9%
Divorced % 4.9% 7.7%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
28.3 58.9
From the August 2009 issue
Notes:
* County data

(I) Income tax notes:
Some states effectively double the bracket widths for joint filers (AL, AZ, CT, HI, ID, KS, LA, ME, NE, NY, OR). CA doubles all bracket widths except the $1,000,000 bracket. Some states increase, but don't double, all or some bracket widths for joint filers (GA, MN, NM, NC, ND, OK, RI, VT, WI). Some states do not adjust their brackets for joint filers (AR, DE, IA, KY, MS, MO, MT, OH, SC, VA, WV, DC). Of these states, some permit married couples to file separately to avoid a marriage penalty, and some allow joint filers to make an adjustment to reduce their tax after it is calculated. MD decreases some of its bracket widths and increases others. NJ adds a 2.45% rate and doubles some bracket widths.
Values adjusted for inflation each year.
Tax credit.
FORTUNE 500
Berkshire Hathaway 13
Union Pacific 143
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Money picked the top 100. Now it’s your turn: Which town will be our fan favorite? Become a fan of your town and it might just make it to No. 1. Results updated monthly.
Town Become a fan # of fans
1. Louisville, CO Become a fan on facebook Add me! 4,256
2. Chanhassen, MN Become a fan on facebook Add me! 2,410
3. Papillion, NE Become a fan on facebook Add me! 1,581
4. Middleton, WI Become a fan on facebook Add me! 1,481
5. Milton, MA Become a fan on facebook Add me! 1,425
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Using statistics from data provider Onboard Informatics, 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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