Money's list of America's best small towns


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32. Friendswood, TX
Friendswood
WINNER
Top 100 rank: 32
Population: 33,500
Compare Friendswood to Top 10 Best Places
Friendswood was founded by Quakers and remains dry, but that doesn't mean its residents don't know how to have fun.

The community hosts frequent parades, summer concerts in Stevenson Park, and an opening ceremony for the baseball season. Residents can travel north to Houston, south to the Galveston beaches, or east to the Kemah boardwalk; all are less than an hour away.

With employers Boeing, Valero, BP, and NASA nearby -- as well as the busy Port of Houston -- Friendswood has a strong jobs base. And the housing market here is healthier than most.

A recent battle pitted citizens who voted down a fundraising bond measure, against the city council, which went to a state judge seeking authority to issue separate bonds without voter approval. In mid-July, the judge ruled against the council. --N.A.

Is Friendswood a great town, or what?
Friendswood stats
Median family income
(per year)
$101,535 $97,441
Job growth %
(2000-2008)*
16.30% 19.58%
See jobs near Friendswood
Median home price $223,933 $262,148
See Friendswood homes for sale
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
12.4% 25.6%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
22.7% 28.2%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 14 19
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
1,843 1,923
High temp in July ° F* 90.0° 85.5°
Low temp in Jan ° F* 47.3° 21.0°
Median age 37.5 36.6
Median family income
(per year)
$101,535 $97,441
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$113,257 $95,041
State sales tax 6.25% 5.63%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
N.A. 6.06%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
N.A. 3.07%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,867 $1,744
Job growth %
(2000-2008)*
16.30% 19.58%
See jobs near Friendswood
Median home price $223,933 $262,148
Average property taxes
(2007)
$3,144 $3,853
See Friendswood homes for sale
Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
12 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
12.4% 25.6%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
22.7% 28.2%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
96.2/3.8 90.1/9.9
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
87.0% 78.6%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 1
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 14 19
Median commute time (in minutes) 26.0 22.5
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
20.7% 13.8%
% population walk or bike to work 1.3% 2.3%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
17 24
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
1,843 1,923
Bars
(within 15 miles)
280 174
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
102 148
Libraries
(within 15 miles)
38 53
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
4 7
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) N.A. 17
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 0.2 1.2
Annual rainfall
(inches)
47.29 39.77
% clear days in the area 25 27
High temp in July ° F* 90.0° 85.5°
Low temp in Jan ° F* 47.3° 21.0°
Median age 37.5 36.6
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
74.6% 71.9%
Married % 65.2% 62.9%
Divorced % 7.5% 7.7%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
43.3 58.9
From the August 2009 issue
Notes:
* County data
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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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