Money's list of America's best small cities


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50. Waukesha, WI
Waukesha
WINNER
Top 100 rank: 50
Population: 68,000
Compare Waukesha to Top 10 Best Places
Even though "Waukesha" is a Native American word for "by the little fox," this Milwaukee suburb has much more to offer than a scenic view of the Fox River, which bisects it.

Waukesha has a walkable downtown, with art crawls every two months and weekly events like book readings and live music performances.

Active families will appreciate Waukesha's ease of access to national Rails to Trails bike paths and Frame Park, a local favorite with formal gardens and miles of hiking trails. --J.S.

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Is Waukesha a great town, or what?
Waukesha stats
  City stats Best places avg.
Median family income
(per year)
$79,916 $90,957
Job growth %
(2000-2009)*
-3.14% 15.71%
See jobs near Waukesha
Median home price $181,900 $239,391
See Waukesha homes for sale
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
26.5% 22.9%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
26.7% 22.9%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 21 24
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
2,070 2,967
High temp in July ° F 83.1° 86.2°
Low temp in Jan ° F 10.1° 21.3°
Median age 34.7 35.3
Financial City stats Best places avg.
Median family income
(per year)
$79,916 $90,957
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$78,968 $86,860
State sales tax 5.00% 5.45%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
7.75%I 7.35%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
4.60%I 2.96%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,349 $1,707
Job growth %
(2000-2009)*
-3.14% 15.71%
See jobs near Waukesha
Housing
Median home price $181,900 $239,391
Average property taxes
(2008)
$4,103 $3,418
See Waukesha homes for sale
Education
Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
17 25
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
26.5% 22.9%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
26.7% 22.9%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
82.8/17.2 87.8/12.2
Quality of life
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
90.0% 77.8%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 21 24
Median commute time (in minutes) 17.7 21.4
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
7.5% 13.6%
% population walk or bike to work 4.2% 3.6%
Leisure and culture
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
25 31
Restaurants
(within 15 miles)
2,070 2,967
Bars
(within 15 miles)
755 207
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
160 162
Libraries
(within 15 miles)
54 72
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
3 10
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 22 12
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 1.0 1.5
Weather
Annual rainfall
(inches)
33.93 37.40
% clear days in the area 25 29
High temp in July ° F 83.1° 86.2°
Low temp in Jan ° F 10.1° 21.3°
Median age 34.7 35.3
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
64.4% 71.5%
Married % 53.5% 56.6%
Divorced % 9.6% 8.4%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
44.6 94.9
From the August 2010 issue
Notes: *County data

(I) Income tax notes:
16 states have statutory provision for automatic adjustment of tax brackets, personal exemption or standard deductions to the rate of inflation. Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio index the personal exemption amounts only.
The tax brackets reported are for single individuals. For married taxpayers, the same rates apply to income brackets ranging from $13,620 to $300,000.
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Find Your Best Places
Region
Northeast South
Midwest West
Ranking
Top 100 winners only
Population
8.4M
46,000
Home Prices
2009 median sales prices
$1.2M
$36K
Video
Using statistics from data provider Onboard Informatics, we crunched the numbers in order to zero in on America's best small cities for families. (Last year, we looked at small towns, with populations between 8,500 and 50,000.) More

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