Money's list of America's best small cities

86 of 100
86. Middletown, NJ
Middletown Day Fair
Top 100 rank: 86
Population: 67,600
Compare Middletown to Top 10 Best Places
One of the oldest settlements in New Jersey, Middletown attracts new residents with its scenic hills and the beautiful Navesink River.

The township's 41 square miles are broken up into 11 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own personality. Unfortunately, real estate here tends to come with an upper-middle-class price tag.

Still, the town's many schools, popular arts center and proximity to the beach make it a draw for lots of families.

Median family income
(per year)
$106,284 $93,313
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$74,481 $84,802
Sales tax** 3.50% 6.60%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
8.97%I 5.22%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
1.40%I 2.42%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$2,559 $1,854
Job growth %
5.67% 18.60%
Median home price $397,750 $293,712
Average property taxes
$7,536 $4,072
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Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
128 40
Junior colleges and
technical institutes (within 30 miles)
35 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
16.6% 17.3%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
36.3% 16.6%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
78.8/21.2 89.5/10.5
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
92.3% 76.0%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 12 25
Median commute time
(in minutes)
29.4 23.0
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
34.8% 15.8%
% population walk or bike to work 1.4% 3.0%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
33 51
(within 15 miles)
6,075 4,141
(within 15 miles)
374 338
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
298 242
(within 15 miles)
153 90
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
26 11
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 16 13
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 3.4 1.5
Annual rainfall
47.06 36.31
% clear days in the area 26 30
High temp in July ° F 83.6° 87.8°
Low temp in Jan ° F 22.6° 22.9°
Has health plan
(% of residents)
90.3% 88.2%
Body mass index (avg. for residents) 26 27
Diabetes rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
10.5% 9.6%
Hypertension rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
31.0% 27.3%
Median age 41.1 36.0
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
64.6% 73.6%
Married 62.3% 57.5%
Divorced 5.5% 8.3%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
25.2 104.0
Amount spent on vacations
(domestic and foreign, household avg. per year)
$8,583 $8,012
From the August 2008 issue
* County data
** State data

(I) Income tax notes:
The tax brackets reported are for single individuals. For married couples filing jointly, the tax rates range from 1.4% to 8.97% (with 7 income brackets) applying to income brackets from $20,000 to over $500,000.
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...What Readers Say
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Johnson & Johnson 35
Medco Health Solutions 51
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FORTUNE: Best to work for
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Top 3

City Median income
New Canaan, CT $231,138
Darien, CT $218,130
Lake Forest, IL $212,122
City % single
Hoboken, NJ 57.7%
Cambridge, MA 52.4%
Somerville, MA 51.4%
City Median home price
Nicholasville, KY $70,000
Watauga, TX $117,040
Redan, GA $115,000
Using statistics from data provider Onboard Informatics and consultant Bert Sperling of, 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 7,500 and 50,000.) More