Money's list of America's best small cities

55 of 100
55. Peoria, AZ
Lake Pleasant in Peoria
Top 100 rank: 55
Population: 142,000
Compare Peoria to Top 10 Best Places
You can feel Peoria's historic ties to Phoenix by walking its streets, which are aligned by a common grid system.

Sports are a big draw here: Peoria is the spring training home of the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners baseball teams, which share the Peoria Sports Complex. There's been lots of development lately, including the 280-seat Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, which opened last year.

But the city has also set aside more than 750 acres of open space for preservation and recreation, a good thing for nature-loving residents.

Median family income
(per year)
$74,546 $93,313
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$74,845 $84,802
Sales tax 8.10% 6.60%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
4.54%I 5.22%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
2.59%I 2.42%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,902 $1,854
Job growth %
39.17% 18.60%
Median home price $249,500 $293,712
Average property taxes
$1,366 $4,072
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Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
25 40
Junior colleges and
technical institutes (within 30 miles)
31 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
6.8% 17.3%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
4.7% 16.6%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
90.9/2.6 89.5/10.5
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
21.4% 76.0%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 2 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 40 25
Median commute time
(in minutes)
25.8 23.0
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
22.8% 15.8%
% population walk or bike to work 1.8% 3.0%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
33 51
(within 15 miles)
3,121 4,141
(within 15 miles)
293 338
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
288 242
(within 15 miles)
64 90
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
6 11
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 2 13
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 0.9 1.5
Annual rainfall
9.09 36.31
% clear days in the area 58 30
High temp in July ° F 105.1° 87.8°
Low temp in Jan ° F 39.9° 22.9°
Has health plan
(% of residents)
83.0% 88.2%
Body mass index (avg. for residents) 27 27
Diabetes rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
13.2% 9.6%
Hypertension rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
28.5% 27.3%
Median age 36.1 36.0
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
61.1% 73.6%
Married 62.3% 57.5%
Divorced 9.7% 8.3%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
52.3 104.0
Amount spent on vacations
(domestic and foreign, household avg. per year)
$8,158 $8,012
From the August 2008 issue
* County data
** State data

(I) Income tax notes:
For joint returns, the taxes are twice the tax imposed on half the income.
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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold 140
Avnet 163
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FORTUNE: Best to work for
There are no Best Companies to Work For in this state.
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Sperling's Best Places
Additional data and consulting services provided by Bert Sperling's
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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