Money's list of America's best small cities

100 of 100
100. Wayne, NJ
Nature Walk in Wayne
Top 100 rank: 100
Population: 55,700
Compare Wayne to Top 10 Best Places
This historic city in Jersey is just 25 miles from NYC. For those who prefer the outdoors to city life, a climb to the top of High Mountain Park (885 feet) offers a beautiful Manhattan skyline view, and an extensive trail system (over 1,000 acres) gives a taste of the outdoors.

Schools are nationally ranked, and the city boasts several historic museums, including a mansion that served as George Washingtons headquarters in 1780. Activities like free movie nights under the stars are common, along with sightseeing trips to nearby Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and NYC.

For those willing to pay Jersey's high property taxes (more than $8,000 here, typically), the proximity to the outdoors and other big cities is worth it.

Median family income
(per year)
$117,047 $93,313
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$86,830 $84,802
Sales tax 7.00% 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 %
6.72% 18.60%
Median home price $470,000 $293,712
Average property taxes
$8,200 $4,072
See Wayne homes for sale
See million-dollar homes
Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
157 40
Junior colleges and
technical institutes (within 30 miles)
47 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
19.0% 17.3%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
39.8% 16.6%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
84.3/15.7 89.5/10.5
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
79.0% 76.0%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 22 25
Median commute time
(in minutes)
23.0 23.0
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
20.2% 15.8%
% population walk or bike to work 2.0% 3.0%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
98 51
(within 15 miles)
8,806 4,141
(within 15 miles)
735 338
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
420 242
(within 15 miles)
239 90
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
28 11
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 42 13
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 3.4 1.5
Annual rainfall
50.85 36.31
% clear days in the area 26 30
High temp in July ° F 85.1° 87.8°
Low temp in Jan ° F 19.1° 22.9°
Has health plan
(% of residents)
83.4% 88.2%
Body mass index (avg. for residents) 28 27
Diabetes rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
13.3% 9.6%
Hypertension rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
31.5% 27.3%
Median age 41.6 36.0
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
63.9% 73.6%
Married 58.8% 57.5%
Divorced 6.1% 8.3%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
79.9 104.0
Amount spent on vacations
(domestic and foreign, household avg. per year)
$8,540 $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.
See Wayne in...
...What Readers Say
They speak out on Wayne and other places ...
Johnson & Johnson 35
Medco Health Solutions 51
See the rest
FORTUNE: Best to work for
There are no Best Companies to Work For in this state.
EMAILFeedback on the Best Places to Live list?
E-mail the editors
On Board LLC
Information powered by Onboard Informatics
Some data may be provided courtesy of its partners.
Sperling's Best Places
Additional data and consulting services provided by Bert Sperling's
Homes For Sale
Homes for sale provided by Trulia Real Estate Search.
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
  • New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Search by city or state
  • NEXT
    Why Plymouth is No. 1
    A sense of home, parks and award-winning schools help put this Minnesota city at the top of Money's Best Places to Live list. Watch
  • NEXT
    Why Fort Collins is a natural pick
    Green-minded residents love this Colorado city, no. 2 on Money's Best Places to Live list, where you can borrow a bike, and enjoy the nearby mountains. Watch
  • NEXT
    Naperville's family feel
    Great schools, a vibrant downtown and low crime help put this small city near Chicago at No. 3 on Money's Best Places to Live list. Watch
  • NEXT
    Hoboken's great singles scene
    For the second year running, Hoboken takes the top spot for the over 30 and single scene, as part of Money's Best Places to Live. Watch
  • BACK
    Where to beat the gas crunch
    In places like State College, Pa., commutes are short or many residents get to work in ways that dont use a lot of fuel. Watch
Do you live in a great place? Does your city have great cafes and culture? Lovely affordable homes? Low crime and a thriving downtown? A thriving local economy? Amazing neighbors? Show us why your town is remarkable: Send your photos and videos, and they could be profiled in an upcoming story.
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