Money's list of America's best small cities

6 of 100
6. Norman, OK
In the fall, OUs football stadium is Norman's de facto town center.
Top 100 rank: 6
Population: 102,800
Compare Norman to Top 10 Best Places
Sit down for lunch at Caf Plaid in Norman and you'll see a little of everything: mothers with babies, students with laptops, and out-of-towners visiting the University of Oklahoma across the street. People flock to Norman from around the world to study and teach - and then to stay and raise a family.

The university not only helps draw educated workers here but also serves as a major source of entertainment. When the OU Sooners play football against longtime rival, the University of Texas, Norman schools are almost always closed on Friday (you read that right) and the town packs the stadium.

If you don't love all things gridiron, console yourself with the campus' world-class art museum, which houses works by Degas, Monet and Renoir. Affordability is another plus: Starter homes go for about $135,000. While Norman hasn't had huge run-ups in housing prices, the city has also been spared the devastating downside.

Median family income
(per year)
$65,802 $93,313
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$78,057 $84,802
Sales tax 7.50% 6.60%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
5.65%I 5.22%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
0.50%I 2.42%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,742 $1,854
Job growth %
12.38% 18.60%
Median home price $133,500 $293,712
Average property taxes
$1,095 $4,072
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Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
14 40
Junior colleges and
technical institutes (within 30 miles)
8 20
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
5.8% 17.3%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
7.4% 16.6%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
92.7/7.3 89.5/10.5
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
96.9% 76.0%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 2 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 35 25
Median commute time
(in minutes)
17.0 23.0
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
9.7% 15.8%
% population walk or bike to work 4.8% 3.0%
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
16 51
(within 15 miles)
1,405 4,141
(within 15 miles)
123 338
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
108 242
(within 15 miles)
34 90
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
7 11
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) N.A. 13
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 1.6 1.5
Annual rainfall
37.96 36.31
% clear days in the area 38 30
High temp in July ° F 93.3° 87.8°
Low temp in Jan ° F 25.2° 22.9°
Has health plan
(% of residents)
86.0% 88.2%
Body mass index (avg. for residents) 27 27
Diabetes rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
13.6% 9.6%
Hypertension rates
(% of residents diagnosed)
33.1% 27.3%
Median age 32.0 36.0
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
75.4% 73.6%
Married 46.6% 57.5%
Divorced 10.2% 8.3%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
84.4 104.0
Amount spent on vacations
(domestic and foreign, household avg. per year)
$7,076 $8,012
From the August 2008 issue
* County data
** State data

(I) Income tax notes:
The rate range reported is for single persons not deducting federal income tax. For married persons filing jointly, the same rates apply to income brackets ranging from $2,000 to $15,000. Separate schedules, with rates ranging from 0.5% to 10%, apply to taxpayers deducting federal income taxes.
For joint returns, the taxes are twice the tax imposed on half the income.
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Oneok 192
Williams 208
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FORTUNE: Best to work for
AFA 24
QuikTrip 28
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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

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