CNN Money lists what they call the 50 best small towns in the United States. They fail to include anyplace in South Dakota on that list.
Seriously? Have you people not been to Spearfish?!
The survey looked at towns with populations between 10,000 and 50,000, so Spearfish squeaked into the initial 1,326 candidates. The methodology then cut towns with median family income above 200% or below 85% of their state average. That booted Spearfish: from 2007 to 2011, that Spearfish median was $35,476, 74% of the South Dakota median of $48,010. (Combine that with Spearfish's 30% higher median home values, and you see that economically, Spearfish is a tough place to live.)
CNN Money then factored in job growth, housing, health care, education, arts and leisure, traffic, parks and gathering spaces, and other factors. Here's who made the list, with their populations and median family incomes:
|rank||town||population||median family income|
|6||Berkeley Heights, NJ||13,345||164,920|
|10||West Goshen Township, PA||22,421||111,404|
|17||Apple Valley, MN||49,863||93,210|
|20||The Colony, TX||39,055||89,308|
|28||Menomonee Falls, WI||35,974||86,491|
|31||La Palma, CA||15,879||97,531|
|36||Mill Creek, WA||18,834||106,919|
|41||Montgomery Village, MD||33,052||99,596|
|45||Spring Hill, TN||30,568||80,850|
|46||Buffalo Grove, IL||41,761||105,230|
|48||Peachtree City, GA||34,889||103,951|
CNN Money artificially limited each state to three entries in the top 50, so states can't use this list to claim supreme bragging rights. But among the three-bangers are Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. Minnesota's three entries are Chanhassen, Apple Valley, and Savage, all suburbs of the Twin Cities.
If you scroll through those income levels, the only place in South Dakota where you'll find a median family income anywhere close to those listed above is Lincoln County, the Tea-Harrisburg metroplex, which just cracks $70K.
Many of those on the list are suburbs, not "small towns." A suburb has a totally different feel from what I'd consider a small town--like not having much of a Main Street, and having little in town that's walkable or bikeable. If I were doing a best small town list, I'd rank income far lower on the criteria, and instead have quality-of-life factors much higher.
I wonder how those Minneapolis suburbs rank for walking and biking? Anyone been to downtown Chanhassen?
Interesting: none of the above towns make this top 10 in walkability list. The seventh most walkable city: New York City!
Money magazine is only interested in selling magazines. Heidi noted many of the "towns' are suburbs buried in a metro-area of a million or more - as disingenuous as referring to Tea or Box Elder as small towns.
Sprawling Spearfish isn't half as wonderful as it thinks it is - slathered over 5 interstate exits, one often with some of the state's worst exit traffic; low wages; high housing costs; difficult shopping (other than groceries) for most of its elder community. Spearfish, like too many towns, was co-opted by the developersters and now struggles mightily to keep its main street alive. The fact that the struggle has modest success is something to capture and build upon.
Yeah, it's marketing of the magazine, and that's all it is. They want relatively wealthy towns because those folks have the money to buy subscriptions. When towns that were in the top 5 for two years in a row fall completely off the list, you know they figured they have max-ed out the subscriptions in that community. Ba-Bye to that town. Hello to some other sucker.
Typical South Dakota rationalization. Never look in the mirror at what we do wrong, always point out the flaws that made you not get picked during recess during elementary school. We learned our lessons well as we are wonderful at finger pointing and the obligatory "if you do not like it, leave".
Apple Valley MN is a very clean town and it has http://www.mnzoo.com/
one of the top zoos in the country. Cory, if you haven't been to this view. I highly recommend it. The tiger exhibit is absolutely amazing.
zoo I meant, not 'view'.
Cory, I've also heard the Cities have very nice bike paths.
This was just on MPR today, Cory.
Hey, we took our little one to that zoo! Yay, tigers!
It's great to see that kind of bicycle promotion, even in MInnesota's largest urban area. Small towns should offer cyclists better riding, what with less traffic, but small-town drivers need to catch up with their big-city counterparts on bicycle awareness.
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