MONEY magazine has named America’s 100 best small cities, including Franklin and Hendersonville, TN. These terrific small cities offer what American families care about most — strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and plenty to do. And they’re true communities too.
#52: Franklin, TN
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#86: Hendersonville, TN
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How did they determine the best places to live?
Using statistics from data services company Onboard Informatics, they crunched the numbers in order to zero in on America’s best small cities for families. (Last year, they looked at small towns, with populations between 8,500 and 50,000.) Here’s how:
Start with all U.S. towns with populations of 50,000 to 300,000.
Screen out places with a median family income of more than 200% or less than 85% of the state average; those with more than 95% of one race; and those with poor education and crime scores.
Exclude retirement communities and towns with major job losses. Rank the rest based on job growth, home affordability, safety, school quality, health care, arts and leisure, diversity, and several ease-of-living criteria.
Factor in more data on the economy (including the fiscal strength of state and local governments), plus jobs, housing, health care, and happiness. Give the most weight to economic data.
Visit towns and interview residents; assess traffic, parks, and gathering places; and consider intangibles like community spirit.
Select the winner based on the data and reporting.