Family Circle Magazine has named the Top 10 Towns to raise a Family for the ninth year in a row. First on the alphabetical list is East Grand Rapids, Michigan. Just 30 miles east of Lake Michigan, this 3.4 square mile suburb packs a punch of small town ethos. Access to recreation centers, schools, downtown, parks and athletic fields is never more than 5 minutes away. Customers eat ice cream on the front porch of Jersey Junction in East Grand Rapids, Mich., June 30, 2013.
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Hernando, Mississippi: According to Family Circle, “This northwestern suburb hosts one of the largest farmers’ markets in Mississippi and offers several green spaces including baseball and football fields, a stable and a soon-to-be built skate park.” In order to compile this year’s list, the magazine first assembled 4,500 cities and towns with populations between 10,000 and 100,000. From that, nearly 1,400 localities having a high concentration of households with median incomes between $60,000 and $110,000 were selected.
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The magazine then assessed which places best met its family-friendly criteria—including affordable homes, quality schools, access to health care, low crime rate and financial stability—and ranked them from top to bottom. Issaquah, Washington was on the list: Family Circle calls this a“big town with a small town feel, Issaquah offers residents trails for hiking and mountain biking, paragliding, and top-ranking schools. Plus, the town’s close proximity to Seattle makes family-friendly excursions a fun weekend option.
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Matthews, North Carolina: “Part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the magnet programs nurture students who have interest and ability in specific areas,” according to Family Circle. “Although Matthews has revitalized its town center with refurbished historic buildings, renovated police and public works facilities, and a new arts center, the community still has the quintessential small-town feel. “ Pictured: Betty Verner walks on a trail around a pond at the Bella Sera Villa development in Matthews, N.C., on April 20, 2008.
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Pittsford, New York: “Located just outside Rochester, Pittsford offers a rich mix of family fun and cool American history as home to the Strong National Museum of Play and the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.” Pictured: The Erie Canal, Pittsford, New York.
Waukee, Iowa: “This town works hard to maintain its tight-knit roots, and its downtown triangle is dotted with historic homes and new shops,” Family Circle said. “Residents say that with a population of just under 15,000 – they’re likely to find someone they know anywhere they go in town.” Pictured: Senator Bernie Sanders greets supporters after walking in a Fourth of July parade, July 4, 2015, in Waukee, Iowa.
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West Linn, Oregon: “Ten miles south of Portland, this town boasts stunning backdrops and plenty of family-friendly activities, but what really defines West Linn are the people. There’s a commitment to community which also extends to education – and student SAT scores are among the best in the state.”
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Weston, Florida: “Nearly 40% of the population in this Florida town is foreign-born, which allows residents to embrace a blend of cultures and traditions<” said Family Circle. “Schools feature exciting programs for students including speaker series with NASA astronauts and book authors.” For the rest of the list, visit <a href="http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/travel/the-best-towns-for-families-2015/">Family Circle</a>
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