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10 Perfect Suburbs

10 Perfect Suburbs
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What makes a perfect suburb? We’re not talking about suspicious, “Stepford Wives” perfect. No, for this list, we consulted the data and analysis company Location, Inc., makers of the consumer reference site . The analysts used their bank of databases to find the suburbs that had the best mix of affordable housing, good schools, educated neighbors, low crime, employment and reasonable commutes. Dr. Andrew Schiller of NeighborhoodScout explains why these good suburbs are so hard to find: “American
Photo: Getty Images

What makes a perfect suburb? We’re not talking about suspicious “Stepford Wives” perfect. No, for this list, we consulted Location, Inc., the data and analysis company and creator of the consumer reference site NeighborhoodScout. The analysts used their bank of databases to find the suburbs with the best mix of affordable housing, good schools, educated neighbors, low crime, employment, and reasonable commutes.

Andrew Schiller of NeighborhoodScout explains why these good suburbs are hard to find: “Americans have been leaving the central cities for the suburbs for years in search of more elbow room, better schools, less crime, more affordable home prices, and other amenities. But as many suburbs matured, crime followed, schools declined, and housing prices crept up. So people moved further out. The result was ... that to find those good schools and family-friendly environments, a family would have to trade off with a very long commute that itself can be costly in both real dollars and time lost. And those close-in suburbs that maintained low crime and great schools with nice homes? They became so expensive that most Americans were priced out. Hardly a perfect suburb if one cannot afford to buy a home there.”

The analysts identified the 10 metropolitan areas with over 1 million people that have the lowest unemployment rates based on recent figures. They then used NeighborhoodScout's database and search engine to uncover the perfect suburb in each area, using the most recent data available.

The winning communities range in size from under 5,000 population to over 100,000, in locales that include lakes, mountains, and coastlines. They’re situated near government, universities, and industries less affected by economic troubles. But they all share these outstanding attributes that bring together top amenities at enviable prices and close proximity to the most robust job markets in America. Click ahead to see the 10 Perfect Suburbs, counting down in order to the suburb with the lowest unemployment rate.

By Colleen KanePosted August 31, 2011

10. Columbia, Maryland
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Suburb of: BaltimoreMetro area unemployment rate: 7.5%Median house value: $379,146Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 34%Columbia is a white-collar city with a workforce especially high in professionals, managers, sales workers and office workers. It has better public schools than 89% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 100% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Columbia’s populace holds a four-year degree (59%), and a majority a
Source: columbia.exploremd.us

Suburb of: Baltimore
Metro area unemployment rate: 7.5%
Median house value: $379,146
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 34%

Columbia is a white-collar city with a workforce especially high in professionals, managers, sales workers, and office workers. It has better public schools than 89% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 100% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Columbia’s populace holds a four-year degree (59%), and a majority are homeowners (64%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its NeighborhoodScout profile.

9. Morgan, Utah
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Suburb of: Salt Lake CityMetro area unemployment rate: 7.2%Median house value: $269,198Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 59%A mix of white- and blue- collar workers, with higher concentrations of office and administrative support workers, sales people, and teachers, make up the population of Morgan. It has better public schools than 82% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 100% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Morgan’s popula
Tricia Simpson

Suburb of: Salt Lake City
Metro area unemployment rate: 7.2%
Median house value: $269,198
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 59%

A mix of white- and blue-collar workers, with higher concentrations of office and administrative support workers, sales people, and teachers make up the population of Morgan. It has better public schools than 82% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 100% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Morgan’s populace holds a four-year degree (21.6%), but a majority are homeowners (83.1%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

8. Round Rock, Texas
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Suburb of: AustinMetro area unemployment rate: 7.0%Median house value: $224,011Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 28%Round Rock has a high proportion of new real estate development, and as the international headquarters for Dell, it also has more workers in the fields of computers and math than 95% of places in the U.S. It has better public schools than 72% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 83% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority
Marty Bonner

Suburb of: Austin
Metro area unemployment rate: 7.0%
Median house value: $224,011
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 28%

Round Rock has a high proportion of new real estate development, and as the international headquarters for Dell, it also has more workers in computers and math than 95% of places in the U.S. It has better public schools than 72% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 83% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Round Rock’s populace holds a four-year college degree (32.9%), but a majority are homeowners (63.1%). It even has a minor-league ballpark. Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

7. Wexford, Pennsylvania
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Suburb of: PittsburghMetro area unemployment rate: 7.0%Median house value: $345,579Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 35%Wexford is a mostly white-collar small city with lots of new housing and urban sophisticates (educated, wealthy, avid readers, well-traveled, supporters of the arts). It has better public schools than 96% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 99% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Wexford’s populace holds a f
Navin Rajagopalan

Suburb of: Pittsburgh
Metro area unemployment rate: 7.0%
Median house value: $345,579
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 35%

Wexford is a mostly white-collar small city with lots of new housing and urban sophisticates (educated, wealthy, avid readers, well-traveled, supporters of the arts). It has better public schools than 96% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 99% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Wexford’s populace holds a four-year degree (58.3%), and a majority are homeowners (82.6%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

6. Midlothian, Virginia
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Suburb of: RichmondMetro area unemployment rate: 6.8%Median house value: $269,752Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 49%Midlothian, the 13th largest community in Virginia, has the most workers in the fields of office and administrative support, sales, and management. It has better public schools than 63% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 81% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Midlothian’s populace holds a four-year degree (39.
Photo: chesterfieldbusiness.com

Suburb of: Richmond
Metro area unemployment rate: 6.8%
Median house value: $269,752
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 49%

Midlothian, the 13th-largest community in Virginia, has the most workers in office and administrative support, sales, and management. It has better public schools than 63% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 81% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Midlothian’s populace holds a four-year degree (39.7%), yet a majority are homeowners (82%). Further analysis of the suburb is provided on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

5. Poquoson, Virginia
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Suburb of: Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport NewsMetro area unemployment rate: 6.8%Median house value: $343,923Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 40%Poquoson is a coastal city where more than 98% of the working population drives to work, mostly to out of town jobs It has better public schools than 81% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 100% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Poquoson’s populace holds a four-year degree (31.6%
Yangiskan

Suburb of: Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News
Metro area unemployment rate: 6.8%
Median house value: $343,923
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 40%

Poquoson is a coastal city where more than 98% of the working population drives to work, mostly to out-of-town jobs. It has better public schools than 81% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 100% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Poquoson’s populace holds a four-year degree (31.6%), and a majority are homeowners (81.4%). Further analysis of the suburb can be found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

4. Reading, MA
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Suburb of: BostonMetro area unemployment rate: 6.7%Median house value: $469,548Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 52%Reading is a family-friendly white collar town. It has better public schools than 98% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 87% of schools in the rest of the state. Just under half of Reading’s populace holds a four-year degree (47.8%), and a majority of residents are homeowners (81.2%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on
John Phelan

Suburb of: Boston
Metro area unemployment rate: 6.7%
Median house value: $469,548
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 52%

Reading is a family-friendly white-collar town. It has better public schools than 98% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 87% of schools in the rest of the state. Just under half of Reading’s populace holds a four-year degree (47.8%), and a majority of residents are homeowners (81.2%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

3. Circle Pines, Minnesota
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Suburb of: Minneapolis – St. PaulMetro area unemployment rate: 6.5%Median house value: $203,954Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 55%Circle Pines is a very small city with a population of 5,407 and more people working in computers and math fields than 95 of the U.S.. It has better public schools than 90% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 95% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Circle Pines’ populace holds a four-year degree (3
Photo: ci.circle-pines.mn.us

Suburb of: Minneapolis – St. Paul
Metro area unemployment rate: 6.5%
Median house value: $203,954
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 55%

Circle Pines is a small city with a population of 5,407 — and more people working in computers and math than 95% of the U.S. It has better public schools than 90% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 95% of schools in the rest of the state. A minority of Circle Pines’ populace holds a four-year degree (31.5%), but the vast majority are homeowners (92.6%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

2. Kensington, Maryland
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Suburb of: Washington, DC – Maryland - VirginiaMetro area unemployment rate: 5.8%Median house value: $458,821Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 48%The artsy, white-collar town of Kensington (pop. 1,924) has some of the highest housing costs in Maryland and the United States. It has better public schools than 79% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 82% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Kensington’s populace holds a four-year
Andrew Bossi

Suburb of: Washington, DC – Maryland - Virginia
Metro area unemployment rate: 5.8%
Median house value: $458,821
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 48%

The artsy, white-collar town of Kensington (pop. 1,924) has some of the highest housing costs in Maryland and the United States. It has better public schools than 79% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 82% of schools in the rest of the state. The majority of Kensington’s populace holds a four-year degree (58.8%), and a majority are homeowners (63.5%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.

1. Edmond, Oklahoma
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Suburb of: Oklahoma CityMetro area unemployment rate: 4.9%Median house value: $201,770Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 71%The 14 neighborhoods of Edmond make up the sixth largest community in Oklahoma. It has better public schools than 59% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 96% of schools in the rest of the state. Just under half of Edmond’s populace holds a four-year degree (47.8%), and a majority are homeowners (69.7%). Further analysis o
aaiep.org

Suburb of: Oklahoma City
Metro area unemployment rate: 4.9%
Median house value: $201,770
Safer from crime than this percent of all U.S. communities: 71%

Edmond is the sixth-largest community in Oklahoma. It has better public schools than 59% of all U.S. communities, and its public schools are better than 96% of schools in the rest of the state. Just under half of Edmond’s populace holds a four-year degree (47.8%), and a majority are homeowners (69.7%). Further analysis of the suburb is found on its Neighborhood Scout profile.