Best small towns to raise a family

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December 31, 2020
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Best small towns to raise a family

Big city living isn't for everyone, with many people preferring the slower pace and relative predictability of planned communities and suburban living. Small towns often offer easy commutes into big cities without the high property value or rents of urban downtowns..

If you’re looking for a comfy place to start a family, and you’re ready to embrace home ownership over apartment broker’s fees and monthly rent, we’ve done the dirty work in searching out the top places to start anew. Stacker compiled a list of the best small towns to raise a family in every state using 2020 data from Niche. Niche ranks places based on a variety of factors, including public schools, jobs, and cost of living. Towns with a population under 40,000 were considered. You can read more on their methodology here.

How does a town outside of Chicago known for Hollywood flicks like “Home Alone” and other classic John Hughes movies sound to you? If you’re more a fan of “The Sopranos,” northern New Jersey has several top options. Then again, if you’re not a cinephile, there are plenty of posh locations in the Midwest with famous golf courses, nature trails, and museums to entice young families.

Many of these towns have tons of history, with some dating back to the Revolutionary War. Others are known for their role in some of America’s biggest sporting events. If comparing data is more important to you, for each slide we included the population, median home value, median rent, and median household income.

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#100. Franklin, Michigan

- Population: 3,332
- Median home value: $586,200 (94% own)
- Median rent: $1,817 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $154,079

Franklin calls itself “The Town That Time Forgot,” and a trip to this Detroit suburb can fill one with nostalgia. Small businesses line downtown, and historic cider mills are only a short drive away.

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#99. Belmont, Massachusetts

- Population: 26,043
- Median home value: $813,200 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,903 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $120,208

Belmont’s first settlers arrived in 1639; for almost 400 years, families have put down roots in this town close to Boston. Belmont has a proud railroad history and has traditionally been known as a landing spot for artists, scientists, and other academics.

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#98. Clyde Hill, Washington

- Population: 3,295
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (88% own)
- Median rent: $2,761 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $212,396

Clyde Hill runs on the elbow grease of small businesses like the Queen Bee Cafe—if you crave Starbucks, Seattle is only a few miles away. The town is a hidden oasis in the shadow of Seattle—it’s where Mariners star Felix Hernandez and other big leaguers have called home for many years.

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#97. Brambleton, Virginia

- Population: 20,081
- Median home value: $576,600 (82% own)
- Median rent: $2,219 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $176,517

Although Brambleton is less than 20 years old, this planned community shows big promise. Brambleton Town Center is a major shopping center in the Beltway, and Brambleton is just a short drive to Washington Dulles International Airport.

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#96. Wildwood, Missouri

- Population: 35,517
- Median home value: $372,000 (92% own)
- Median rent: $1,186 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $132,221

This St. Louis County enclave is known for its nature trails and Babler State Park. The Wildwood 2020 plan calls for green energy initiatives, highway improvements, and other accommodations with families in mind. Big Chief Roadhouse is a popular, kitschy restaurant that back in its U.S. Route 66 heyday, allegedly hosted Babe Ruth and Al Capone.

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#95. Scarsdale, New York

- Population: 17,805
- Median home value: $1,445,400 (91% own)
- Median rent: $2,965 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $250,001

Located in Westchester County, Scarsdale is a short drive or train ride to New York City. Scarsdale’s roots date back before the American Revolution and the town boasts accomplished past residents like James Fenimore Cooper, author of the first American novel, and astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, the first Jewish-American man in space.

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#94. Ridgewood, New Jersey

- Population: 25,269
- Median home value: $738,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,996 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $168,608

Ridgewood is a quick commute over the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan. The famed Ridgewood Country Club is actually in Paramus, but only minutes outside Ridgewood’s border. Ridgewood is implementing a master plan called “Our Village, Our Future” to foster sustainable growth in the 21st century.

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#93. Cape Elizabeth, Maine

- Population: 9,279
- Median home value: $408,800 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,191 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $111,884

Cape Elizabeth is a picturesque town on the Atlantic Ocean, known for several classic lighthouses and holding the Beach to Beacon 10K race. Located near Portland, this town is known for schools whose students annually rank among the highest in the state on academic achievement tests.

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#92. East Hills, New York

- Population: 7,113
- Median home value: $1,012,200 (99% own)
- Median rent: $1,768 (1% rent)
- Median household income: $207,578

This Long Island village is home to a state of the art park that has water slides, sports facilities, and nature walks. The Nassau County Museum of Art is a short drive away, as is a Long Island Rail Road station with service to New York City.

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#91. Allendale, New Jersey

- Population: 6,762
- Median home value: $710,600 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,921 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $158,977

Allendale is just a few miles west of Ridgewood, but still a short drive into Manhattan. Allendale’s business district has not changed much physically since the 1930s, maintaining a rustic charm to this small town. Allendale also boasts the Celery Farm, a 107-acre protected wetland with more than 200 bird species.

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#90. Clayton, Missouri

- Population: 16,448
- Median home value: $630,400 (60% own)
- Median rent: $1,196 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $97,145

Known as the “Jewel of St. Louis,” Clayton has long been a popular landing spot for commuters into the Gateway to the West. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a major employer in Clayton, and Washington University has buildings within the town limits. Clayton’s wards hold coffee chats on a regular basis, to engage residents.

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#89. Franklin Park, Pennsylvania

- Population: 14,448
- Median home value: $327,200 (91% own)
- Median rent: $1,613 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $122,028

This suburb of Pittsburgh boasts acres upon acres of parks and green space that have cricket fields, horseshoe pits, and wildflower trails. Public school students attend the North Allegheny schools, and easy access to interstates 79 and 279 allow for easy commuting around western Pennsylvania.

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#88. Vernon Hills, Illinois

- Population: 26,259
- Median home value: $341,900 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,589 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $97,366

Vernon Hills used to be so small, its municipal organizations were located in a motel lobby. While the town hasn’t grown substantially since then, a new Village Hall and police department headquarters serve residents. CDW is headquartered in Vernon Hills, which is a short drive to Chicago.

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#87. Montgomery, Ohio

- Population: 10,663
- Median home value: $354,100 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,085 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $123,214

Montgomery as it is known today began taking shape about 50 years ago, when workers in Cincinnati began settling in the area. That growth led to the creation of a city arts program, lodges, and pools. Montgomery now has direct access to Interstates 71 and 275.

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#86. Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania

- Population: 5,331
- Median home value: $622,600 (97% own)
- Median rent: National$949 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $168,073

Fox Chapel has traditionally been known as one of Pittsburgh’s most affluent suburbs. The Hillman Center for Performing Arts draws acts from around Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh Field Club is one of the top golf clubs in the western part of the state.

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#85. Princeton Meadows, New Jersey

- Population: 13,438
- Median home value: $384,000 (35% own)
- Median rent: $1,530 (65% rent)
- Median household income: $100,135

Princeton Meadows is a few miles east of Princeton University and the lakefront trails of Plainsboro Preserve. Less than 90 minutes from New York City and Philadelphia, Princeton Meadows is one of the more expensive areas in central New Jersey, but also low on crime.

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#84. Mason, Ohio

- Population: 32,749
- Median home value: $249,000 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,200 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $96,511

Located in between Dayton and Cincinnati, Mason calls itself Ohio’s “largest playground” for good reason. Mason’s Kings Island proclaims to be the largest amusement and water park in the Midwest, and the Lindner Family Tennis Center is a haven for racquet sports enthusiasts.

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#83. Stone Ridge, Virginia

- Population: 12,990
- Median home value: $454,900 (88% own)
- Median rent: $2,339 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $143,140

Stone Ridge is just west of Washington D.C., nearby historical landmarks like Manassas National Battlefield Park. The town advertises “old fashioned living at light speed” with an abundance of recreation options. Dulles International Airport is also a short ride away from Stone Ridge.

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#82. Bexley, Ohio

- Population: 13,764
- Median home value: $359,200 (77% own)
- Median rent: $965 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $108,750

Bexley is within minutes of Columbus and acres of nature in Franklin Park Conservatory. In town, locals can compete in an annual triathlon and take advantage of summer camps. Bexley boasts top public and private schools.

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#81. Sudbury, Massachusetts

- Population: 18,940
- Median home value: $677,900 (92% own)
- Median rent: $1,005 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $176,570

Not far from Boston, Sudbury has several historical houses of worship and acres of wildlife areas. Sudbury’s median home value is 85% higher than the state median; median household income is 128% higher than Massachusetts’ median.

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#80. Leawood, Kansas

- Population: 34,570
- Median home value: $447,100 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,699 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $149,736

Just south of Kansas City, Leawood is close to attractions like Taste of Kansas City Food Tours. The town is dedicated to public arts spaces with a dedicated stage company and arts council.

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#79. Hanover, New Hampshire

- Population: 11,512
- Median home value: $548,200 (68% own)
- Median rent: $1,475 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $133,672

Home of Dartmouth College, Hanover is one of the few towns on the list that is not exactly a suburb of a major city. Nearby Moose Mountain offers outdoors activities and there are science museums, ice rinks, and ski areas nearby.

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#78. Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

- Population: 6,212
- Median home value: $449,500 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,669 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $131,307

This Philadelphia suburb is a quiet town, but locals often chum it up at Bluestone Country Club. Originally called Pigeontown, Blue Bell once hosted George Washington and you can still spend a night at the same Inn.

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#77. Sixteen Mile Stand, Ohio

- Population: 2,804
- Median home value: $388,900 (50% own)
- Median rent: $1,235 (50% rent)
- Median household income: $91,761

Sixteen Mile Stand was so-named for being about 16 miles from Cincinnati. The town is close to a nature preserve and several kids sports centers, providing many options for recreational entertainment.

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#76. Short Pump, Virginia

- Population: 27,526
- Median home value: $403,100 (60% own)
- Median rent: $1,366 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $109,384

Short Pump is just outside Richmond with access to attractions like the Children’s Museum of Richmond. Shopping is key to Short Pump’s appeal, and the town boasts an open-air shopping mall.

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#75. The Village of Indian Hill, Ohio

- Population: 5,876
- Median home value: $901,600 (99% own)
- Median rent: $1,174 (1% rent)
- Median household income: $210,663

With several parks and an arboretum, The Village of Indian Hill is an oasis a few miles northeast of Cincinnati. The town also has a shooting club and a historic lodge for public events. The Indian Hill Exempted Village School District is rated above average compared to the rest of Ohio.

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#74. Oakwood, Ohio

- Population: 9,030
- Median home value: $239,600 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,172 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $102,159

Oakwood borders the University of Dayton and has a traditional small town feel. Ice cream socials and scarecrow contests are community events, and each spring Oakwood hosts a popular festival called “That Day In May.

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#73. Green Oaks, Illinois

- Population: 3,851
- Median home value: $555,400 (98% own)
- Median rent: $2,125 (2% rent)
- Median household income: $161,094

Green Oaks is less than an hour’s drive to O’Hare International Airport and the city of Chicago. Green Oaks has a strong business district and strict standards on building, keeping this village community small and intimate. Four golf courses are within a 10-minute drive of the city limits.

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#72. Westford, Massachusetts

- Population: 24,194
- Median home value: $530,400 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,781 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $141,173

Westford is home to the Nashoba Valley Ski Area and Cider Mill Pond Conservation Area, two popular attractions. The Butterfly Place is an exotic locale with butterflies, birds, and koi from around the world. Plus, Boston is only about 30 minutes away by car.

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#71. Wayland, Massachusetts

- Population: 13,720
- Median home value: $687,800 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,270 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $174,330

Wayland is just south of Westford, but closer to Boston’s city limits. In the spring, the Loker Conservation and Recreation Area draws nature enthusiasts from around the state. Wayland High School is regularly ranked as one of the best in Massachusetts.

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#70. Hopkinton, Massachusetts

- Population: 17,178
- Median home value: $581,700 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,740 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $166,156

Hopkinton is closer to Worcester than Boston, but not far from either. Whitehall State Park, Sandy Beach, and the Mass Audubon Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary are all popular spots, while running enthusiasts know Hopkinton for being the starting point of the Boston Marathon.

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#69. Boxborough, Massachusetts

- Population: 5,794
- Median home value: $527,400 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,097 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $108,207

Boxborough sits about equidistant between Worcester and Boston. Boxborough Old Town Center is a historic district of properties dating back to the Revolutionary War, and reenactments are popular throughout the year. Boxborough also has special transportation for senior citizens and residents with disabilities.

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#68. Plainview, New York

- Population: 25,902
- Median home value: $567,200 (91% own)
- Median rent: $1,708 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $143,534

Plainview is a few minutes away from the famous Bethpage golf courses (which hold major tournaments every few years). Remnants of Gold Coast estates are still in the area, and New York City is easily accessible via the Long Island Rail Road.

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#67. South Riding, Virginia

- Population: 31,071
- Median home value: $508,900 (87% own)
- Median rent: $2,193 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $153,688

South Riding sits right outside Dulles International Airport. This planned community caters to D.C. commuters and young families, with golf courses and several private schools as noted perks.

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#66. Kildeer, Illinois

- Population: 4,014
- Median home value: $626,800 (98% own)
- Median rent: $961 (2% rent)
- Median household income: $201,250

About 40 minutes to Chicago, Kildeer is a small village with low crime rates and top-rated public schools. Newcomers can find out more about the town through the unique Facebook page specifically tailored for those moving into Kildeer.

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#65. Chevy Chase, Maryland

- Population: 9,611
- Median home value: $916,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $2,242 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $180,917

Chevy Chase’s Town Teens website allows local teenagers to find work by posting availability for odd jobs around town. Other youth often find activities at the National 4-H Conference Center. Washington D.C. is easily accessible by public transportation in Chevy Chase.

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#64. Tower Lakes, Illinois

- Population: 1,205
- Median home value: $478,400 (97% own)
- Median rent: $1,750 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $145,156

Less than an hour away from Chicago, Tower Lakes has been a Tree City for 26 years. Throughout the year locals enjoy beaches, a chili cook-off, and days-long Independence Day celebration.

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#63. Haworth, New Jersey

- Population: 3,418
- Median home value: $661,300 (95% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (5% rent)
- Median household income: $173,750

Located on Oradell Reservoir, Haworth has less than 4,000 residents but two golf courses and close proximity to Manhattan. Haworth was called “A true hometown” by the New York Times, with residents boasting of swim clubs, varied cultural influences, and “postcard pretty” streets.

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#62. Princeton, New Jersey

- Population: 30,728
- Median home value: $833,000 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,563 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $138,194

Further south in New Jersey is Princeton, home of Princeton University and a town with a picturesque downtown in its own right. History buffs can enjoy a number of Revolutionary-era sites around Princeton, as well as the Albert Einstein House and Drumthwacket, the official governor's residence. Princeton is also home to several prestigious private schools known for sending their students to the nearby Ivy League school and other academically famous colleges.

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#61. Powell, Ohio

- Population: 12,909
- Median home value: $367,000 (98% own)
- Median rent: $1,597 (2% rent)
- Median household income: $149,119

Powell has five major parks and is right next to the Columbus Zoo. The Powell Festival, with its marketplace and fireworks is a big annual draw, and the town’s elementary schools regularly draw great ratings.

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#60. Winnetka, Illinois

- Population: 12,481
- Median home value: $1,076,000 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,810 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $220,577

If you drive through Winnetka and houses look familiar, it’s probably because many Hollywood movies have filmed in this Chicago suburb—including “Home Alone” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Winnetka is one of the most affluent towns in America and recycling and green initiatives are top priorities for the local government.

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#59. Bannockburn, Illinois

- Population: 1,325
- Median home value: $974,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $986 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $126,875

Located north of Chicago, this small village is home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen Friedman House. The structure was one of Wright’s last creations, and not far from where Phil Jackson lived when he coached the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. According to the village website, Bannockburn’s founders intended to create “a residential community with homes on large tracts of land within a rural atmosphere.”

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#58. Greenville, New York

- Population: 7,336
- Median home value: $954,400 (94% own)
- Median rent: $1,563 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $222,115

Greenville, commonly known as Edgemont, is just north of New York City in Westchester County. Nearby attractions include the Greenburgh Nature Center and several golf clubs. The Scarsdale Metro-North station provides simple access to the Big Apple.

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#57. East Williston, New York

- Population: 2,576
- Median home value: $841,500 (99% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (1% rent)
- Median household income: $176,328

The Wheatley Hills Golf Club is a big draw for residents near East Williston, a small village in Long Island. Residents enjoy elements of small-town charm like a newsletter, a Santa Claus visit on Christmas Eve, and Tai Chi classes.

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#56. Houserville, Pennsylvania

- Population: 2,013
- Median home value: $220,200 (88% own)
- Median rent: $1,172 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $88,583

Houserville is on the outskirts of Penn State University, making it within walking distance of several attractions like Penn State’s Innovation Park and the protected wetlands of the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. The town rates well in having diverse public schools.

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#55. Cochituate, Massachusetts

- Population: 6,942
- Median home value: $629,200 (88% own)
- Median rent: $720 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $146,758

Another entry from Middlesex County in Massachusetts, Cochituate is just west of Boston. Nearby Cochituate State Park is a popular spot for boating and hiking, and the Loker Conservation and Recreation Area has more than 30 acres of pristine green space.

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#54. Lodi Township, Michigan

- Population: 6,455
- Median home value: $337,900 (97% own)
- Median rent: $1,453 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $122,682

Lodi has the benefit of being just minutes southwest of Ann Arbor, and less than an hour to Detroit. Named after a town in New York, Lodi promotes its mental health services and online forms to settle non-emergency issues.

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#53. Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

- Population: 14,039
- Median home value: $373,200 (82% own)
- Median rent: $1,253 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $117,300

Located on the Whitefish Bay, this town is just north of Milwaukee. Whitefish Bay has an art gallery, parks, and an emphasis on education. Boating on the bay is a popular summer activity.

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#52. Broadlands, Virginia

- Population: 13,704
- Median home value: $591,200 (84% own)
- Median rent: $2,161 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $179,574

Broadlands is near the Virginia-Maryland border and just west of Washington D.C. Residents can take advantage of Loudoun County’s farms, resorts, and spas.

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#51. Brookmont, Maryland

- Population: 3,633
- Median home value: $990,400 (86% own)
- Median rent: $2,276 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $230,147

Brookmony’s location near the Potomac River makes it an ideal spot for water activities. Just a short drive to Washington D.C., Brookmont draws a variety of residents, from artists and poets to canoe slalom world champions.

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#50. Herricks, New York

- Population: 4,074
- Median home value: $647,000 (97% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $139,309

Herricks runs along State Route 25B, a popular road in Long Island. Locals enjoy the Iceland skating rink and attend the Herricks Union Free School District. The Herricks schools are introducing new digital apps for students and regularly produce candidates for National Merit Scholarships.

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#49. Elm Grove, Wisconsin

- Population: 6,172
- Median home value: $362,200 (93% own)
- Median rent: $955 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $115,972

Elm Grove Village Park is located in the center of town and provides acres of play space for kids. Elm Grove is a short drive to Milwaukee, and is recognized as a Bee City and Bird City for its commitment to nature.

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#48. Glendale, Missouri

- Population: 5,888
- Median home value: $385,700 (97% own)
- Median rent: $1,350 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $141,217

The outdoors are central to recreation in Glendale, as the town is minutes from two major golf clubs and Larson Park. The Glendale Women’s Club and Red Cross are two of many philanthropic organizations that are active in town, and the Glendale Aquatic Center is a popular social meeting place.

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#47. Thomaston, New York

- Population: 2,624
- Median home value: $808,900 (85% own)
- Median rent: $2,303 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $119,485

Thomaston is one of the more historically rich villages in Long Island and borders Northern Boulevard, which leads into Queens. Residents can easily reach Manhasset Bay, LaGuardia Airport, and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

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#46. Glencoe, Illinois

- Population: 8,919
- Median home value: $918,600 (94% own)
- Median rent: $1,517 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $209,143

On Chicago’s North Shore, Glencoe is full of parks, country clubs, and is home to Glencoe Beach, a popular summer hangout. The Chicago Botanic Garden will whet the appetite of nature fans and there are annual Christmas and Halloween events for all ages.

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#45. Solon, Ohio

- Population: 23,038
- Median home value: $280,300 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,283 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $104,625

Located southeast of Cleveland, Solon has been a hub for online businesses. Solon is also ahead of the curve in recycling and green initiatives, and has a successful recreation program for teens and youth. A Rotary, Kiwanis, and Women’s club are among the social offerings for adults.

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#44. Travilah, Maryland

- Population: 11,633
- Median home value: $1,090,400 (96% own)
- Median rent: $3,234 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $235,669

Right on the Maryland-Virginia border, Travilah is home to the scenic Adventure Conservation Park. Travilah is close to Washington D.C. and benefits from many services and amenities in nearby Rockville. White-tail deer are among the many forms of wildlife that bring pleasure to local nature watchers.

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#43. Wyoming, Ohio

- Population: 8,535
- Median home value: $314,800 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,048 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $121,071

The Village Historic District in Wyoming is a center of community activity. Wyoming, a suburb of Cincinnati, has a majority of single family homes, and residents enjoy the aquatic center and a town that emphasizes bike safety.

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#42. Bronxville, New York

- Population: 6,394
- Median home value: $1,131,100 (80% own)
- Median rent: $2,925 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $187,188

Locals enjoy the scenery along the Bronx River in this Westchester County village. Bronxville’s public schools often rank high on national lists, and Sarah Lawrence College is in walkable distance. The Bronxville Metro North station brings commuters into Manhattan in about 30 minutes.

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#41. Western Springs, Illinois

- Population: 13,227
- Median home value: $590,800 (96% own)
- Median rent: $1,941 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $161,563

The Western Springs Water Tower Museum is among the many historical sites in the area. Families enjoy swimming and other amenities at the Western Springs Service Club, and a train station shuttles commuters in and around the Chicago area.

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#40. Garrett Park, Maryland

- Population: 1,010
- Median home value: $812,000 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,646 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $179,306

This slab of Montgomery County is in between Rockville and Bethesda, and students attend Montgomery County Public Schools. During the holidays, Garrett Park holds a farmers market and other activities. Several community funds and park conservations maintain the beauty of the area.

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#39. Cinco Ranch, Texas

- Population: 16,977
- Median home value: $362,100 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,375 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $139,420

Situated just west of Houston, Cinco Ranch has many golf clubs, shooting centers, and nearby parks. There are almost a dozen community pools in town, and LaCenterra is a popular social gathering place. Locals usually belong to one of two resident associations.

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#38. Kenilworth, Illinois

- Population: 2,512
- Median home value: $1,133,000 (90% own)
- Median rent: $3,250 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $212,750

Settled along Lake Michigan, much of Kenilworth’s foundation comes from the Sears family. The Kenilworth Club is a popular clubhouse for community events, and the Ware Garden draws dog owners galore. Kenilworth residents receive beach passes for a fraction of the regular price.

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#37. Hinsdale, Illinois

- Population: 17,654
- Median home value: $878,700 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,887 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $188,684

Hinsdale is about a 20-minute train ride into Chicago but boasts its own charming downtown historic district. Hinsdale Central High School is regarded as one of the top public schools in Illinois. Katherine Legge Memorial Park is one of many open green spaces in town.

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#36. Chappaqua, New York

- Population: 1,459
- Median home value: $639,400 (90% own)
- Median rent: $2,694 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $218,803

Further north in Westchester County, Chappaqua provides easy access to both upstate New York and New York City. Hillary and Bill Clinton have spent a good portion of their time here since leaving The White House, and Horace Greeley High School regularly ranks as one of the best public schools in the state. The Pinecliff Audubon Sanctuary is a peaceful escape for many locals.

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#35. Wilmette, Illinois

- Population: 27,419
- Median home value: $680,700 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,639 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $154,738

Wilmette’s Romona Elementary School is nationally recognized for its education techniques. Teens and kids can experience the richness of nature at the Keay Nature Learning Center. They can also engage in a variety of sports including gymnastics and paddle tennis at the town’s sporting facilities.

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#34. Princeton Junction, New Jersey

- Population: 2,550
- Median home value: $522,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,135 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $189,861

Princeton Junction is technically in West Windsor, not Princeton, but is not far from the #62 entry on this list. A major train station provides hourly service into New York’s Penn Station. The town has experienced an increase in Asian residents, with several Asian marts and groceries flourishing in the area.

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#33. Urbana, Maryland

- Population: 11,788
- Median home value: $488,800 (85% own)
- Median rent: $2,272 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $152,566

Urbana is about 50 minutes to Washington D.C. and Baltimore, and just south of Frederick. Urbana District Park is a center of recreational activity with sports fields, playgrounds, and trails. Urbana High School has gained recognition for its engineering programs.

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#32. Marshall Township, Pennsylvania

- Population: 8,634
- Median home value: $339,600 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,594 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $122,958

Marshall Township, just north of Pittsburgh, has bustling youth and adult sports programs. Farmers markets draw in locals on the weekends, and Marshall residents usually attend schools in the North Allegheny School District.

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#31. Lexington, Massachusetts

- Population: 33,480
- Median home value: $849,400 (82% own)
- Median rent: $2,240 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $172,750

History buffs will love Lexington. Places like the downtown and Lexington Common National Historic Site display a rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War. Today, major research institutions like MIT have campuses in Lexington.

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#30. Charlestown Township, Pennsylvania

- Population: 5,813
- Median home value: $422,500 (86% own)
- Median rent: $2,103 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $147,690

Located along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Charlestown Township is minutes away from Valley Forge National Historical Park and the massive King of Prussia mall. Philadelphia is only 30 miles to the east, but locals can find plenty of activities in Charlestown, such as an annual art show and Charlestown Day.

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#29. Narberth, Pennsylvania

- Population: 4,350
- Median home value: $477,300 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,415 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $106,379

Narberth has its own train station that provides access into Philadelphia. Students attend the Lower Merion School District, and can enjoy weekends at a cozy, independent movie theater in town. Barnes Arboretum is a favorite site of nature lovers.

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#28. Mount Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania

- Population: 32,540
- Median home value: $252,500 (73% own)
- Median rent: $917 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $95,151

Mount Lebanon is recognized for having some of the best public schools in the Pittsburgh area. More than a dozen parks can entertain large crowds, and the Denis Theatre provides intimate seating for cinephiles. The Mount Lebanon Historic District is a point of pride for all community members.

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#27. Bradford Woods, Pennsylvania

- Population: 1,201
- Median home value: $334,700 (95% own)
- Median rent: $289 (5% rent)
- Median household income: $112,344

Rounding out our run of Pennsylvania places is Bradford Woods, situated just north of Pittsburgh. Like Franklin Park and Marshall Township, students in Bradford Woods attend the North Allegheny School District. A Women’s Club and Conservancy provide a sense of community for adults with varied interests.

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#26. Monmouth Junction, New Jersey

- Population: 3,302
- Median home value: $407,000 (91% own)
- Median rent: $2,410 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $141,875

Monmouth Junction is technically within South Brunswick, and is geographically about halfway between Philadelphia and New York. An ice skating rink and Red Maple Farm are two popular attractions in a town that is sort of exclusive; at times, leaders have tried to reign in growth to keep Monmouth Junction’s quaint atmosphere.

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#25. Glenwillow, Ohio

- Population: 1,034
- Median home value: $238,500 (86% own)
- Median rent: $658 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $80,357

Public school students in Glenwillow attend the Solon City schools, which are traditionally among the best in the state. Priding itself on a tight-knit community, Glenwillow offers senior transportation and home checks for families away on vacation. Located about 30 minutes from Cleveland, Glenwillow is a popular spot for bow hunting.

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#24. Ottawa Hills, Ohio

- Population: 4,436
- Median home value: $300,800 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,203 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $139,559

This small village borders the University of Toledo, and Ottawa Hills High School is renowned in its own right. Locals can stay abreast of news through the Village Voice of Ottawa Hills, a monthly magazine. Families enjoy walks, picnics, and art at Sculpture in the Park.

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#23. University Gardens, New York

- Population: 4,202
- Median home value: $750,500 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,552 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $115,536

This hamlet in Great Neck is nearby many of Long Island’s top country clubs, and has its own pool & tennis club. Residents looking for top-flight Asian groceries can shop at the H Mart, which has everything from Ramune soda to fresh kimchi.

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#22. Rollingwood, Texas

- Population: 1,569
- Median home value: $991,400 (93% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $190,795

Rollingwood is just west of Austin and within walking distance to popular sites like the Zilker Botanical Garden. Adults can join various neighborhood organizations, and kids attend the prestigious Eanes Independent School District.

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#21. Short Hills, New Jersey

- Population: 13,134
- Median home value: $1,361,500 (91% own)
- Median rent: $2,588 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $250,001

Short Hills is regularly ranked as one of the most affluent towns in America. The Mall at Short Hills is one of the state’s premier shopping centers and South Mountain Reservation is a beautiful outdoors getaway spot. The Paper Mill Playhouse is one of the region’s top facilities for the arts.

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#20. North Potomac, Maryland

- Population: 24,148
- Median home value: $663,300 (83% own)
- Median rent: $2,130 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $159,232

This Washington D.C. suburb is known for its stunning housing architecture. North Potomac benefits from nearby towns’ abundance of trails and museums. North Potomac is home to the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, a leading spiritual center in the state.

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#19. Okemos, Michigan

- Population: 23,912
- Median home value: $231,100 (61% own)
- Median rent: $965 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $78,080

Okemos High School is a leading institution in eastern Michigan and Okemos is minutes away from East Lansing and Michigan State University. Meridian Mall is one of the biggest shopping centers in the region. During summers, locals enjoy the greens at Indian Hills Golf Course.

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#18. Ardmore, Pennsylvania

- Population: 13,083
- Median home value: $328,800 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,342 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $89,923

Despite Ardmore’s small size, this town is home to several parks and its own train station with access into Philadelphia. Ardmore Presbyterian Church is a center of spiritual and community gatherings, and the suburban square brings together residents of all backgrounds for shopping and free events.

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#17. Mountain Lakes, New Jersey

- Population: 4,274
- Median home value: $849,100 (93% own)
- Median rent: $1,430 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $216,250

Mountain Lakes is farther west than most of the other New York City suburbs on this list, but it still has its own train station with service into the metropolis. The Mountain Lakes Schools are among the best in the state, and according to the New York Times, much of the town feels like a “resort getaway.

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#16. South Kensington, Maryland

- Population: 8,769
- Median home value: $736,300 (90% own)
- Median rent: $2,164 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $181,941

South Kensington has a diverse selection of houses of worship, which bring in visitors from around the D.C. suburbs. Residents of this town and nearby Kensington have been praised for their “neighborliness.

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#15. Upper Montclair, New Jersey

- Population: 11,744
- Median home value: $751,500 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,830 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $195,560

Upper Montclair has two train stations providing service around North Jersey and into New York City. Mountainside Public Pool is a popular summer hotspot, and Brookdale Dog Park provides a leisurely environment for canines. Students attend the famed Montclair Public Schools, while top private schools like the Lacordaire Academy call Upper Montclair home.

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#14. Syosset, New York

- Population: 19,559
- Median home value: $642,500 (91% own)
- Median rent: $2,256 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $159,375

Youth in Syosset can take advantage of a bustling skating rink and a bounce entertainment center. Meanwhile, adults can easily commute into New York City via the Syosset Long Island Rail Road station. The town is looked upon fondly by celebrities who grew up there like Judd Apatow and Sue Bird.

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#13. Kensington, New York

- Population: 1,184
- Median home value: $1,360,600 (93% own)
- Median rent: $2,583 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $171,250

Kensington, located on the peninsula of Great Neck, is very close to the water but locals also enjoy the scenery of the public pool. A popular landmark is the Great Neck giraffe (get it?), which is the unofficial mascot of Kensington. The village has launched a concerted effort to create more services for the area’s elderly population.

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#12. Holly Hills, Colorado

- Population: 2,909
- Median home value: $426,500 (93% own)
- Median rent: $2,634 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $136,176

Holly Hills is one of the more mysterious entries on this list, as it’s a census designated place and enclave of Denver. Even locals don’t know much about Holly Hills, but residents love the schools.

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#11. Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

- Population: 6,304
- Median home value: $410,100 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,169 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $109,648

Perhaps best known as the home of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore is about 20 miles west of Philadelphia. Scott Arboretum is a favorite among locals, and many do their shopping at the Town Center Business District. Students attend the highly-rated Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

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#10. Madeira, Ohio

- Population: 9,091
- Median home value: $281,100 (91% own)
- Median rent: $986 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $112,513

Madeira has several business districts, providing a variety of dining and shopping options. Lots of park space and Nelle V. Hosbrook Bird Sanctuary are favorites for outdoors people. This Cincinnati suburb is the home of the popular Kenwood Country Club.

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#9. Great Neck Gardens, New York

- Population: 1,183
- Median home value: $941,800 (92% own)
- Median rent: National$949 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $218,603

Located in Great Neck, this hamlet is notable for the expansive Allenwood Park, a favored recreational spot on Long Island. Great Neck Gardens is just north of Kensington and commuters frequent the Manhasset Long Island Rail Road station.

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#8. Great Neck Estates, New York

- Population: 2,841
- Median home value: $1,356,100 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,884 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $148,939

Another Great Neck locale, Great Neck Estates is recognizable by its Tudor and colonial houses. F. Scott Fitzgerald once lived in Great Neck Estates, and residents there now enjoy public pools and the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ben Rebhuhn house.

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#7. Clarendon Hills, Illinois

- Population: 8,711
- Median home value: $561,700 (84% own)
- Median rent: $985 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $126,500

A small village west of Chicago, Clarendon Hills has three major parks and students attend Hinsdale Central High School. Clarendon Hills has a simple to-do list available for new residents, and the village has been recognized as one of the top green communities in the country.

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#6. Berwyn, Pennsylvania

- Population: 3,268
- Median home value: $478,300 (75% own)
- Median rent: $578 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $108,000

Berwyn residents can utilize public transit at the nearby Daylesford and Devon train stations. The Footlighters’ Theater is a beacon of the arts in the area, and students learn through the Tredyffrin- Easttown School District, which boasts top middle and high schools.

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#5. Jericho, New York

- Population: 13,827
- Median home value: $772,900 (84% own)
- Median rent: $2,044 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $161,771

Of all the New York City suburbs on this list, Jericho tops them all thanks to factors like its business accommodations. Aer Lingus and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs are headquartered in Jericho, and residents enjoy an IMAX theater, spas, a Whole Foods, and an H Mart.

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#4. Devon, Pennsylvania

- Population: 2,008
- Median home value: $600,200 (84% own)
- Median rent: $2,177 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $183,333

Devon is just east of Berwyn, and close to colleges in Villanova and Bryn Mawr. The Devon Horse Show draws horse competition fans from around the country. Like many “Main Line” suburbs, Devon is known for its affluent residents.

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#3. Penn Wynne, Pennsylvania

- Population: 5,758
- Median home value: $366,200 (88% own)
- Median rent: $1,473 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $131,161

Penn Wynne is situated along Route 1 about 20 minutes away from Philadelphia. The local civic association is a major volunteer force, and members of Penn Wynne Green aim to ensure an optimally green community. Lankenau Medical Center serves much of the area.

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#2. Long Grove, Illinois

- Population: 7,978
- Median home value: $657,200 (99% own)
- Median rent: $2,688 (1% rent)
- Median household income: $208,250

Long Grove is Illinois’ first historic district, and downtown is bustling with remnants of the town’s German heritage. Adults can enjoy time at the Valentino Vineyards & Winery, while residents of all ages can bask in the scenery at the Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Center.

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#1. Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania

- Population: 4,714
- Median home value: $312,800 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,813 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $119,010

Chesterbrook is about 25 miles outside of Philadelphia, but its proximity to the Pennsylvania Turnpike enables travel to many points throughout the state. Wilson Farm Park and the Federal Barn are historic sites used for weddings and family outings. Students attend Conestoga High School, which posted some of the best SAT scores in the region last year.

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