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4 of 100
4. Bellevue, WA
Top 100 rank: 4
Population: 124,000
Unemployment: 5.8%
Compare Bellevue to Top 10 Best Places
If forested cityscapes are your thing, this is your kind of place. Bellevue's compact downtown bristles with new skyscrapers that seem to hover above Lake Washington -- and when the clouds part, mountain views loom.

Real estate isn't a bargain, but the town's jobless rate is more than two points below that of the Seattle metro area, thanks to a recent influx of jobs from such employers as Microsoft (which has moved 6,500 positions here), T-Mobile, Verizon, and Expedia. In fact, Bellevue has more jobs than it does residents.

And the population is diverse: Nearly a quarter of residents are Asian, and nearly a third are foreign born.

The town's high schools consistently land at the top of state rankings. There's also an embarrassment of arts and entertainment, including a philharmonic orchestra, fine arts museum, botanical garden, youth theater, annual jazz festival, and 74 (!) parks. --Jessica Levine

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Is Bellevue a great town, or what?
Bellevue stats
  City stats Best places avg.
Median family income
(per year)
$100,419 $90,957
Job growth %
3.09% 15.71%
See jobs near Bellevue
Median home price $467,5002 $239,391
See Bellevue homes for sale
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
18.7% 22.9%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
37.1% 22.9%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 35 24
(within 15 miles)
4,773 2,967
High temp in July ° F 75.2° 86.2°
Low temp in Jan ° F 34.9° 21.3°
Median age 41.4 35.3
Financial City stats Best places avg.
Median family income
(per year)
$100,419 $90,957
Family purchasing power
(annual, cost-of-living adjusted)
$95,728 $86,860
State sales tax 6.50% 5.45%
State income tax rate
(highest bracket)
N.A. 7.35%
State income tax rate
(lowest bracket)
N.A. 2.96%
Auto insurance premiums
(Average price quotes, for the state)
$1,811 $1,707
Job growth %
3.09% 15.71%
See jobs near Bellevue
Median home price $467,5002 $239,391
Average property taxes
$5,082 $3,418
See Bellevue homes for sale
Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
16 25
Test scores reading
(% above/below state average)
18.7% 22.9%
Test scores math
(% above/below average)
37.1% 22.9%
% students attending public/private
schools (located within town limits)
77.6/22.4 87.8/12.2
Quality of life
Air quality index*
(% of days AQI ranked as good)
89.0% 77.8%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000) 1 2
Property crime incidents (per 1,000) 35 24
Median commute time (in minutes) 19.7 21.4
% population with commute
45 mins. or longer
6.4% 13.6%
% population walk or bike to work 3.5% 3.6%
Leisure and culture
Movie theaters
(within 15 miles)
58 31
(within 15 miles)
4,773 2,967
(within 15 miles)
366 207
Public golf courses
(within 30 miles)
156 162
(within 15 miles)
103 72
Museums (accredited by AAM;
within 30 miles)
9 10
Ski resorts (within 100 miles) 11 12
Arts funding (Dollars per person of state funds spent on arts) 0.8 1.5
Annual rainfall
43.72 37.40
% clear days in the area 16 29
High temp in July ° F 75.2° 86.2°
Low temp in Jan ° F 34.9° 21.3°
Median age 41.4 35.3
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
82.4% 71.5%
Married % 56.1% 56.6%
Divorced % 10.0% 8.4%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
125.6 94.9
From the August 2010 issue
Notes: *County data
(2) Median based on fewer than 50 home sales in the area.
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Find Your Best Places
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Home Prices
2009 median sales prices
Using statistics from data provider Onboard Informatics, we crunched the numbers in order to zero in on America's best small cities for families. (Last year, we looked at small towns, with populations between 8,500 and 50,000.) More

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