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Finding that 'just right' fit: The best small US cities

If you're looking for a change in scenery, here are the best small US cities for families according to home affordability, median annual income, and school quality.

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The big state of Texas — and the suburbs of Dallas, Houston and Austin — dominate a top 10 list of the best small cities in the nation for families, according to a recently released analysis.

NerdWallet examined the most-recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, GreatSchools and NeighborhoodScout for 245 places in the U.S. with populations from 25,000 to 100,000. The analysis considers home values and affordability, median annual income, growth and factors that families consider, including school quality and crime. To see the full story and detailed methodology, click here.

If you are a homebuyer looking to narrow your choice of locations in a big or small city, try NerdWallet’s home affordability calculator to learn how much you can pay toward a mortgage each month while also staying on top of debts, spending and savings.

Recommended: Ten states with the fastest job growth in 2016

Most of the small cities on the top 10 list are suburbs, with many less than 30 miles from the nearest big city. Families in these places will find the convenience of higher-paying jobs and other big-city amenities without long commutes.

Best small cities for families

  1. Wylie, Texas
  2. Spring Hill, Tennessee
  3. Leander, Texas
  4. Bentonville, Arkansas
  5. Carmel, Indiana
  6. Pearland, Texas
  7. League City, Texas
  8. Allen, Texas
  9. Little Elm, Texas
  10. Wildwood, Missouri

Best small cities for families in the Northeast

Shelton, Connecticut
Melrose, Massachusetts
Saratoga Springs, New York
Milford, Connecticut
Warwick, Rhode Island

Best cities in the Midwest

Carmel, Indiana
Wildwood, Missouri
Ankeny, Iowa
Woodbury, Minnesota
Dublin, Ohio

Best cities in the South

Wylie, Texas
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Leander, Texas
Bentonville, Arkansas
Pearland, Texas

Best cities in the West

Syracuse, Utah
Sammamish, Washington
Maricopa, Arizona
Lake Stevens, Washington
Kaysville, Utah

Emily Starbuck Crone is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:emily.crone@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @emstarbuckSreekar Jasthi is a data analyst at NerdWallet. Email: sreekar@nerdwallet.com.

This article first appeared at NerdWallet.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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