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Best Cities 2010: Arlington, VA

City: Arlington 

State: Virginia 

Best Cities Overall Rank: 1

About Arlington: Fabulous schools, great home values, and an attractive unemployment rate (only 4.8 percent, as compared to the national average of 9.9 percent) can all be found in this dynamic setting just a stone's throw from the nation's capital. Arlington's public schools offer a low pupil/teacher ratio, and the city ranks second highest among the 100 we surveyed in high school graduation rates. Other factors that helped Arlington top the list: the lowest crime rate and very few registered sex offenders.

What moms say: The wide-open spaces and parks were a big draw for Sandra Alboum, a mom of two preschoolers. "This is a walking, biking city, so there are always families out enjoying the weather and one another's company," she says. "We also love that we're so close to Washington, DC, and there are many public options for getting around."

What's great for families: The Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, run by Arlington's Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department, has an impressive variety of programs for adults and kids alike.

County: Arlington

Population: 209,000

Official website for city visitors' bureau: Visitor's bureau website  

Newspaper with the largest circulation: Sun Gazette

Arlington blogs:

Wrekehavoc

Sun Gazette

Arlington Kids

 

Education rank: 18

High School graduation rate 2008: 93.1%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 3

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 1.43

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 4

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 1.91

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 266

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 14.7

Total Expenditures Per Student: $23,238

 

Health rank: 92

Quality children's hospitals: 0

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0

Quality Pediatricians: 1

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0.48

Average number of Unhealthy Air Quality days between 2006-2008, by county: 1

 

Safety rank: 2

Violent Crimes, 2007: 331

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 157.64

Sex Offenders: 115

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 54.77

 

Economy rank: 10

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 26.1        

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 4.8     

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 544.34

Median Home Sale Price: $491,500                   

5-Year Home Value Index: -0.45%                       

Percent of homes sold for a loss: 15%          

 

Recreation Rank:  80

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 1,296         

Parkland per 100,000: 617.23

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