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Best Cities 2010: Austin, TX

City: Austin

State: Texas

Best Cities Overall Rank: 2

About Austin: An enviable climate and numerous trails, parks, and lakes help give Austin its low-key vibe; they offer activities for everyone from music lovers to sports enthusiasts. You'll find some of the cleanest air in the country here, along with an acclaimed children's hospital and loads of quality pediatricians. Plus, six public elementary schools in Austin have been awarded the Department of Education Blue Ribbon School designation for academic superiority.

What moms say: "There is not a month in the year that it is bad to be outside in Austin," says Alexis Saint, a mom of three school-age kids who love picnicking at 351-acre Zilker Metropolitan Park. Set in the heart of the downtown, it features climbing structures with ropes and swings, a playscape, and Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre marvel that is fed from underground springs and averages 68 degrees.

What's great for families: At the lively annual Urban Music Festival, an interactive village called Kid Citi offers train rides, face painting, dance competitions, and dance performances by a local company.

County: Travis

Population: 758,000

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

Newspaper with the largest circulation: The Austin American-Statesman

Austin blogs:

The Work at Home Woman

LIFE is What You Make It

Casa De Galletti

Austin's Facebook page: Follow Austin on Facebook

Austin's Twitter page: Follow Austin on Twitter

 

Education rank: 24

High School graduation rate 2008: 74.29%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 6

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 0.79

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 28

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 3.69

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 260

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 14.1

Total Expenditures Per Student: $11,927

 

Health rank: 39

Quality children's hospitals: 1

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0.13

Quality Pediatricians: 6

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0.79

Average number of Unhealthy Air Quality days between 2006-2008, by county: 0

 

Safety rank: 16

Violent Crimes, 2008: 3,935

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 519.35

Sex Offenders: 822

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 108.49

 

Economy rank: 16

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 22.7        

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 7.6      

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 100

Median Home List Price: $234,900                         

 

Recreation Rank:  23

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 17,036       

Parkland per 100,000: 2,248.42

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