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Best Cities 2010: Spokane, WA

City: Spokane 

State: Washington

Best Cities Overall Rank: 7

About Spokane:

Fair weather is just one of the many charms of Spokane, a pristinely clean, friendly, and very affordable city. The mere 19.7-minute average commute, its two children's hospitals, and three Blue Ribbon schools help boost its high overall ranking. With 4,100 acres of parks, playgrounds, and pools, Spokane has an abundance of places to bike, hike, and swim, including the 37-mile Centennial Trail.

What moms say: Mom sonja Bakonyi loves Spokane's many parks and the annual Lilac Parade. There's also a "junior" version in which the community works together to help kids make and enter their own floats, and youth groups march along with school bands and drill units.

What's great for families: Mobius Kids is a children's museum featuring hands-on, interactive exhibits, including an authentic Filipino village, an art studio, and a stage. And downtown Riverfront Park offers a hand-carved wooden carousel, a SkyRide, and a giant (10 feet high and 26 feet long) Radio Flyer wagon.

County: Spokane

Population: 202,000

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

Newspaper with the largest circulation: The Spokesman-Review

Spokane blogs:

Are We There Yet?

Living on the Edge

Spokane Insiders' Blog

Spokane's Facebook page: Follow Spokane on Facebook

Spokane's Twitter page: Follow Spokane on Twitter

 

Education rank: 1

High School graduation rate 2008: 60.3%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 3

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 1.48

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 4

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 1.97

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 267

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 17.2

Total Expenditures Per Student: $11,320

 

Health rank: 4

Quality children's hospitals: 2

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0.98

Quality Pediatricians: 0

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0

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

 

Safety rank: 29

Violent Crimes, 2008: 1,352

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 668.25

Sex Offenders: 267

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 131.97

 

Economy rank: 20

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 19.7        

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 10.6    

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 668.49

Median Home Sale Price: $144,900                   

5-Year Home Value Index: 2.89%                        

Percent of homes sold for a loss: 13.21%      

 

Recreation Rank:  27

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 4,100         

Parkland per 100,000: 2,026.5

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