201309_BPL_SHARON
Pat Molnar

1. Sharon, MA

Updated: Jun 24, 2014 4:31 PM UTC | Originally published: May 21, 2014

Top 50 rank: 1

Population: 17,944

This New England town is surrounded by a wealth of good jobs in Boston, Providence, and the Route 128 tech corridor. That helped insulate Sharon from the worst of the recession and ignited its rapid recovery.

A half-hour train ride from Boston or Providence, this one-time summer resort has the natural beauty of a more remote place. Forty percent remains open space, and the town jewel, Lake Massapoag, offers a place for residents to swim, picnic, and enjoy concerts on Memorial Beach.

Sharon's schools are a big draw for families. So is its diversity. The town has seven synagogues, nine churches, and one of New England's largest Islamic mosques. Nearly 30% of students in public school are nonwhite, and 18% speak a language other than English at home.

--Donna Rosato

Sharon, MA

Town stats
Median family income (per year)$139,850
Job growth % (2010-2012)5.31%
Median home price (2012)$375,000
Reading test scores (% above/below average)34.9%
Math test scores (% above/below average)40.0%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000)0
Property crime incidents (per 1,000)8

Financials

Median family income (per year)$139,850
Family purchasing power (annual, cost-of-living adjusted)$99,276
Sales tax (state)6.25%
State income tax rate (highest bracket)5.25%I
State income tax rate (lowest bracket)5.25%I
Average auto insurance premiumsN.A.
Job growth % (2010-2012)5.31%

Housing

Median home price (2012)$375,000
Average property taxes (2012)$8,103

Education

Colleges, universities and
professional schools (within 30 miles)
80
Reading test scores (% above/below state average)34.9%
Test scores math (% above/below average)40.0%
% students attending public/private schools (within town limits)92.1/7.9

Quality of life

Air quality index* (% of days AQI ranked as good)91.6%
Personal crime incidents (per 1,000)0
Property crime incidents (per 1,000)8
Median commute time (in minutes)33.3
% population with commute 45 mins. or longer36.3%
% population walk or bike to work1.0%

Leisure and culture

Movie theaters (within 15 miles)27
Restaurants (within 15 miles)2,432
Bars (within 15 miles)183
Public golf courses (within 30 miles)260
Libraries (within 15 miles)73
Museums (accredited by AAM; within 30 miles)40
Ski resorts (within 100 miles)N.A.
Arts funding ($ per person of state funds spent on arts)1.2

Weather

Annual rainfall (inches)42.53
% clear days in the area55%
High temp in July ° F82.8°
Low temp in Jan ° F17.7°

Meet the neighbors

Median age42.9
Completed at least some college (% of residents)82.8%
Married %66.2%
Divorced %2.9%
Racial diversity index (100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)72.1