Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 16, 2010

Money Magazine names Pleasanton in 'best cities'

City is only one in Bay Area to earn annual national honors

by Jeb Bing

Money Magazine, in its annual survey of the best places to live in the U.S., ranks Pleasanton 63rd nationally and third in California, citing the city's good climate, low crime, excellent schools and superb recreational programs and facilities.

Only Irvine, with a population of 208,000, and Yorba Linda, with 66,000 residents, ranked higher among California cities, scoring 22nd and 38th, respectively. The only other California city among the country's top 100 is Rocklin, with 53,000 residents, which ranked 65th. Pleasanton, based on preliminary estimates of the 2010 census, has about 68,000 residents.

Pleasanton has often scored among top U.S. cities in various surveys. Recently, it was graded first in personal income among cities its size with an average income level of more than $125,000, although the Money Magazine survey lists the median income here today as $134,282.

Money Magazine calls Pleasanton "a family-oriented town an hour from both San Francisco and Monterey (with) one of the strongest school districts in California."

"It also boasts 40 parks peppered with sports fields, picnic areas, 22 miles of scenic trails and public art displays," the magazine reports.

It adds: "Art lovers will soon have even more to enjoy: The Firehouse Arts Center, scheduled to open before the end of 2010, will house a new theatre, several art galleries, and classrooms."

In fact the only drawback to moving here is the high price of homes, but Livermore Realtor Toni Dalrymple said that even so, Pleasanton stacks up pretty well when comparing to other top cities.

"It's touted as a family-centered town with parks, golf courses and the article comments on the higher than average reading and math scores for the local schools," she said.

Statistics listed by Money Magazine that give Pleasanton an edge over most other American cities include:

* Median family income: $134,282 compared to an average of $90,957 for other "best places to live in America cities."

* Median home price: $465,000 vs. $239,391.

* Reading test scores in public schools: 63.6% vs. 22.9%

* Math test scores in public schools: 45.8% vs. 22.9%.

* Annual air quality index average: 72.0% vs. 77.8%.

* Personal crime risk (per 1,000): 1 vs. 2.

* Annual precipitation (inches): 22 vs. 37.4

* Annual number of clear days: 44 vs. 29.

* Median age: 38.7 vs. 35.3.

* Completed at least some college: 79.2% vs. 71.5%.

Also, we tend to spend a bit more time on the road with a median commute time of 25.8 minutes vs. 21.4 average for best places.

By the way, Money Magazine's choice for the very best all-around city in America is Eden Prairie, Minn. While its population is about the same as Pleasanton's, its housing prices average $235,000 with almost no commute time required.

Even Eden Prairie has its drawbacks, though. Low temperatures in January tumble down to 3.7 degrees above zero.

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