A low crime rate and high quality public schools are two of many reasons why Lake Oswego is one of the country's best small well-rounded towns, according to Money Magazine.

The national publication ranked Lake Oswego the 32nd among 100 'Best Place to Live' in the United States.

Besides nearby Sherwood, which took the 18th spot, Lake Oswego was the only Oregon town to make the list.

Camas, across the Columbia River in Washington, was rated 63rd.

Wondering about number one? It's Middleton, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison.

Ratings were based on the magazine's assessment of economic opportunity, quality of schools, crime, activities and sense of community.

'Most certainly it's a good thing,' said Jerry Wheeler, chief executive officer at the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce. 'You question … their criteria but the bottom line is that you're on the plus side of the ratings, one way or another. We look forward to seeing these kinds of things. There's a little bit of ego involved, too.'

In Lake Oswego, the air quality is better than most 'Best Places.' People here are older than in other high-rated towns, and spend more on their vacations ($8,843 compared to the average of $8,250).

Sales tax is zero, commute time is low and most students attend the Lake Oswego School District or local private schools.

Some characteristics of Lake Oswego may have hurt its ranking, however. For example, the median home price in Lake Oswego was estimated at $533,103, far above the 'Best Places' average of $359,352.

Racial diversity isn't the best, with Lake Oswego scoring a 31.4 out of 100 - the national average. The other 'Best Places' had a racial diversity score of 59.2.

Also, there's the not-so-great weather. Lake Oswego's annual rainfall is 47.31 inches, far more than the 'Best Places' average of 39.64 inches.

To view Lake Oswego's scores in housing, financial, education, quality of life, leisure and culture, weather, health and meet the neighbors categories, visit

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