According to the latest US Census Bureau data, the number of people moving to small towns is most definitely on the rise.

Realtor.com has been researching small town population growth for three years running now. To find the “best” of those growing small towns, realtor.com factored in data points such as…

  • Median list price on realtor.com
  • Low unemployment rates
  • Low violent crime rates (assaults, homicides, robberies)
  • Low property crime rates (vandalism, burglaries)
  • Home affordability (percentage of income going to mortgage payments)

AND fun, connectedness, culture, etc.

  • One-of-a-kind festivals
  • Food destinations
  • Mom and pop shops

Lance Lambert of Realtor.com put forth these 10 “best” small towns where homebuyers would actually like to live:

  1. Boone IA – median home price of $134,500 & population of 26,484
    1. One hour northwest of Des Moines
    2. 15 minutes from Ames and its Iowa State University Research Park that attracts agriculture and bioscience companies
    3. Household income is $57,906, higher than the rest of the state
    4. Main drag is lined with two-story storefronts
    5. Large two-story historic homes with porches priced approximately $100,000
    6. Two bedroom apartments priced approximately $600/month
  2. Van Wert OH – median home price of $94,600 & population of 28,217
    1. 40 minutes southwest of Fort Wayne IN
    2. Most affordable on this list plus big-city amenities such as Van Wert Civic Theater and Walsenburg Art Center AND a quaint Main Street
    3. Three bedroom housing ranges from $100,00 to new construction such as the Landing at Dickinson Farms for single-family homes and condos from $160,000 – $200,000
    4. Bonus for dog lovers – Van Wert Community Dog Park hosts the Dog Bone Hunt every Easter
  3. Decatur IN – median home price of $117,500 & population of 35,491
    1. 2 hours from Indianapolis with pastures, grain silos and corn fields along the way
    2. Town LOVES Halloween with parades, zombie walks, costume contests, etc. in its Callithumpian Festival
    3. Two bedroom houses priced at approximately $70,000 are not difficult to find
  4. McPherson KS – median home price of $158,800 & population of 28,708
    1. College town one hour north of Wichita
    2. Home to McPherson College and Central Christian College of Kansas
    3. Strong cultural arts scene with McPherson Opera House and McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation
    4. Like most college towns, wide variety of houses and prices from 100-year old homes with porches priced at approximately $165,000 to 5 bedroom homes priced at approximately $115,000
  5. Los Alamos NM – median home price of $375,860 & population of 18.738
    1. Persistent hub for high paying science and tech jobs associated with the Los Alamos National Lab
    2. Median household income is $110,190
    3. 40 minutes NW of Santa Fe
    4. com ranked Los Alamos as one of top ten counties where people live the longest
    5. Houses sit on cliffs and have great views
    6. “The Lab recruits worldwide. We have a steady stream of young families moving into town,” according to Joanie Ahlers, economic development administrator wit Los Alamos County
  6. Austin MN – median home price of $115,000 & population of 39,566
    1. Nearly 2 hours from Minneapolis
    2. Home to Hormel, Fortune 500 company, and home to Spam Museum
    3. 50 different languages spoken in schools
  7. Williston ND – median home price of $240,000 & population of 33,349
    1. Population has grown 49% since 2010 with its last oil boom
    2. Median household income of $89,874, higher than Minneapolis and Chicago
    3. Great jobs and great new ranch houses with open floor plans
  8. Mexico MO – median home price of $94,800 & population of 25,641
    1. Two hours northwest of St. Louis
    2. Quaint, quiet with miniature golf, bowling, mom and pop stores
    3. Two-story homes built in 1930’s near city center priced at approximately $60,000 and custom-built ranch homes with more privacy priced at approximately $250,000
    4. Presser Performing Arts Center
  9. Merrill WI – median home price of $145,000 & population of 27,838
    1. Haven for history buffs with six buildings on National Register of Historic Places
    2. Cozy river town offers great outdoor adventures in Council Grounds State Park, a 500-acre park very close to center of town
    3. Two bedroom homes built in 1920’s-1930’s that need fixing available for approximately $50,000
    4. 1970’s era ranch homes in outskirts just under $200,000
  10. ]
    Andrews TX – median home price $232,000 & population of 17,722

    1. 40 minutes from Odessa in heart of oil rich West Texas’ Permian Basin
    2. Typical household income is $70,753, more than Austin and Dallas
    3. Experiences boom and bust cycles that typical of oil prices
    4. List prices on realtor.com have increased +30% over last 2 years
    5. Ranch homes on outskirts of town available for approximately $230,000