Top local town demoted on ‘Best Places’ list

Posted: August 22, 2012

Abington ain't what it used to be, if Money Magazine is to be believed.

Its annual 100 "Best Places to Live" list is out, and the Montgomery County town is ranked No. 47, way down from 29 two years ago.

Carmel, Ind., though, shot all the way from 14 to No. 1, supposedly because it's now a "formerly sleepy burb" with a healthy employment rate.

Also getting a little notice were Bensalem (No. 85, home of Parx casino, the magazine notes) and Lower Merion, which finished fifth among "high-earning towns" (Bethesda, Md., was first).

Oddly, Lower Merion's money is apparently why Money disqualified it from the overall list. While poverty, lousy schools and a lack of jobs seem like legit criteria for exclusion, the mag's method also crosses out any place exceeding twice the state's average income. (Also can't be 90 percent or more of just one race.)

Further inviting skepticism - at least over the "Best Places to Live" label - is how the list changes focus from year to year.

This year, as well as in 2008 and 2010, only "small cities" with 50,000 to 300,000 residents were included. Last year, as in 2009, only "small towns," with 8,500 to 50,000 residents, were considered.

Chester County's West Goshen finished No. 25 last year - down from No. 11 in 2009 - with Horsham (31), Ardmore (45) and West Norriton (59) also making 2011's Top 100.

That means no truly small towns or big cities have gotten a shot since 2006, when Colorado Springs was named best big city, despite having only about 370,000 people.

Other local towns previously mentioned but ignored in the last two years are Moorestown (No. 1 among "Great American Towns" in 2005), Nether Providence (No. 9 in 2007), Cherry Hill (No. 57 in 2006) and Washington Township, Gloucester County (No. 58 in 2008).

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Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or

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