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201309_BPL_SHARON
Pat Molnar

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

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

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