Considering the state’s reputation for “Minnesota nice,” perhaps it comes as no surprise that a local city made Forbes’ just-released list of “America’s Friendliest Towns.”
 
The west-metro city of Hopkins, which has a population of about 18,000, ranked 13th on the list, which took into account factors believed to be associated with a strong sense of community or that serve to promote good feeling among neighbors.
 
Forbes pointed out that Hopkins hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including Hopkins Mainstreet Days and the annual Raspberry Festival, which offers sporting events, live music, and a parade. The city has a low rate of homeownership, but its crime rate is also low compared to the rest of the country, the magazine said.
 
To compile the list, Forbes teamed up with Nextdoor.com, a San Francisco-based social network for neighborhoods, to assess 500 small metro areas with populations of between 5,500 and 150,000.
 
Using data from the U.S. Census, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and City-Data.com, Forbes ranked each town based on the percentage of owner-occupied homes, the crime rate, charitable giving, and the percentage of college graduates. (Forbes points out that studies have shown a direct correlation between homeownership and neighborhood stability and said that research has found that college-educated individuals display more civic engagement and have higher rates of voting and volunteering.)
 
Nextdoor.com then conducted qualitative surveys among its members in the highest-rated towns to finalize the top 15.
 
Ranking at the top of the list is Sammamish, Washington. Rounding out the top five are Orinda, California; Fishers, Indiana; Seal Beach, California; and Westerville, Ohio.
 
According to Forbes, many of the towns on the list share commonalities beyond those for which they were rated. For example, nearly all have tracts of public open spaces as well as a central downtown or main street hub used for town-sponsored events and parades—and many have neighborhood watch groups and organize events like National Night Out.
 
However, the community building and sense of neighborliness does reportedly come at a price: The cost of living in many of the towns on the list is well above the national average, mostly because of relatively high home prices.
 
To see the full list of “America’s Friendliest Towns,” click here.
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