Best place to raise kids in Texas: Gatesville
Nearby city: Waco
Median family income: $49,145
Runner-up: Prairie View
Home to the Gatesville Hornets, the 2000 Texas State 3A High School Football Champions (in case you weren’t aware, high school football is a BIG deal in Texas), and what may be the largest collection of spurs in the world, Gatesville is about 45 minutes due west of Waco. Job growth in the area is steady, as two of the major employers are the U.S. military in nearby Fort Hood and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which operates four prisons and one jail in the town, including the state’s death row for women. In 2005—the latest year for which records exist—33.3 percent of all students at Gatesville High School scored at or above criterion on the SAT, beating the state average of 21 percent.