Union County towns that did make the top 100 list were Mountainside (44), New Providence (59), Scotch Plains (82), Berkeley Heights (85), Westfield (89) and Fanwood (99). Summit, which ranked at No. 16 in 2011, was also left off this year's list.
A total of 514 towns were ranked on the list, which will be available online on Sept. 3.
This year's list rates the magazine's interpretation of the best towns in the state based on the following factors: "average residential tax bill (2012); change in average property tax bill (2010-2012); effective property tax rate for 2012; median home sales price (2012); change in median home sales price (2010-2012); total crime rate (2011) combined with a score for violent crime rate (2011); student proficiency on state-mandated standardized tests for students in grades 4, 8 and 11 (2012); and a lifestyle factor that considers the number of acute-care hospitals and live performing-arts theaters within 10 miles of the municipality’s main zip code, number of full-service restaurants within two miles of the municipality’s main zip code, and average commute time for those working away from home. ... Extra weighting was given to the following indicators: change in average tax bill; change in median home sales price; and results on standardized tests for students in grades 4 and 8."
Towns with a population under 1,500 were dropped from consideration for the survey.