MIDDLETOWN, NJ – A strong sense of community, low crime rate, great schools and an abundance of cultural and leisure activities are among the reasons that MONEY Magazine has ranked Middletown among the Top 100 Places to Live in America for 2010.

“It’s a great honor be recognized for a third time as one of the best places for families to live,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger. He noted that Middletown was included in the annual listing in 2006 and 2008. “The designation speaks volumes about our success in maintaining the highest quality of life possible.”

“I am also very proud that MONEY Magazine pointed to our strong sense of community and high rate of volunteerism as some of our greatest attributes,” said Mayor Scharfenberger. “I’ve always known we are incredibly lucky to have so many dedicated residents who volunteer their time to do everything from fight fires to coach little league to review zoning applications.”

Middletown, which ranked eighty-ninth, received some of its best marks in the Quality of Life Category for safety and air quality. MONEY used the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report to measure safety. Middletown has a personal crime ratio of 1 out of every 1,000 incidents compared the Best Cities average of 2 out of 1,000. When it came to property crime, Middletown scored 15 out of 1,000 incidents, compared to Best Cities average of 24. MONEY also reported that 86% of days reviewed had a “good” air quality index. The Best Cities average was 77.8%.

Above average rankings were also received in the Education category. Students reading test scores are 29.8% above the state average and 29.8% above average when it comes to math test scores. The Best Cities average is 22.9%.

Middletown also scored above average in the Leisure and Culture category because of the township’s proximity many movie theaters, restaurants, libraries and museums. “A measure of credit for our ranking here belongs to the community for supporting the creation of a top-notch Arts Center and Public Library within Middletown’s borders,” said Scharfenberger.

Cities with populations greater than 50,000 but less than 300,000 were ranked by MONEY Magazine on a series of factors including economy, arts and leisure options, cost of living, income, housing, medical care and school quality. This year’s goal was to zero in on the best small cities for families, according to MONEY.com

Only three other Jersey towns made it to Top 100 this year. Franklin Township ranked 5th, Piscataway 23rd, and Wayne 73rd. Middletown was one of nine other jersey towns that made the list in 2008. Visit www.money.com for details.