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The town of Herndon has received national recognition in two prestigious periodicals for respectively being friendly, and for being a great place to raise children.

Herndon captured the attention of editors at Forbes.com, which ranked Herndon 12th in its listing of “America’s Friendliest Towns.”

The Forbes rankings were a collaboration with NextDoor.com, a San Francisco-based social network for neighborhoods, to assess 500 small metro areas with populations 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 towns based on four data points: percentage of owner-occupied homes; crime rate; charitable giving; and the percentage of college graduates.

According to Forbes, research has found that college-educated people typically display more civic engagement, with higher rates of voting and volunteering. Public school performance and safety were weighed most heavily, and to gauge the local job market, median income and county-level unemployment were also considered. Other factors included housing costs, commute time, poverty, adults’ educational attainment, share of households with children and diversity.

“It’s wonderful that the world is finding out what those of us who live and work here already know — that people in Herndon are uniquely friendly, open and caring,” said Mayor Lisa Merkel. “I hope this ranking will inspire those who haven’t visited our town to come see us, join in our events, and patronize our businesses.”

Nextdoor then conducted qualitative surveys among its membership in the towns that rated the highest to help finalize the ranking of the Top 15. Herndon was cited specifically for its low unemployment rate, its community celebrations and its nature-themed festivals and initiatives.

Right on the heels of that announcement last week came Herndon’s ranking on Bloomberg/Business Week’s 2013 ranking of the Best Places to Raise Kids.

Editors at Bloomberg/Business Week chose one community in each of the 50 states to compile the list. Herndon was recognized for its kid-friendly events and activities including “Little Nature Inspectors” classes and many performances on the Town Green that are geared toward families and children.

“As a parent who is raising my children here, I can personally attest to the appropriateness of this ranking,” Merkel said. “It’s no coincidence that the Town of Herndon is getting noticed in national rankings such as this and the ‘Friendliest Town’ distinction by Forbes.com. Our community is unique in its warmth, its vibrancy and its welcoming spirit. It is a proud day for all of us who call Herndon home.”

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com