The 10 Best Places To Live In NH For 2021
If you want four seasons, down-to-earth, friendly people, and no state or personal tax, you can find it in New Hampshire. You can also find some of the best places to live in the country.
While the whole place is downright lovely, some spots in the Granite State deserve special attention for standing out as truly extraordinary. This is why HomeSnacks created a list of the top ten best places to live in New Hampshire for 2021. New Hampshire’s best places all exude gold star qualities like affordable housing, jobs that provide a nice income, and excellent schools. And that, folks, is just the beginning.
The places on our list have some of the best farmers’ markets, farm-to-table dining, and just an all around healthier outlook. It must be working because New Hampshirites have one of the highest life expectancy rates. Don’t worry, New Hampshire has some great places to retire to as well. We can also thank some of New Hampshire’s best places for Segway, Stonyfield Yogurt, and Badger Balm. Not only are these New Hampshire companies making products people love, they are helping to create jobs. And those jobs are keeping New Hampshire’s economy strong with a 2.4 % unemployment rate.
How did we determine the best place to live in New Hampshire for 2021. We looked at the most recent FBI and Census data. The competition was fierce to say the least, but there can be only one best place to live in New Hampshire. What’s the best place to live in New Hampshire? That would be Hanover.
To see what other places made our list, keep reading. And if you don’t see your favorite there, head on down to the bottom.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $603,700 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (9th best)
We begin our exploration of the best places in New Hampshire with Hanover, the home of Dartmouth. A young, progressive college town jam-packed with culture, life in Hanover is a dream come true for those who enjoy the intellectual side of things. Having the Appalachian Trail run through your town and the Connecticut River run beside it means there’s plenty to love for outdoorsy folks as well.
It goes without saying that this Ivy League enclave is super-smart; over 70% of residents have a bachelor’s degree, and 40% have a master’s degree or higher. Hanover also enjoys the 5th lowest crime rate in New Hampshire. Even if you do get banged up here, 97.8% of residents have health insurance, the highest rate statewide. And the drive to and from work shouldn’t be too stressful in Hanover, because the city has the 1st shortest average commute time in New Hampshire at 14 minutes. Just know that housing in Hanover is 80% higher than the statewide average, with homes selling for around $603,700 and rent going for $1,415/month. That’s alright, though, because Hanover also has the best-paid population in the state, with a typical household bringing in $109,514/year.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $425,600 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.1% (4th best)
Located on the south bank of the Piscataqua River on the border of Maine, Portsmouth is a historic seaport and tourist destination with a population of 21,775. You’d find it hard to be bored in Portsmouth, from exploring the the Market Square’s shops and surrounding restaurants, to visiting cultural hotspots like the Strawberry Banke Museum, catching a performance at the local theatre or music hall, or simply taking in the natural beauty at Prescott Park.
Public schools in Portsmouth consistently outperform the statewide average in test scores and graduation rates by a wide margin, so you know your kiddos are getting off to a great start here. Poverty and unemployment both rank in the top ten statewide, at 6.7% and 2.1% respectively. The only rub is that Portsmouth is one of New Hampshire’s most expensive cities, with a cost of living roughly 30% higher than the national average. Homes here are the 2nd priciest in the state at $425,600/year, but median household income also ranks as the 5th highest in New Hampshire at $83,923/year, so it all evens out.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $372,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (3rd best)
Located just south of Portsmouth, Hampton is another of New Hampshire’s coastal destinations. A charming seaside resort, Hampton offers a relaxed small-town vibe without skimping on the entertainment. Folks come from near and far to visit Hampton Beach, so being a local who can drop in anytime is pretty special. Hampton is also home to one of New England’s oldest craft breweries, Smuttynose, which also serves some top-notch pub grub.
Just come ready to wine and dine with the state’s elite, because Hampton is among the richest places in New Hampshire. The median household income in Hampton is $92,220/year, the 4th highest statewide. Homes have the 3rd steepest price tag in New Hampshire at $372,000 and rent goes for around $1,179/month. But it’s not like the 1% are laughing it up while their neighbors struggle to get by; Hampton has the 3rd lowest poverty rate in New Hampshire at 3.8% and unemployment is safely sub-2%.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $310,200 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (7th best)
Located 20 minutes south of Manchester, Londonderry ranks as the 4th best place to call home in the Granite State. The headquarters of Stonyfield Farm is located in Londonderry, so the freshest organic food won’t have far to travel to arrive in your home. The town has a strong farming heritage that’s on display at several orchards where you can pick your own produce and enjoy goodies from the farm stands.
The poverty rate in Londonderry ranks as the lowest statewide at 3.0% and unemployment sits at a very low 2.9%. Londonderry also has the 4th highest rate of residents with health insurance in New Hampshire at 96.6%. Homes are the 5th priciest in the state at $310,200 and rentals go for around $1,459/month. Luckily, residents also enjoy the 2nd highest median household income in New Hampshire at $97,596/year. If the political affiliation of your community is an important factor for you, know that Londonderry also ranks among New Hampshire’s most conservative cities.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $348,500 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (25th best)
Home to the University of New Hampshire, Durham is a historic university town situated beside Great Bay near the Maine border. From Durham, a short drive is all it takes to find yourself hiking a mountain, strolling beside a lake or river, or spending the day at the beach. Or taking advantage of the many attendant amenities that come with having the largest state university in your backyard. No wonder we named Durham the best city for families in New Hampshire.
Nearly 80% of residents have a college degree, and a whopping 45% have a master’s, PhD, or professional degree, so start studying up for pub quiz night in Durham. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the youngest community on this list, with a median age of 20. These young whippersnappers know how to keep things civil, though, seeing as Durham’s crime rate is 85% below the national average and ranks as the 5th lowest statewide. A typical Durham home sells for around $348,500, the 4th priciest in the state, but the median rent here is $942/month, which is well below the average rent in New Hampshire.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $255,400 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.4% (best)
Situated between Manchester and Portsmouth, Newmarket comes in as New Hampshire’s 6th finest place to call home. Whether you’re a night owl who wants to sip local craft brews at Deciduous Brewing Company, an early worm who wants to enjoy “Newmarket’s living room,” Crackskull’s Coffee & Books, or somewhere in between, Newmarket has you covered.
Newmarket has the 2nd lowest overall crime rate in New Hampshire, about 75% below the national average. Which makes sense when you also have the lowest unemployment rate statewide — folks with steady incomes typically steer clear of criminal activities.
Speaking of income, Newmarket residents enjoy a median household income of $68,500. Homes in Newmarket have a median value of $255,400, the 9th priciest in the New Hampshire.
Besides good schools, safe streets, and a low poverty rate, Newmarket is just plain energetic. The median age is a young 34, 47% of adults are highly educated, and it’s the 5th most densely-populated spot in New Hampshire. Fun stuff happens in Newmarket because all the conditions are perfect for it.
7. South Hooksett
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $269,200 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (12th best)
the 7th best place to live in New Hampshire. Having New Hampshire’s biggest city as a neighbor comes with some great perks. For culture, there’s the Currier Museum of Art, the Palace Theatre, and shows at SNHU Arena. And for outdoorsy folks, Lake Massabesic and Livingston Park provide all the natural splendor you could want.
The price of admission? Quite low, considering South Hooksett ranks among the most affordable places in New Hampshire. Homes here are the 6th most expensive in the state at $269,200, but that’s offset by the fact that residents have the 3rd highest median household income at $96,440/year. Poverty, unemployment, and the rate of health coverage all rank in the top ten statewide as well.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $236,100 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (14th best)
Exeter is a town of 9,244 located in the Seacoast Region of southeastern New Hampshire, smack dab in the middle of Boston and Portland. Tree-line streets, quaint boutique shops, historic homes, and museums work together to make Exeter a quintessential New England town. It’s a short drive to Hampton’s beaches, Portsmouth’s fine restaurants, and Kittery’s outlet shopping, but you don’t need to leave town for natural beauty. You can get your fill of that at Swasey Parkway. It’s no wonder we featured Exeter on our list of the best places to retire in New Hampshire.
Exeter is one of the least expensive places we’ll be covering here, with a cost of living basically in line with the New Hampshire average. Homes here have a median price tag of $236,100 and you won’t find cheaper homes any place on this list. The poverty rate crime rate in Exeter both rank as the 7th lowest in the state as well, so hardships are few and far between in Exeter.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $264,700 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (11th best)
The last stop on our tour of New Hampshire’s best places is Dover, the largest city in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region. Dover’s tree-lined downtown is jam-packed with an eclectic array of shops, studios, galleries, and restaurants, so you’ll never run out of new things to try. It’s part of the reason we named Dover among the best cities for singles in New Hampshire. For those who already have a family, it’s pretty great having the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in town. Older folks might prefer the Woodman Institute Museum, named the best small museum in New England by Yankee Magazine, where you’ll find a nice mix of natural science, art, and history.
All these great features have increased demand to live in Dover, which is why it’s grown so quickly in the past decade. Dover has the 4th lowest crime rate in the state, so you won’t have to worry much about all these new neighbors. Homes in Dover are the 8th most expensive in the state at $264,700 and rent goes for around $1,156/month.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $245,400 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.3% (2nd best)
Situated 15 minutes south of Hanover on the Connecticut River, Lebanon is the 10th best place to live in New Hampshire for 2021. It’s a thriving community that has both the quiet serenity of rural life and the cultural experience of a big city. Cyclists will love having easy access to the 48-mile Northern Rail Trail that meanders through small towns, lakes, and farmlands. Music lovers will appreciate the regular performances at the Lebanon Opera House. And everyone will enjoy the farmer’s markets, local shops, and charming atmosphere of Lebanon’s thriving downtown.
The unemployment rate in Lebanon is a measly 1.3%, which ranks as the 2nd lowest in New Hampshire. If you’re part of the mega-majority of employed residents, you’ll enjoy the nice bonus of having the 5th shortest average commute time in the state at 18 minutes. The median household income in Lebanon is $67,698/year, which represents a more than 10% growth since last year.
The 10 Best Places To Retire In NH For 2021
Looking for a rock solid place to retire in the Granite Place? You’re in the right place, because we’ve found the top spots in New Hampshire to spend your golden years.
Luckily, there’s a wide array of places to choose from, so whatever your retirement priorities are, there’s definitely something for you. If you want to live in the middle of the action, Concord is the place to be, while if you always imagined retiring beside the sea, Portsmouth or Hampton are your best bets. Or if you’d like to be near the bigger cities like Manchester and Nashua, but still have apple orchards aplenty, then Londonderry is calling.
Interestingly, some of the top best cities to raise a family in New Hampshire are also featured on this list. That means that none of these cities will be age-segregated retirement hubs, but rather thriving communities where youth and experience are appreciated in equal measure.
Florida may have New Hampshire beat in terms of heat, but if natural beauty is your thing, it’s certainly hard to top New Hampshire’s rugged landscape (especially in autumn). And if you don’t feel up for the often wild and steep trails in White Mountain National Forest, there’s always the option to drive up Mountain Washington (and get the bumper sticker for proof). Even if you’re just reading a book by the side of the Merrimack River, you can’t help but appreciate the nature in New Hampshire.
Without further ado, let’s turn to the absolute best places to retire in New Hampshire.
The 10 Best Places to Retire in NH For 2021