When it comes to ranking the worst states in the US to live, New Hampshire wouldn't figure. This is a quiet, pleasant state full of quiet, pleasant people. It's wealthy, it's leafy, it's got culture and natural beauty to spare. It might not have too many big, buzzing metropolises to boast off, but make no mistake - the Granite State is a nice state with a lot of nice things to say about itself.
But nowhere is completely free of its trouble spots, and New Hampshire is no different. If you want to avoid the worst of the state's crime, unemployment, and poverty, take our advice and avoid these 20 worst places to live in New Hampshire.
Nashua is a medium-sized city of 87,279 people. If this was another state, it wouldn't appear on our list of the worst places to live. But this is goody-goody New Hampshire we're dealing with, the quiet state with the good grades and the winning smile. As a consequence, the city's high cost of living and middling to poor employment rate gets it a mention.
As far as crime goes, you could pick far, far worse places to live than Newmarket. Based on current FBI data, the crime rate is 59% lower than the New Hampshire average. Where this little town falls down is in its unemployment rate, which is 21% higher than the national average. If you're willing to sacrifice your job for your safety, it's ideal. If not, you'll find better places to live.
Franklin isn't having a great time of it lately. The crime rate is up (it's currently 17% higher than the US average) and its desirability has taken a nosedive as a result, as evidenced by the fact you can pick up a property here for 33% less than you would elsewhere in the state. It's by no means the worst place to live in New Hampshire, but it's not the best either.
Suncock is by no means a terrible place to live. But by New Hampshire standards, it's not great either. According to Area Vibes, the household income is 11% lower than the average for New Hampshire; the high school graduation rate is 1% lower, the home value is 16% lower, and the unemployment rate of 6% is 38% higher than the US median. On the plus side, the crime rate is reasonable enough.
Seabrook used to be a safe place to live. So safe, in fact, it wouldn't have come within striking distance of our list. But times have changed. These days, Seabrook is a dangerous place to live. The crime wave started in 2017 and despite the best efforts of the local Police Department, it's showing no signs of going anywhere yet.
Seabrook may have experienced an increase in crime over the past couple of years, but Hillsborough has gone the opposite way. The crime rate today is lower than it's been in years... at least from a violent crime perspective. Property crime, on the other hand, is rising on an almost daily basis. According to onlyinyourstate.com, your chance of being a victim of a theft in this little corner of New Hampshire is a scary 1 in 77.
Concord is a city of 43,244 people with a reputation that's getting worse by the day. According to roadsnacks.net, Concord has New Hampshire's 13th lowest home value median and the 12th and 13th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Whichever way you look at it, those aren't great stats.
If you want to live in a small, charming city where you can let your kids play outside without worrying about their safety, then choose somewhere else. Whatever else Somersworth is, it's not that place. Crime is rife - your chance of being a victim of a robbery is 1 in 25, while the chance of something even worse happening to you isn't that much better. Drug dealers roam the streets, and there's a lot of nefarious things going on that are best left unmentioned. On the plus side, it's close enough to Portsmouth to make an escape possible.
Keene ranks as one of the most dangerous places to live in New Hampshire. It might have an awesome annual pumpkin festival, but holding the world record for displaying the most jack o lanterns at the same time doesn't detract from the fact that your safety is more at risk here than it is almost anywhere else in the state. Fortunately, that's not saying very much. New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the US, and even its most dangerous places would feel positively charming in comparison to the likes of St. Louis or Detroit. But still, on a like-for-like basis, Keene isn't winning any prizes for safety.
Small towns have a reputation for being charming. It's a reputation that doesn't always stand up. Take Pinardville as an example. With just 5,208 people, it fits the profile perfectly, at least in terms of size. In terms of everything else... not so much. With an unemployment rate that's one of the highest among comparatively sized towns in New Hampshire and a crime rate that gets a big fat fail, it's a town that really needs to knuckle down and start working on its image.
If you value the safety of your person and your belongings, do yourself a favor and skip a visit to Conway. Thanks to its proximity to the White Mountain National Forest and the Echo Lake State Park, it's actually a popular tourist location. While that helps bring plenty of ready cash into the city, it also contributes to a high crime rate. Most of those crimes are directed at the wealthy out-of-towners, making it a far less welcoming proposition than its tourist board would care to admit. Last year, the city reported the highest number of rapes in New Hampshire and the 6th highest number of property crimes. Unless you want to spend every minute watching your back, you might want to find a different destination for your next vacation.
While New Hampshire is among the safest states in the US, it's not completely free of crime. Take the example of Meredith. What was once a quiet little mill town is now one of the most dangerous places to live in the state. It has the second-highest percentage of rapes and the second-highest percentage of burglaries. The total crime rate is 1914 in 100 thousand people. Considering the city only has 6424 residents, it's not exactly a comforting figure.
Laconia is beautiful. It's surrounded by lakes, mountains, and more natural beauty than you'll know what to do with. But dig beneath its picture-perfect image, and you'll find a very dark secret. Laconia is dangerous. Like, really, really dangerous. On average, it reports a whopping 535 crimes per year, the third-highest in the state. And the bad news doesn't end there. The economy has taken a nosedive in recent years, resulting in escalating unemployment and growing poverty. Despite the beauty of its surroundings, the city is starting to look a little run down and in need of some serious TLC.
According to roadsnacks.net, the small city of Littleton isn't the kind of place you want to stick around in... not unless you're a fan of violent crimes anyway. Despite its diminutive size, Littleton has all the charm of a smack in the face. Per year, it reports more murders than cities three times its size. It's not faring much better with other types of crime either. In fairness, it's got plenty to offer from a cultural perspective, while the beauty of its surroundings makes it a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It also boasts the world's longest candy counter. But unless you're a hard-core sugar addict, no amount of candies is going to make up for its crime rate.
Belmont is a small community with a big problem. Its violent crime rate ranks as one of the fourth-worst in the state, while its property crime rate isn't faring too much better as the sixth-worst. The biggest problem? While most cities and towns are actually showing a trend towards lower crime, Belmont is doing the opposite. Prior to 2016, it was a pleasant town with friendly neighbors and a lower crime rate than most other cities in New Hampshire. Whereas these days, it's the kind of place you can't afford to drop your guard for a second.
While most New Hampshire residents are doing fairly well for themselves, Claremont's residents most defiantly aren't. According to livability.com, most households are struggling to get by on just $44,882 - a low figure by US standards and an even lower one by New Hampshire standards. Crime is on the high side, while the below-average median property price of just $140,955 highlights how undesirable the city is. Although it's been working hard to address its problems and rebrand itself as an up and coming community, there's still a lot of work to be done before it gets there.
New Hampshire in general has some of the highest incomes in the US, something that corresponds to an equally high standard of living. But not everyone is living in the lap of luxury. The residents of Newport are among the poorest in the state, earning a miserable $53,987 a year. And that's the ones with jobs... 4.3% of the population aren't even that privileged. From a crime perspective, it's not the worst in the state. But it's by far from the best. If you want to live somewhere stimulating, safe, and where your savings aren't going to take a beating, find somewhere else.
By some state's standards, Manchester's population of 112,109 would be distinctly average. But in small-town loving New Hampshire, it's positively huge. In fact, it's the largest city in the state. While some cities have managed to increase their populations without increasing their problems, Manchester hasn't been quite so lucky. As its population has exploded, so has its crime rate. Residents have a 1 in 25 chance of being the victim of a property crime, while its violent crime rate is one of the worst in the state. And the bad news just keeps coming. Unemployment and income levels are both way below average for the state, while high school students benefit from the least amount of funding per head in New Hampshire (although in the interests of balance, it's worth pointing out that funding is still in line with the average for the US).
Just missing out on the title of the worst place to live in New Hampshire is Berlin, a small city of 10,221 that's got about as much appeal as going ten rounds with Tyson Fury. Where to begin with everything that's going wrong here? Let's take the median home value for a start. At $92,100, it's far below both the state and US average, giving you a good idea of just how undesirable this little slice of the Granite State is. Moving on, we come to the unemployment rate. At 8%, it ranks as the highest in the state, contributing to an overall poverty rate that homesnacks.com puts at 19.8%. Even those in work aren't faring much better, with most households struggling to put bread on the table thanks to an average income of just $39,130. Unsurprisingly, people are leaving the city like rats off a sinking ship: since 2005, the population has shrunk by a dramatic 15%. If you value your happiness, don't even consider reversing the trend by moving there.
Like the idea of moving to Rochester? No, us neither. This is a city where the only people making a decent living are the criminals. Residents have a whopping 1 in 31.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime... way higher than their chance of landing a job that actually pays a decent wage. Incomes are low, house prices are low, unemployment and poverty are high, and the city is in desperate need of a big hug. Although whether you can give it one without losing your wallet in the process is a question for another day.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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