These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Hampshire For 2018


We used science and data to determine which places in the Granite State are the real pits.

Join RoadSnacks
This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2017.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.
Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

New Hampshire is one of those states that you don’t hear a lot about. Tucked away somewhere in New England, it’s the wealthy, quiet kid in the corner with the plaid shirt and who has all the good grades.

At least that’s the stereotype. That’s not such a bad way to be viewed is it?

It’s not an easy life for most of the year up there. But if you ask people who live there, they are fiercely protective of their state. They stick together up there, and would probably rather you stay out. Unless you’re on vacation.

But is it all great in the Granite State? Of course not. Just like every other state, New Hampshire has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in New Hampshire are the least desirable to live in.

Of course, many of the cities on this list would rank highly if they were in other states. But nonetheless, according to science, these cities are the worst places you could possibly live if you make New Hampshire your home.

After analyzing 13 of the state’s most populous cities (over 8,400 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in New Hampshire:

  1. Franklin (Photos)
  2. Laconia (Photos)
  3. Berlin (Photos)
  4. Rochester (Photos)
  5. Claremont (Photos)
  6. Manchester (Photos)
  7. Somersworth (Photos)
  8. Keene (Photos)
  9. Lebanon (Photos)
  10. Concord (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 8.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

How we determined the worst places to live in New Hampshire for 2018

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 8,400 people were considered — leaving 13 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 13 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in New Hampshire — Franklin. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in New Hampshire.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

1. Franklin

Franklin, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,440
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $160,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (3rd worst)
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Franklin ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 3rd cheapest in the state here at $160,100. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Franklin.

The median income levels here are the 2nd lowest in the state of New Hampshire, at $44,490. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And the unemployment rate, while far lower than the national average, is high for New Hampshire. Almost 7.1% of people in Franklin were without jobs according to the latest numbers.

Franklin is right off of I-93 north of Concord.

2. Laconia

Laconia, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 16,171
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Values: $178,100 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (2nd worst)
Little Laconia, New Hampshire could use a big hug right now. Sure, it’s a beautiful place, sandwiched between Lakes Winnisquam and Winnipesaukee. But the crime here is horrible. In fact, Laconia is the most dangerous place you can live in New Hampshire.

Chatter on forums indicate Laconia hasn’t recovered from a mini economic collapse to the area, and that Laconia is a ‘little run down’. And while crime might be centered around some of the many cultural events that happen in this vacation spot, the fact remains it’s just not safe, overall.

There were two murders here in 2015, and residents had a 1 in 24.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

Additionally, employment numbers (7.5% unemployment rate) and income levels are far below the state average ($48,893).

3. Berlin

Berlin, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,154
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Values: $88,700 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (1st worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in New Hampshire, Berlin came in 3rd. Let’s see why.

When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, New Hampshire residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in New Hampshire, you can see some really big differences. In Berlin, the number of people out of work is 9.2%

In New Hampshire, that’s the 1st highest in the state.

The residents in Berlin have the 1st lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Berlin average $38,863 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.

Additionally, the homes are valued at $88,700 on average. That’s the 1st lowest in the state. The population has dropped about 15% in the last 15 years. Perhaps these numbers are part of the reason for the Berlin flight.

As one commenter said in City-Data: “Berlin is as run down looking as it gets after a WW-2 vintage bombing attack.”

Maybe there’s a reason they opened a prison there.

Berlin is on Route 16 on the northern side of Mount Washington.

4. Rochester

Rochester, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 30,052
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Values: $161,200 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (7th worst)
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Rochester is the 3rd most dangerous city in New Hampshire, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 30.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s really high for New Hampshire, but not even the highest in the state.

Home values are the 4th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Rochester bring in just under $50,759 a year annually.

Rochester is also on Route 16 just north of Portsmouth.

5. Claremont

Claremont, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,022
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Values: $137,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (9th worst)
The main reason Claremont makes it high on this list has to do with the low household incomes and home prices. Residents earn about $47,555 a year, and homes average $137,300.

Crime is also far above the state average. And while the locals say Claremont is a ‘little gritty’, apparently Claremont is working to rebuild its image.

6. Manchester

Manchester, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 110,231
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Values: $207,200 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (5th worst)
The largest city in New Hampshire is also one of its most dangerous. No surprises there. But that still isn’t an excuse. In looking at the latest FBI data, Manchester is the third-most dangerous place in the state.

Manchester saw four murders two years ago, and you have a 1 in 25 chance of having something stolen from you here.

Additionally, the schools spend the least amount of money per student than anywhere else in the state. But the ratio per student ($12,761) is still on par with the national average. That says a lot about how great the public schools are in New Hampshire.

The unemployment rates and income levels are also far below average in comparison to the rest of the state.

7. Somersworth

Somersworth, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,756
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $176,500 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (4th worst)
According to the chatter we’ve read on forums, this ranking is valid. People complain about drug dealing, sex clubs and other nefarious behavior. Fact is, Somersworth is the second most dangerous city you can live in New Hampshire.

There’s a lot of Section 8 housing here, and apparently, you have to stay away from certain areas of downtown. There was a murder in town in 2015, and you have a 1 in 25 chance of being the victim of a robbery, most likely a car or home break in. Yikes.

The fact remains there are far better options if you want to commute into Portsmouth.

8. Keene

Keene, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 23,537
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $183,300 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (10th worst)
There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, Keene is one of the worst places you can live in New Hampshire. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.

We’re not economists, but when you have a 5.5% unemployment rate for a city of 23,537 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing.

9. Lebanon

Lebanon, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,528
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Values: $240,000 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (12th worst)
If you live in Lebanon, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 6th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of New Hampshire. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 33.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.

That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.

Plus there were 38 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 356 chance of being raped or attacked.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the 8th lowest salaries in New Hampshire At $56,448 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.

10. Concord

Concord, New Hampshire

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 42,634
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $204,600 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (11th worst)
Here in Concord, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in New Hampshire. That’s not a good combination.

Located in Merrimack County, you have a 1 in 48.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Concord city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (5.3%). That’s good for the 11th highest unemployment rate in New Hampshire.

Wrapping Up The Worst In New Hampshire

If you’re looking at areas in New Hampshire with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Franklin ranks as the worst city to live in New Hampshire for 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Hampshire:

  1. Portsmouth (Pop. 21,458)
  2. Dover (Pop. 30,750)
  3. Nashua (Pop. 87,279)

For more New Hampshire reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In New Hampshire

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Franklin 1 1 8,440 7.1% $160,100
Laconia 2 4 16,171 7.5% $178,100
Berlin 3 2 10,154 9.2% $88,700
Rochester 4 3 30,052 5.8% $161,200
Claremont 5 5 13,022 5.6% $137,300
Manchester 6 6 110,231 6.0% $207,200
Somersworth 7 7 11,756 6.7% $176,500
Keene 8 8 23,537 5.5% $183,300
Lebanon 9 9 13,528 3.4% $240,000
Concord 10 10 42,634 5.3% $204,600
Nashua 11 10 87,279 6.0% $239,100
Dover 12 12 30,750 5.7% $238,100
Portsmouth 13 13 21,458 3.3% $361,000

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Rankings, Worst 

23 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Hampshire For 2018

  1. Please do not claim you used science here. It makes you look like an idiot. If you chose metrics such as access to National Forest lands, hunting, fishing, and multi-use trail systems, Berlin probably would have been number one also.

  2. The state of NH has sure not helped Berlin by sending all the system people north from the bigger cities because the apartments and stuff are cheaper there. Then the city fathers also helped by allowing a state prison and federal prison to grace them, which opens up another poop chute for them.. There is not much of anything to do in Berlin or the surrounding places.. The tax rates are chasing a lot the big businesses out that were giving jobs to the community, and all of the negativity the business people get when they are thinking of putting a business in Berlin from the city fathers make them turn and run.. Then they are more worried about having new equipment in the city departments to work with then taking care of the streets and stuff.. I could keep going but I wont… So all in all I can see why Berlin is #1 on the list..

  3. I live in Alton, number nine on the list. Here is a 1st paragraph. Makes ZERO sense. Who wrote it?:

    Another little blip on the map, Alton, located a short drive from Wakefield in eastern New Hampshire, has far less to do, entertainment wise. In fact, the population density here is practically as low as you can get. You could always drive to Concord, as long as it isn’t snowing. Which is like six months a year.

    1. unless u can afford a boat or desire to drive somewhere or visit a nearby town, truthfully I would stay on the town west of the lake becuase there are always things to do in those towns..

    2. Also, it snows less than six months a year. There has been snow in New Hampshire from June through October, and probably September at some point too.

    1. U obvously dont walk anywhere in that town there are some shady streets in that town which even scare me and I have walked in some of the shadiest streets around the seacoast.. I say U really need to explore that whole town on foot sometime you might actually see what helps make this report..

  4. Okay people, half of you commenting clearly didn’t even read the criteria utilized to formulate this matrix. Outdoor activities were not included, pretty much assumed anywhere in NH. And I think this is a good (maybe great) wake-up call to all the complainers. QUALITY OF EDUCATION = quality of life! You don’t want a bunch of unemployed, drug-addicted teen parents hanging out on every street corner (when they aren’t robbing your house for more drug money)? You need to be willing to invest in education. It’s not rocket science! All you people who don’t want to pay the taxes needed to improve your schools (I’m looking at YOU Franklin & Laconia!)? Those dead-beat loser kids? Guess what, YOU raised them, through your schools, hope you’re proud!

  5. I would say Rochester wouldn’t be that bad if there wasn’t a heroin problem here about every other day overdoses, this town has always had its fair share of petty crime, but do have to admit it has gotten worst, The Rochester Fair is like a rundown fair now almost no vendors go there because of theft. But Rochester is trying its best in Job area’s Like a new Mall to route 11 Granite Ridge, but it takes to work 3 jobs just to try to live since most jobs there are part time they really lack in full time industrial jobs locally and unless you know someone who has one of those jobs your out of luck getting in. And to say on property wise well guessing the town dont care what landlords rental rates are because in one months time anything empty for a 2 bedroom jumped from as little as 900 a month to 1300 a month before heat and water included to nothing included..

  6. I have been a resident of Somersworth, NH for nearly three years now. I *chose* to live here, for 1,000 reasons that do not fit these narrow-minded metrics. However, I will not take issue with that. What I will dissect is the text written here about my chosen home.

    “According to the chatter we’ve read on forums, this ranking is valid. People complain about drug dealing, sex clubs and other nefarious behavior. Fact is, Somersworth is the second most dangerous city you can live in New Hampshire.”

    -“Chatter we’ve read on forums.” Is this the scientific research that you speak of? Nice.

    “There’s a lot of Section 8 housing here, and apparently, you have to stay away from certain areas of downtown.There was a murder in town in 2013, and you have a 1 in 25 chance of being the victim of a robbery, most likely a car or home break in. Yikes.”

    -I love the scientific correlation between Section 8 and rampant crime. Gosh, those Section 8 tenants should just be dropped off into the ocean and the world would be a better place. Oh shoot – that’s in Portsmouth. God forbid someone who was down on their luck wander a toe over into the precious mecca of everything awesome and beautiful.

    “The fact remains there are far better options if you want to commute into Portsmouth.”

    – Speak of the devil! Well, you know life would have many far better options if the entire populous of Somersworth received a 500% pay grade increase. Perhaps instead of fleeing the treacherous wastelands described here, those shiny new tax dollars could go into making Somersworth shiny and beautiful.

    1. I feel sorry that section 8 folks are so badly maligned by everyone around the country. Many people using this subsidy are good, honest people. Many are disabled or otherwise down on their luck – elderly. Certainly, there are those who are characterized rightly, however, to continually denigrate people who receive rental subsidies is morally wrong. Furthermore, Donald Trump owns a section 8 housing complex. How do you like that? Inherited by his father who made money off people on subsidies.

      Furthermore, the section 8 program is a RENTAL SUBSIDY TO HOUSING OWNERS. THESE PEOPLE MAKE MONEY – SO PLEASE STOP MALIGNING RENTERS WITH THIS SUBSIDY.

      THIS PROGRAM ROBS PEOPLE OF THEIR DIGNITY AND SELF RESPECT. DID YOU KNOW THAT? IT IS ONE OF THE WORST PROGRAMS THAT WASTES TAXPAYER FUNDS, IN THAT IT ROBS PEOPLE WHO USE IT OF THEIR DIGNITY AND SELF RESPECT. IT IS ALSO EXTREMELY PUNITIVE. PEOPLE PAY UPTO 40% OF THEIR INCOME TO LIVE IN DECENT APARTMENTS. SOME PAY EVEN MORE. IN MA, A FAMILY OF TWO CAN EARN UPTO 42,000 OR SO ANNUALLY AND STILL QUALIFY FOR SECTION 8. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IT MEANS THAT THE GREED OF PEOPLE WHO OWN REAL ESTATE IS PREDATORY. RENTS ARE TOO HIGH. THERE IS NO STABILITY. PEOPLE CAN BE MADE HOMELESS; AND THEY ARE, BECAUSE OF THE EVIL, SHAMEFUL PREDATORY CAPITALISTIC SYSTEM THAT IGNORANT AMERICANS SUPPORT. TOTALLY STUPID. TAKE A LOOK AT THE WAGES THAT PEOPLE MAKE – UNLESS YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO LAND THAT COVETED JOB, YOU ARE ONLY A PAYCHECK AWAY FROM SECTION 8. SEE THE “AFFORDABLE HOUSING” WAIT LISTS AND YOU WILL MAKE YOURSELF VOMIT. GOOD PEOPLE, ELDERLY, DISABLED, THOSE WHO HAVE PAID INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, WHO HAVE SUPPORTED OTHERS IN THEIR WORKING YEARS AND WHO HAPPEN TO NOW NEED A SUBSIDY ARE PUT ON A WAIT LIST THAT SPANS MORE THAN 5 YEARS.

      WAKE UP AMERICA. STOP BLAMING INNOCENT PEOPLE. BLAME YOUR UGLY PREDATORY SYSTEM.

      LOOK AT OTHER COUNTRIES THAT ACTUALLY VALUE THEIR CITIZENS –

      In ending, I think the section 8 is a bad program. It gives people false hope. 2/3 of the people receiving this subsidy can’t use it because landlords won’t rent to them. It helps slum lords by subsidizing them, slum lords like people on high. EVERYONE ELSE WINS, BUT THE TENANT WHO IS USED AS A SCAPE GOAT AND ONLY SOMEONE TO BE EXPLOITED BY ALL DID YOU HEAR ME? ALL THE PEOPLE IN HUD, FROM THOSE WHO WORK THERE TO THE SLUM LORDS ARE MAKING MONEY OFF YOUR TAX PAYER DOLLAR – BUT YOU THE TAXPAYER, ONLY A PAY CHECK AWAY FROM HOMELESSNESS, CONTINUES TO MALIGN AND DENIGRATE YOUR FELLOWS – WHO ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN YOU ARE.

      WAKE UP AMERICA. SEE THE GAME. SEE THE EXPLOITATION.

  7. I have grown up in N.H. . Lived here almost my whole life except for a 12 year stint where my family and I lived near Atlanta. These rankings have to be meant as a joke. As it states these towns are not being compared to the other States in the U.S. But but to other towns in N.H. . When I moved back home I was ins shock of the amount of people from Massachusetts that had taken over our state. That is the issue. The transplants. In little bitty Rochester alone you would be hard pressed to find one of those down town druggies even from here. It is such a shame we allowed all our once public swimming areas have been bought up by Massholes and have become “Private Property” . We have lost our integrity and given way to the sway of the all mighty dollar. Our police departments were not prepared to handle big city issues crammed into our once small town values.

  8. It’s not an accident that the City of Berlin Cale in 1st as least desirable!
    The ruination of our City came when the decision was made to not extend I-93 to Berlin. For those old enough to remember the issue was that no blasting could be done in Franconia Notch for fear of bringing down the Old Man of the Mountain.
    Immediately after it came down by natural forces (gravity), I talked to politicians, wrote letters to the editor of our local newspaper asking that I-93 be extended 1 mile North per year. All I/we asked for was to be on the States 10 year plan and because Berlin and Coos County lack population which equals State Representatives we were thoroughly ignored!

    Couple the lack of access to the Interstate with local politicians who are more interested in rubbing elbows every four years with the Democratic Washington elite than fixing our City you now have a place that is reaping what it sowed….no thanks to current four term Mayor Paul Grenier!

  9. ok, we get it , less people means no jobs no taxes, poverty zone, how about write your governor and do something about it,, we have crime watch meetings monthly, and crime is way down in nashua, if u see a crime report it,,,,,talk to your neighbors, have cookouts and bingo together,, we keep drugs out of our neighborhood,,,,,,

  10. ok I agree I live in berlin and I’ve lived here since the day I was born there is murder, drugs, weed, overdose, teen pregnant, and I’m 13 I know someone’s gonna say “your to young to understand” but because I live here and have self raised myself with a druggie mom and no dad on the planet I can say I know enough and probably more than you I personally cant find a full neighbor hood where there’s not either a pedo, pregnant teen, druggie, stoner rapist yeah so just saying berlin deserves the worst oh and that not even getting into all my friends there is not one “perfect” family in berlin and by that I mean just a healthy family not to long ago my friends aunt was hit by a car and another guy was found dead in a dug out and another friend lost her 15 year old brother to an overdose and half the kids don’t know there dad and have depression. so instead of continuing this for another hour I’m just gonna go and to all the complainers its a list by facts that he found on the internet your on the internet and you don’t have to believe in everything on the internet so calm yourselves and if you looked this up and r hating on it why did you look it up the researcher probably put more time in this then you have in your manners so once again signing off ~Ashlin morgan-vi (p.s. no joke my middle name is after captain morgan once again I live in berlin please kill me thx) XD

    1. Ashlin Morgan is a beautiful name, no matter where it came from. Life sounds really tough for you, I’m very sorry for that. You deserve a healthy family and to know your father and to have a father that loves you. It is not your fault that it isn’t what happened. You don’t have to be defined by other people around you or by the economic challenges that came to your town when the mill closed.Take each negative story of people you know and keep it as a cautionary tale for your own life. Read about great people and learn form them, wherever there is a library, you can do this. Keep writing, you have stories. Stay away from drugs, don’t do heroin even one time! Ever! Too much thrown away with that stuff.

    2. Its all cause and effect. There is little free will, even though all the religions want us to believe this. Because the family one is born into, the environment, the neighborhoods, peers are things that effect and influence our lives. Druggie moms, bad neighborhoods —why did that happen? Because of money and someone did someone in, including those created by real estate rental owners, corporations and more. Low wages. Exploitation. Don’t blame the druggie moms, blame the causes that led them to this type of behaviors. Ask druggie moms, what happened to make them give up? Or who made the bad life happen for them?

  11. The only metric you use to call Keene “possible one of the worst places to live in, period” is that the unemployment rate is 5.5% when you didn’t take into account that a quarter of the population of Keene are college students studing at Keene state.

    Also by your own list Keene is only to towns away in ranking from Nashua which you call one of the best cities to live in. Not sure how that works.

    This is the problem when you cherry pick one or two metrics but have no actual knowledge about the communities you are degrading. Get woke.

  12. Probably someone from new York wrote this. Spending money on schools and houses is a cost, not a benefit. New Hampshire performs excellent on value of housing per dollar, and value of education per dollar. Unemployment is meaningless because with 70 percent of homes in the lake region being second homes, the economics are totally different.
    And being better than the national average at a low cost is excellent for these metrics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *