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:
- Franklin (Photos)
- Laconia (Photos)
- Berlin (Photos)
- Rochester (Photos)
- Claremont (Photos)
- Manchester (Photos)
- Somersworth (Photos)
- Keene (Photos)
- Lebanon (Photos)
- 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.
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
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.
Population: 8,440Rank 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.
Population: 16,171Rank 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).
Population: 10,154Rank 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.
Population: 30,052Rank 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.
Population: 13,022Rank 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.
Population: 110,231Rank 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.
Population: 11,756Rank 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.
Population: 23,537Rank 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.
Population: 13,528Rank 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.
Population: 42,634Rank 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:
- Portsmouth (Pop. 21,458)
- Dover (Pop. 30,750)
- Nashua (Pop. 87,279)
For more New Hampshire reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Hampshire – RoadSnacks
- These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In New Hampshire – RoadSnacks
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Hampshire – RoadSnacks
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In New Hampshire