Connecticut is a small state, but it's packed with charm and character. From historic small towns to bustling urban areas, Connecticut offers something for everyone.
In this blog post, we will explore five of the best places to live in Connecticut: West Hartford, Vernon, Bristol, New Britain, and Torrington. We'll delve into what makes each town special, discuss the types of residents each town attracts, and share some hard data.
West Hartford, a thriving suburban town just a few miles from the capital city of Hartford, is known for its excellent schools, safe neighborhoods, and vibrant downtown area. With its numerous parks, well-maintained public spaces, and a wide variety of restaurants and shopping centers, such as West Hartford Center, it offers something for everyone.
The town's top-rated schools make it an attractive destination for families seeking high-quality education for their children. Additionally, West Hartford's reputation for safety and a strong sense of community make it an ideal place for retirees and young professionals seeking a peaceful environment with easy access to urban amenities.
West Hartford's crime rate is significantly lower than the national average. According to the latest data available from the FBI, a person in West Hartford has a 1 in 1,400 chance of being a victim of violent crime.
Niche.com gives the West Hartford School District the highest grade of all the cities on our list. The district earned an A+ from niche, in large part for the quality of its teachers and the effectiveness of its college preparation.
West Hartford isn't particularly affordable. In fact, the cost of living in West Hartford is 7% more expensive than the rest of the state. But we've put it at the top of our list because it's a great bargain for what you get.
Vernon offers a quaint, small-town atmosphere with easy access to both Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts.
Home to several parks, hiking trails, and lakes, Vernon is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Families and nature lovers alike appreciate the town's excellent school system, safe neighborhoods, and abundant recreational opportunities.
Additionally, Vernon's lower property taxes and cost of living compared to some neighboring towns make it an attractive option for those seeking a more affordable lifestyle without sacrificing quality of life.
Vernon is very safe, with a low crime rate and a strong police presence. Based on the latest data available from the FBI, people in Vernon have a 1 in 1,395 chance of being a victim of violent crime in a given year.
The Vernon School District receives a Niche grade of B-. About 54% of Vernon students are proficient in reading, and 45% are proficient in math.
The cost of living in Vernon is 9% below the state average.
Bristol is a bustling city located in Hartford County, known for its beautiful parks and a strong sense of community. The town is home to ESPN, the New England Carousel Museum, and Lake Compounce, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country.
The city's affordability, combined with its close proximity to Hartford and New Haven, makes it an attractive option for young professionals and those seeking a balance between urban and suburban living.
Bristol's crime rate is lower than the national average. Based on the latest data available from the FBI, individuals in Bristol, CT, have a 1 in 970 chance of being a victim of violent crime in a given year.
The Bristol School District boasts an above-average student-teacher ratio of 14-to-1 when compared to the national average and receives an overall Niche Grade of B+ for their school system.
Bristol's cost of living is approximately ten percent below that of Connecticut's, and it's even below the national average. Notably, housing costs in Bristol are considerably more affordable than housing in the United States as a whole.
New Britain, located southwest of Hartford, is an affordable, diverse, and culturally rich city that has seen significant revitalization in recent years.
Known as "Hardware City" for its long history of manufacturing, New Britain now boasts a thriving arts scene, with the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Hole in the Wall Theater as standout attractions.
New Britain's relatively low cost of living and numerous employment opportunities make it a great option for young professionals and those looking to stretch their dollars.
New Britain's crime rate is higher than the national average, but it's safer than most cities of its density. What's more, ongoing revitalization efforts are aimed at improving safety.
The New Britain School District receives an overall niche grade of C-. And the Consolidated School District of New Britain has a GreatSchools score of 4 out of 10. New Britain is therefore only recommended for individuals and families without k-12 kids.
The cost of living in New Britain is 14% below the average in Connecticut and is even lower than the national average.
Torrington, situated in the picturesque Litchfield Hills, is a charming town with a vibrant arts scene and a strong sense of community.
Known for its historic downtown area, Torrington is home to the Warner Theatre, a beautifully restored art deco venue that hosts a variety of performances and events.
The town's affordable housing, strong school system, and low crime rate make it an appealing destination for families and retirees alike. The scenic Litchfield Hills also provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, making it a great fit for nature lovers and those seeking a quieter lifestyle.
Torrington's crime rate is lower than the national average. Based on data available from the FBI, people in Torrington have a 1 in 745 chance of being a victim of violent crime in a given year.
According to Niche, the average graduation rate at Torrington School District is 82%, and the Torrington School District earns a rating of C. Torrington Public Schools has a GreatSchools score of 5 out of 10.
Torrington is the town on our list with the lowest cost of living. It's 19% cheaper to live in Torrington than the rest of Connecticut and 7% cheaper than the national average. BestPlaces says Torrington has a cost of living index of 92.5, making it nearly 10% less expensive than the national average.
Fairfield is known for its strong sense of community, excellent schools, and high quality of life. The county is home to many quaint small towns, beautiful parks, and a variety of recreational activities, making it an appealing choice for families and retirees.
The crime rate in Fairfield County is lower than the national average. Data from the FBI shows that the likelihood of being a victim of violent crime in Fairfield County is 1 in 1,218.
The Fairfield County School District has a highly-rated school system, earning a Niche grade of A. The district is praised for its college preparatory programs and the quality of teachers.
The cost of living in Fairfield County is higher than the state average, mainly due to the high cost of housing. However, the high quality of life and excellent public services justify the cost for many residents.
New Haven County, home to Yale University and the city of New Haven, is known for its intellectual vigor, historical charm, and culinary variety. The county offers a mix of urban and suburban lifestyles, attracting students, professionals, and families.
New Haven County's crime rate is higher than the state average. However, the county has numerous safe neighborhoods, and authorities are continually implementing initiatives to improve safety.
The New Haven County School District has an overall Niche grade of B-. The district has been recognized for its focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
The cost of living in New Haven County is slightly below the state average, making it an affordable option for many residents, particularly students and young professionals.
Farmington River, running through a beautiful valley, is home to a number of small, charming towns. With numerous recreational opportunities such as fishing, kayaking, and hiking, it is an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Generally, the towns along the Farmington River have lower crime rates compared to the national average.
The quality of school systems also varies by town. However, many schools in the Farmington River area have a good reputation for academic performance.
The cost of living in towns along the Farmington River is typically slightly below the state average.
Old Greenwich, located in Fairfield County, is known for its picturesque views, top-rated schools, and vibrant community life. It offers a suburban feel while being just an hour away from New York City.
Old Greenwich is considered very safe, with a crime rate significantly lower than the national average. According to the FBI, a person in Old Greenwich has a 1 in 1,850 chance of being a victim of violent crime.
Old Greenwich School District is highly rated, earning an A+ grade from Niche. The district's schools are consistently ranked among the best in the state.
The cost of living in Old Greenwich is higher than the state and national average. However, the high cost is justified by the town's quality of life, top-rated schools, and proximity to New York City.
Each of these five towns in Connecticut offers unique advantages and characteristics that cater to various lifestyles and preferences. We've considered populations, crime rates, public school systems, and costs of living to help you make an informed decision about which town best suits your needs and desires.