If you value safety and happen to live in New England, you’re in luck. New England states boast some of the safest towns and cities in the U.S. And even if city living isn't your style, rural and suburban areas in New England rarely struggle with the same issues faced by rural and suburban areas in other parts of the country.
According to the 2023 State of Safety survey by Safewise, three New England states rank among the top 10 for residents who report feeling safe in their communities on a day-to-day basis. 71% of Vermont residents, 70% of New Hampshire residents, and 65% of Maine residents put their states in the survey's top ten by feeling safe all day, every day.
When it comes to actual safety from violent crime, the 2023 State of Safety survey finds New Hampshire to be the safest state in the U.S., with less than 1% of contacted residents reporting personal experience with violent crime over the past year. Connecticut is number 4, with only 4% reporting personal experience with violent crime.
While it's tough to select the absolute best place to live in each New England state, we've selected the best city or town to live in each New England state based on factors like quality public schools, reasonable costs of living, and low crime rates.
Whether you're a young professional, a growing family, or a retiree looking for a peaceful community, Bristol is the best place to live in Connecticut.
With a population of just over 60,000, Bristol offers a small-town feel with all the amenities of a larger city. Residents enjoy easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing, as well as a thriving arts scene. In Bristol, there is no shortage of cultural and recreational activities. The city is home to the American Clock & Watch Museum, Muzzy Field, and Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operated theme park in the United States.
Bristol also has a robust economy. It's home to the corporate headquarters of both ESPN and the international Barnes Group. And its central location and suburban-style housing make it an attractive place to live for commuters who work in nearby business hubs, such as Hartford, Stamford, and New Haven.
Bristol is a vibrant and safe city that offers residents an excellent quality of life, a low crime rate, a reasonable cost of living, and a multitude of economic and recreational opportunities.
1 in-970 chance of experiencing violent crime and a 1 in-62 chance of experiencing property crime over the course of a year. (Source)
With a student-teacher ratio of 14-to-1, Bristol School District is above average nationwide, and their school system has an overall Niche Grade of B+. (Source)
About ten percent below the cost of living in CT and close to the national average. Housing is particularly inexpensive in Bristol compared to Connecticut and even the U.S. as a whole. (Source)
East Greenwich is a charming town located on the coast of Rhode Island. It's well known for its historic homes, quaint downtown, and beautiful waterfront.
The town offers a high quality of life with excellent schools, a low crime rate, and easy access to beaches and other outdoor activities.
While the cost of living in East Greenwich is higher than the Rhode Island state average, it's relatively affordable compared to other coastal towns in New England.
1 in-1,300 chance of experiencing violent crime and a 1 in-113 chance of experiencing property crime over the course of a year. (Source)
Niche.com scored East Greenwich Publics Schools as A+. In fact, East Greenwich Public Schools were among Niche's Best Schools of 2023 in the entire country. And in Rhode Island, they have ranked the district with the best teachers in the state.
Expenses in East Greenwich are higher than the national average but no higher than Rhode Island statewide. As a coastal town and the best place to live in the entire state, we'd say it's a bargain. (Source)
Northampton is the best place to live in Massachusetts. It's in the western part of the state, in the Pioneer Valley region along the Connecticut River.
The city is known for its numerous art galleries, music venues, theaters, and several cultural events and festivals held throughout the year. This creates a lively and supportive community for artists, musicians, and other creatives. What's more, Northampton is the home of Smith College, which gives it a young and vibrant community culture where education is valued.
Northampton also has a thriving local economy, with many independent shops, restaurants, and businesses. It's a great place for entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for a supportive and dynamic community.
1 in-252 chance of experiencing violent crime and a 1 in-53 chance of experiencing property crime over the course of a year. (Source)
The Northampton public school system received an A rating from Niche. Their schools stand out, especially for preparing students for college.
Despite all that it has to offer, Northampton is one of Massachusetts's most inexpensive cities—especially compared to coastal towns and Boston's suburbs. (Source)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, not only made Livability's 2022 list of the best places to live in the U.S., but it's also pretty top-notch as far as we're concerned. In fact, it's our choice of the best place to live in New Hampshire!
Known for its maritime heritage and well-preserved historic buildings and landmarks, Portsmouth provides a picturesque setting for residents to call home. It's the third-oldest city in the U.S., and its downtown area is lined with charming old brick buildings, cobblestone streets, and several historic landmarks.
In addition to its historical attractions, Portsmouth's downtown area is famous for its arts scene. Several theaters, galleries, and music venues call the city home, including The Music Hall, a historic theater that hosts a variety of performances and events throughout the year.
The city's waterfront area, located just a few blocks from downtown, is a bustling hub of activity. Portsmouth Harbor is home to several marinas and offers boaters easy access to the Atlantic Ocean.
1-in-612 chance of experiencing violent crime and a 1-in-65 chance of experiencing property crime over the course of a year. (Source)
Portsmouth School District earned an A grade from Niche, probably because 69% of students are at least proficient in math, and 75% are at least proficient in reading.
Portsmouth is the most expensive place to live in New Hampshire. But it's still #1 on our list because that's how great it is. (Source)
Burlington is a vibrant college town situated on the shores of Lake Champlain. It offers a high quality of life with an abundance of outdoor activities, such as skiing, hiking, and biking.
While the cost of living in Burlington is higher than the state average, it's affordable when compared to other cities in the region.
1-in-367 chance of experiencing violent crime and a 1-in-50 chance of experiencing property crime over the course of a year. (Source)
Burlington Public Schools have an overall Niche grade of B-, a score brought down by low-quality administration. On the bright side, they receive A- grades for their cafeteria food.
So the cost of living in Burlington is 25% above the national average. But a low unemployment rate and a median hourly salary of $30 make up for it. (Source)
Located on the coast of Maine, Portland is a picturesque city with a thriving arts scene, excellent restaurants, and a historic Old Port district. The city also offers easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and sailing.
The city of Portland, in particular, stands out for its thriving restaurant and bar culture, with many local establishments serving fresh seafood, craft beer, and artisanal cuisine. This has earned Portland a reputation as a foodie destination.
The city is also home to several museums, galleries, and performing arts venues, including the Portland Museum of Art and the Merrill Auditorium. This makes it a great place for artists, musicians, and creatives looking for a supportive and inspiring community.
For those seeking financially rewarding employment rather than appreciation of their creativity, Portland is also home to several well-paying employers, including healthcare providers, financial services firms, and tech companies.
Despite its popularity as a tourist destination and the amenities and opportunities available to residents, Portland has managed to maintain a relatively low cost of living compared to other East Coast cities.
1 in-348 chance of experiencing violent crime and a 1 in-41 chance of experiencing property crime over the course of a year. (Source)
Portland Public Schools receive a B+ rating overall, a score brought down by their cafeteria food, which gets a C- from Niche.
The cost of living in Portland is about 10% above the U.S. average, but that's OK with us because of the picturesque lifestyle it provides to its residents. (Source)
New England offers a variety of options for those seeking a high quality of life, low crime rates, excellent schools, and affordable costs of living. Whether you prefer the seaside charm of our best places to live in Maine and Rhode Island, the vibrant college settings of our towns in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, or the suburban convenience of our best place to live in Connecticut, every town and city on this list offers a high quality of life, great schools, safety, and a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions.