The 10 Best Places To Live In New Hampshire For 2024

The best places to live in New Hampshire for 2024 are Durham, Hanover, and Portsmouth. Find out where your city or town ranks.

If you want four seasons, down-to-earth, friendly people, and no state or personal tax, you can find it in the best places to live in New Hampshire.

The places on our list have some of the best farmers’ markets, farm-to-table dining, and an all-around healthier outlook. It must work because New Hampshirites have one of the highest life expectancy rates.

To find the best places to live in New Hampshire, we used Saturday Night Science to compare data from the Census, FBI, and Zillow. New Hampshire’s best places all exude gold star qualities like high home prices, jobs that provide a nice income, low crime, and excellent schools.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In New Hampshire For 2024

  1. Durham
  2. Hanover
  3. Portsmouth
  4. Exeter
  5. Newmarket
  6. Dover
  7. Hampton
  8. Lebanon
  9. Londonderry
  10. Nashua

What’s the best place to live in New Hampshire? The best place in New Hampshire is Durham.

To see what other places made our list, keep reading. And if you are still looking for your favorite, head to the bottom for a complete list of the best places in New Hampshire.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In New Hampshire For 2024

Best Places To Live In New Hampshire Map

Durham, NH

Source: Wikipedia User Olivier Aumage | CC BY-SA 2.0 fr
Stat Durham New Hampshire
Population 10,789 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $616,892 $448,250
Median Income $93,542 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 3.9% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0054 0.0123

More on Durham: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Home to the University of New Hampshire, Durham is a historic university town situated beside Great Bay near the Maine border. From Durham, a short drive is all it takes to find yourself hiking a mountain, strolling beside a lake or river, or spending the day at the beach. Or taking advantage of the many attendant amenities that come with having the largest state university in your backyard. No wonder we named Durham the best city for families in New Hampshire.

Nearly 80% of residents have a college degree, and a whopping 45% have a master’s, PhD, or professional degree, so start studying up for pub quiz night in Durham. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the youngest community on this list, with a median age of 20. These young whippersnappers know how to keep things civil, though, seeing as Durham’s crime rate is 85% below the national average and ranks as the lowest statewide. A typical Durham home sells for around $616,892, the 3rd priciest in the state, but the median rent here is $1,216/month, which is well below the average rent in New Hampshire.

Hanover, NH

Source: Public domain
Stat Hanover New Hampshire
Population 8,234 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $908,412 $448,250
Median Income $111,958 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 4.5% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0086 0.0123

More on Hanover: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We begin our exploration of the best places in New Hampshire with Hanover, the home of Dartmouth. A young, progressive college town jam-packed with culture, life in Hanover is a dream come true for those who enjoy the intellectual side of things. Having the Appalachian Trail run through your town and the Connecticut River run beside it means there’s plenty to love for outdoorsy folks as well.

It goes without saying that this Ivy League enclave is super-smart; over 70% of residents have a bachelor’s degree, and 40% have a master’s degree or higher. Hanover also enjoys the 3rd lowest crime rate in New Hampshire. Even if you do get banged up here, 99.0% of residents have health insurance, the highest rate statewide. And the drive to and from work shouldn’t be too stressful in Hanover, because the city has the 1st shortest average commute time in New Hampshire at 15 minutes. Just know that housing in Hanover is 80% higher than the statewide average, with homes selling for around $908,412 and rent going for $2,021/month. That’s alright, though, because Hanover also has the 3rd best-paid population in the state, with a typical household bringing in $111,958/year.

Portsmouth, NH

Source: Public domain
Stat Portsmouth New Hampshire
Population 22,138 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $672,711 $448,250
Median Income $100,169 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 2.5% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0145 0.0123

More on Portsmouth: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located on the south bank of the Piscataqua River on the border of Maine, Portsmouth is a historic seaport and tourist destination with a population of 22,138. You’d find it hard to be bored in Portsmouth, from exploring the the Market Square’s shops and surrounding restaurants, to visiting cultural hotspots like the Strawberry Banke Museum, catching a performance at the local theatre or music hall, or simply taking in the natural beauty at Prescott Park.

Public schools in Portsmouth consistently outperform the statewide average in test scores and graduation rates by a wide margin, so you know your kiddos are getting off to a great start here. Poverty and unemployment both rank in the top ten statewide, at 6.0% and 2.5% respectively. The only rub is that Portsmouth is one of New Hampshire’s most expensive cities, with a cost of living roughly 30% higher than the national average. Homes here are the 2nd priciest in the state at $672,711/year, but median household income also ranks as the 4th highest in New Hampshire at $100,169/year, so it all evens out.

Exeter, NH

Source: Wikipedia User John Phelan | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Exeter New Hampshire
Population 9,918 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $530,210 $448,250
Median Income $79,813 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 2.7% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0108 0.0123

More on Exeter: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Exeter is a town of 9,918 located in the Seacoast Region of southeastern New Hampshire, smack dab in the middle of Boston and Portland. Tree-line streets, quaint boutique shops, historic homes, and museums work together to make Exeter a quintessential New England town. It’s a short drive to Hampton’s beaches, Portsmouth’s fine restaurants, and Kittery’s outlet shopping, but you don’t need to leave town for natural beauty. You can get your fill of that at Swasey Parkway. It’s no wonder we featured Exeter on our list of the best places to retire in New Hampshire.

Exeter is one of the least expensive places we’ll be covering here, with a cost of living basically in line with the New Hampshire average. Homes here have a median price tag of $530,210 and you won’t find cheaper homes any place on this list. The poverty rate crime rate in Exeter both rank as the 6th lowest in the state as well, so hardships are few and far between in Exeter.

Newmarket, NH

Source: Wikipedia User User:Magicpiano | GFDL
Stat Newmarket New Hampshire
Population 5,829 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $475,693 $448,250
Median Income $88,295 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 1.0% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0094 0.0123

More on Newmarket: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Situated between Manchester and Portsmouth, Newmarket comes in as New Hampshire’s 5th finest place to call home. Whether you’re a night owl who wants to sip local craft brews at Deciduous Brewing Company, an early worm who wants to enjoy “Newmarket’s living room,” Crackskull’s Coffee & Books, or somewhere in between, Newmarket has you covered.

Newmarket has the 4th lowest overall crime rate in New Hampshire, about 75% below the national average. Which makes sense when you also have the 2nd lowest unemployment rate statewide — folks with steady incomes typically steer clear of criminal activities.

Speaking of income, Newmarket residents enjoy a median household income of $88,295. Homes in Newmarket have a median value of $475,693, the 7th priciest in the New Hampshire.

Besides good schools, safe streets, and a low poverty rate, Newmarket is just plain energetic. The median age is a young 34, 54% of adults are highly educated, and it’s the 4th most densely-populated spot in New Hampshire. Fun stuff happens in Newmarket because all the conditions are perfect for it.

Dover, NH

Source: Wikipedia User AlexiusHoratius | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Dover New Hampshire
Population 32,849 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $466,477 $448,250
Median Income $90,844 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 3.7% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0107 0.0123

More on Dover: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

The last stop on our tour of New Hampshire’s best places is Dover, the largest city in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region. Dover’s tree-lined downtown is jam-packed with an eclectic array of shops, studios, galleries, and restaurants, so you’ll never run out of new things to try. It’s part of the reason we named Dover among the best cities for singles in New Hampshire. For those who already have a family, it’s pretty great having the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in town. Older folks might prefer the Woodman Institute Museum, named the best small museum in New England by Yankee Magazine, where you’ll find a nice mix of natural science, art, and history.

All these great features have increased demand to live in Dover, which is why it’s grown so quickly in the past decade. Dover has the 5th lowest crime rate in the state, so you won’t have to worry much about all these new neighbors. Homes in Dover are the 9th most expensive in the state at $466,477 and rent goes for around $1,436/month.

Hampton, NH

Source: Wikipedia User John Phelan | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Hampton New Hampshire
Population 10,050 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 7
Median Home Value $560,109 $448,250
Median Income $92,907 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 2.2% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0140 0.0123

More on Hampton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located just south of Portsmouth, Hampton is another of New Hampshire’s coastal destinations. A charming seaside resort, Hampton offers a relaxed small-town vibe without skimping on the entertainment. Folks come from near and far to visit Hampton Beach, so being a local who can drop in anytime is pretty special. Hampton is also home to one of New England’s oldest craft breweries, Smuttynose, which also serves some top-notch pub grub.

Just come ready to wine and dine with the state’s elite, because Hampton is among the richest places in New Hampshire. The median household income in Hampton is $92,907/year, the 6th highest statewide. Homes have the 4th steepest price tag in New Hampshire at $560,109 and rent goes for around $1,594/month. But it’s not like the 1% are laughing it up while their neighbors struggle to get by; Hampton has the 4th lowest poverty rate in New Hampshire at 3.8% and unemployment is safely sub-2%.

Lebanon, NH

Source: Wikipedia User Jon Platek | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Lebanon New Hampshire
Population 14,515 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 9
Median Home Value $398,820 $448,250
Median Income $90,911 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 0.7% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0204 0.0123

More on Lebanon: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Situated 15 minutes south of Hanover on the Connecticut River, Lebanon is the 8th best place to live in New Hampshire for 2024. It’s a thriving community that has both the quiet serenity of rural life and the cultural experience of a big city. Cyclists will love having easy access to the 48-mile Northern Rail Trail that meanders through small towns, lakes, and farmlands. Music lovers will appreciate the regular performances at the Lebanon Opera House. And everyone will enjoy the farmer’s markets, local shops, and charming atmosphere of Lebanon’s thriving downtown.

The unemployment rate in Lebanon is a measly 0.7%, which ranks as the lowest in New Hampshire. If you’re part of the mega-majority of employed residents, you’ll enjoy the nice bonus of having the 4th shortest average commute time in the state at 16 minutes. The median household income in Lebanon is $90,911/year, which represents a more than 10% growth since last year.

Londonderry, NH

Source: Wikipedia User John Phelan | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Londonderry New Hampshire
Population 12,143 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $527,708 $448,250
Median Income $113,557 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 4.7% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0176 0.0123

More on Londonderry: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located 20 minutes south of Manchester, Londonderry ranks as the 9th best place to call home in the Granite State. The headquarters of Stonyfield Farm is located in Londonderry, so the freshest organic food won’t have far to travel to arrive in your home. The town has a strong farming heritage that’s on display at several orchards where you can pick your own produce and enjoy goodies from the farm stands.

The poverty rate in Londonderry ranks as the lowest statewide at 2.0% and unemployment sits at a very low 4.7%. Londonderry also has the 6th highest rate of residents with health insurance in New Hampshire at 94.7%. Homes are the 6th priciest in the state at $527,708 and rentals go for around $1,801/month. Luckily, residents also enjoy the highest median household income in New Hampshire at $113,557/year. If the political affiliation of your community is an important factor for you, know that Londonderry also ranks among New Hampshire’s most conservative cities.

Nashua, NH

Source: Wikipedia User Jon Platek | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Nashua New Hampshire
Population 90,943 1,379,610
Rank Last Year 10
Median Home Value $437,854 $448,250
Median Income $88,766 $90,845
Unemployment Rate 5.1% 3.6%
Crime Per Capita 0.0123 0.0123

More on Nashua: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Nashua, located in southern New Hampshire, is the 10th best place to live in New Hampshire. With a population of 90,943, Nashua has a growing and vibrant community.

Nashua offers a low cost of living compared to other cities in the state, with a median home price of $437,854. Additionally, the city boasts Grade A rankings in categories such as median income, commute time, and adult education.

Nashua benefits from its proximity to neighboring communities – just a short drive from Manchester. Whether exploring the picturesque Mine Falls Park or enjoying downtown, Nashua always has something to do.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in New Hampshire

Best Places To Live In New Hampshire Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in New Hampshire, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Concord, with a population of 44,049, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 5,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This filter left 26 cities, 38 towns, and 26 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in New Hampshire have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In New Hampshire

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

We ranked each place in New Hampshire across a number of criteria from one to 26, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In New Hampshire.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking New Hampshire’s best places to live.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in New Hampshire. Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Durham at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Summary: The Best Places In New Hampshire

If you’re looking at areas in New Hampshire with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

The best places to live in New Hampshire are Durham, Hanover, Portsmouth, Exeter, Newmarket, Dover, Hampton, Lebanon, Londonderry, and Nashua.

Durham made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in New Hampshire for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in New Hampshire according to the data:

  1. Claremont (Pop. 13,018)
  2. Newport (Pop. 5,228)
  3. Berlin (Pop. 9,485)

For more New Hampshire reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In New Hampshire Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Durham 10,789 3.9% $616,892 $93,542 $1,216 0.0054
2 Hanover 8,234 4.5% $908,412 $111,958 $2,021 0.0086
3 Portsmouth 22,138 2.5% $672,711 $100,169 $1,660 0.0145
4 Exeter 9,918 2.7% $530,210 $79,813 $1,441 0.0108
5 Newmarket 5,829 1.0% $475,693 $88,295 $1,632 0.0094
6 Dover 32,849 3.7% $466,477 $90,844 $1,436 0.0107
7 Hampton 10,050 2.2% $560,109 $92,907 $1,594 0.0140
8 Lebanon 14,515 0.7% $398,820 $90,911 $1,603 0.0204
9 Londonderry 12,143 4.7% $527,708 $113,557 $1,801 0.0176
10 Nashua 90,943 5.1% $437,854 $88,766 $1,597 0.0123
11 Somersworth 11,994 2.8% $380,908 $75,841 $1,330 0.0213
12 Hudson 7,003 2.0% $470,939 $80,901 $1,329 0.0313
13 Milford 8,530 4.9% $439,699 $71,065 $1,292 0.0075
14 Hooksett 5,268 4.3% $459,819 $83,456 $1,668 0.0304
15 Keene 22,907 2.6% $303,115 $69,381 $1,153 0.0235
16 South Hooksett 5,808 3.9% $459,287 $113,024 $1,038 0.0494
17 Concord 44,049 5.3% $379,611 $77,874 $1,277 0.0150
18 Franklin 8,746 3.4% $319,833 $66,942 $1,037 0.0118
19 Laconia 16,898 3.1% $387,698 $67,856 $1,163 0.0293
20 Derry 23,027 5.4% $439,869 $83,750 $1,382 0.0141
21 Rochester 32,573 3.8% $352,607 $74,882 $1,162 0.0196
22 Suncook 5,235 1.0% $371,259 $72,375 $1,047 0.0494
23 Manchester 115,037 4.2% $383,709 $74,040 $1,362 0.0289
24 Claremont 13,018 2.2% $232,691 $53,697 $1,071 0.0245
25 Newport 5,228 3.9% $279,094 $67,500 $1,164 0.0178
26 Berlin 9,485 5.2% $169,746 $41,638 $769 0.0200

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.