Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA town skyline on the Piscataqua River.

9 Best Places to Live in New Hampshire in 2024

Ranked as the first among the states with the best economic opportunities, New Hampshire’s population of 1.3 million is projected to increase by 9% by 2030. The state capital city of Concord, along the Merrimack River, features a lovely quality of life, and academia and boasts a prideful community. This town also hosted the convention that ratified the United States Constitution in 1787! The first on the list, the small city of Berlin, is one of the best places to live in New Hampshire, thanks to a thriving job market and the incredible opportunity to own a home at a median price of only $164,740.

On the other hand, Hanover is home to the Ivy League Dartmouth College and is the priciest on the list. Still, its atmosphere, coupled with the classic New England scenery along the Connecticut River, makes it worth living in this intellectually stimulating city. Dover is a popular choice for life, being the largest community on the seacoast, while Manchester is the largest city overall for those who enjoy a non-sedentary lifestyle. There are plenty of choices to call home in the Granite State!


Aerial View Of Berlin, New Hampshire.
Aerial View Of Berlin, New Hampshire.

Berlin, a small city of 9,526 with a median age of 44.2 years old in Coos County, is one of the most affordable places to live in the state, with a median home price of only $164,740. Offering a median household income of $63,100, despite a poverty rate of 14.61%, Berlin's unemployment rate is a mere 2.90%. The stable economy with job opportunities for newcomers is home to big corporations like KPMG, Aerotek, PNC Financial Group, and UPS.

This city also boasts a great educational setup, which attracts families with kids to attend from kindergarten through high school and students to the prestigious Southern New Hampshire University or the Granite State College. Locals spend about $7,294 on monthly expenses, enjoying the lower cost of living in the city by 10% compared to the national average. Save for a rainy day or go out on the town with places like Jericho Outdoors, a fun night out at the Fagin's Pub, or the completely free outdoors at the spectacular Jericho Mountain State Park at the backdoor, offering trails with mountain views to the horizon.


Concord downtown. Image credit Wangkun Jia via Shutterstock
Concord downtown. Image credit Wangkun Jia via Shutterstock

Concord, a great city in which to live, is the county seat of Merrimack County. With a population of 45,155, it boasts a high median household income of $102,316 and a lower poverty rate of 9.6%. Despite being a pricier city with a median age of 40.1 years, where a median house costs $381,200, locals love the storied history and rich culture of the state's capital. Having played a pivotal role in the formation of the US, established in 1733 and named the capital in 1808, it was the site for the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775 and the host for the convention that ratified the United States Constitution in 1787. These roles from the past lend a strong sense of pride and belonging to a unique community.

The city retains a friendly and welcoming vibe through its diverse neighborhoods, with a safe feel, low crime rates, an accessible cost of living compared with other nations' capitals, and dependable neighbors. The after-work scene comprises many favorite hotspots to go out and easily make new friends, as well as cultural amenities like theaters, museums, music venues, and annual festivals and events. Concord offers a peaceful quality of life while boasting excellent educational endeavors, outdoor pursuits, and beautiful natural surroundings, which are another major draw to the town. Living in this capital along the Merrimack River comes with open spaces and a riverside for boating, as well as trails through the popular White Park and Rollins Park. Nearby, the White Mountains and the Lakes Region erase the need for expensive vacations as a destination for worldwide tourists.


Downtown Dover, New Hampshire.
Downtown Dover, New Hampshire.

The small city of Dover, the county seat for Strafford County, is home to a population of 33,702, with a median age of 37.2 years. Offering many perks that make it a standout place to live in the state, Dover boasts a median household income of $117,718 and a poverty rate of only 7.61%. Despite the high price of owning a home at a median house cost of 466,242, a 10.2% increase from last year, the residents greatly enjoy a top-notch school system and a strong local economy.

Dover is a popular choice for life, being the largest community on the Seacoast, especially among families who enjoy the fact that the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located in this town. With a major hospital downtown and outdoor sites like the stunning historic Fort Burgoyne, Abbot’s Cliff Sound Mirror, and the serene Kearsney Abbey Gardens, it is as easy to achieve work-life balance as leading a healthy lifestyle. The Strait of Dover offers great views and water access for strolls and wet pursuits.


Downtown Exeter, New Hampshire.
Downtown Exeter, New Hampshire.

The charming town of Exeter in Rockingham County, home to 9,918 people, is not just one of the state's most popular places to visit but a great one to live in. Boasting a high average household income of $107,869 and a poverty rate of only 7.36%, the median price to own a home in Exeter is a steep $530,297, which is an 8.2% increase over last year's. Still, with a median age of 45.9 years, this city treats everyone like a local through the many big city amenities and attractions that make it a tourist hotspot. There's great cultural diversity, fun events, and always something new on the rise, including job opportunities.

Exeter is a real eye candy town, from the impeccable tree-lined streets to its beautiful boutique shops at every turn and the plethora of spectacular cultural venues like museums and historic houses, revealing its old age and homegrown feel. So despite the higher cost of living, you'll be getting the bang for your buck, contributing to its thriving economy in agriculture and industry, computers and electronics, finance, or one of the organizations because the unemployment rate is a low 2.2%.


Aerial view of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.
Aerial view of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

Hampton, the small city in Rockingham County, has a 2024 population of 10,050. Boasting one of the state's highest average household incomes of $133,069 and one of the lowest poverty rates of 3.82%, this stable community has a median age of 49.6 years and is a dream place to live. Even the price tag of $555,735 for a median house causes little disdain when you are employed in the largest industries like manufacturing, retail trade, or health care and social assistance. The biggest bucks come from the highest-paying professional, scientific & technical services and management industries.

Hampton turns into a vacation hot spot in the summer and a quiet coastal paradise in the winter, attracting families with a strong local school system and the neighboring small towns. So, what does it take to get a slice of Hampton's tempting offerings? Well, the seaside town with an unemployment rate of only 3% is clearly not just a destination for retirees but also for young and seasoned professionals, with the biggest companies to work for in Hampton being Planet Fitness, Foss Manufacturing, and Unitil.


The Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College. Image credit Jay Yuan via Shutterstock.

Hanover, a small city of 8,234 in Grafton County, offers what perhaps is the most well-paid job market in the state for a comparable size, with the median household income comprising $193,450. Its steep housing costs of $891,671, which is 10.6% higher than last year, but do get you living in the charming historic city, home to Dartmouth College. The city, with a median age of 22 years old, features an intellectual atmosphere and vibrant culture, offering every kind of advantage that comes with living in this educational and cultural hub. Even those who do not attend Dartmouth as a student can enjoy lectures, performances, and art exhibitions on campus. The significant influence of the school extends to the K-high school grades in order to prepare students who wish to pursue higher education.

The intellectually stimulating environment of Hanover consistently earns high rankings as the best place to live in the state despite the higher costs. Attracting families and passionate students combined with relaxing pursuits for after-work or study also make it easy to achieve the desired balance. Nestled in the beautiful Upper Valley along the Connecticut River, Hanover's outdoor beauty is a major draw to live against a stunning backdrop that beckons adventurers to explore. Offering trails and gorgeous fall foliage, there's also skiing in the winter and scenic drives. Dartmouth College, a significant employer and contributor to the local economy, offers opportunities in education, research, and administration while fostering a robust healthcare sector. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employs many residents and keeps the population healthy, while diverse businesses and industries are nearby in Lebanon and White River Junction.


Manchester skyline at dusk. Image credit Sean Pavone via Shutterstock
Manchester skyline at dusk. Image credit Sean Pavone via Shutterstock.

Located in Hillsborough County, Manchester, home to 115,077 locals with a median age of 37 years old, it is the largest city in the state. Offering a diverse job market and an average household income of $94,570, the economy thrives with a burgeoning tech sector, healthcare industry, financial sector, and a variety of retail and hospitality services. Despite a poverty rate of 11.56%, Manchester's great quality of life also comes at a relatively low cost, with median housing at $382,580 and a lack of state income tax. Attracting families in particular, its educational opportunities comprise many top-rated public and private schools and a host of theaters, museums, and restaurants.

While Manchester's economic appeal is inarguable, its reputation as a culturally diverse, tight-knit neighborhood community also speaks volumes to families, including various festivals and events that foster a celebratory feel of belonging. Such a sense of pride and bonding is rare in large cities, as is the authentic New England natural beauty that is also present in Manchester. Located along the Merrimack River, Manchester offers an outdoor escape from the doorstep, including hiking trails, parks, and recreational activities that make it easy to stay active in all four seasons, which are most distinct in this city. Add access to quality health care, essential services, and big city amenities for your desires, and the city's popularity becomes understandable!


Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Portsmouth, a small city in Rockingham County, has a 2024 population of 23,433, with a median age of 42.1 years old. Despite a higher cost of living, with a limited supply of housing and a median house cost of $668,068—an 8.8% increase from last year—it is possible to find a reasonable family place for $450,000, depending on the neighborhood. Its historical heritage, cultural scene, and coastal charm foster pride and a sense of belonging that residents and tourists here adore. Portsmouth is clearly a community with immense character, a spirit of participation, and an unofficial "creative capital of the New Hampshire Seacoast."

Offering all of the big city amenities as an affordable alternative to an even pricier city, Boston, together with its small town charm, stupendous natural beauty, and ultimate vacation spot and seaport, Portsmouth's seascapes, sunsets, and easy access to the mountains and large cities are most worthy of the investment. This city also offers a low crime rate and an excellent school system, which amounts to safety, stability, and ultimately, peace of mind, making it as sought-after as New York.


Downtown Wolfeboro.
Downtown Wolfeboro. Editorial credit: Jaminnbenji / Shutterstock.com

Wolfeboro is a small city of 2,813 in Carroll County, with a median age of 62.2 years old, which makes it a haven for retirees. Despite a slow decline in population and a poverty rate of 12.39%, the town is a tourist hotspot with a variety of services and amenities for every taste and age, as well as job opportunities. Thanks to the scenic location, the stable economy thrives with tourism, which gives Wolfeboro the illustrious moniker of the Jewel of Lake Winnipesaukee. From the nearby Roberts Cove Basin Marina to Carry Beach, residents can boat to Acorn Point for even more serenity and beautiful sunsets.

The lush and cozy lakeside town features a median household income of $73,592 and a median house cost of $561,150 to live a quality life with abundant outdoor activities and recreational opportunities against stupendous scenery. Attracting families with its secure feel, Wolfeboro boasts a standout educational system and one of the best economies for its size while deserving a spot on the list of the best places to live in the state, if only for how beautiful its natural landscapes really are! At its heart, another lakefront at Wentworth State Park offers more opportunities for residents to boat and fish in the summer. The lush banks turn to tremendous autumnal scenery all around, while the ultimate winter scenes await at Wolfeboro Abenaki Ski Area.

According to research on affordability, lifestyle, and overall economic structure, New Hampshire ranked as the 4th best state to live in in 2024. The underrated Granite State offers excellent job opportunities and an average annual healthcare cost of $3,380, which is cheaper than the national average. New Hampshire's 63% workforce participation is one of the nation's highest, while these cities and towns exemplify the 2.5% unemployment rate, lower than the US average. The aforementioned communities and, respectively small cities on New Hampshire's seacoast make for more than ideal places to consider moving to!

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 9 Best Places to Live in New Hampshire in 2024

More in Places