By Ronni Newton
Niche.com released its rankings of the “Best Places to Live” this week, and for the sixth straight year West Hartford has earned the top ranking on the list of the “2023 Best Places to Live in Connecticut.”
Niche gives West Hartford an overall grade of A-plus, a ranking which is a comprehensive assessment of the overall livability of an area based on analysis of multiple data sets, from the U.S. Census, FBI, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CDC, and considers “affordability, the local housing market, neighborhood diversity, area public schools, walkability, and more.”
“It is a tremendous honor to have been named by Niche as the Best Place to Live in Connecticut for the sixth year in a row, following up on recent accolades from both Livability and Studyfinds.org,” Town Manager Rick Ledwith said. “We are grateful to Niche for recognizing us again and for sharing with their readers what we as residents know firsthand, that West Hartford is a wonderful place to live and work. This is a testament to our excellent public schools, outstanding public safety, and public services all of which contribute to a great quality of life for our residents and businesses,” he said.
“We are so pleased that Niche.com ranked West Hartford as No. 1 ‘Best Place to Live in Connecticut,'” said Mayor Shari Cantor. “The ranking reflects our outstanding schools, quality town services, nightlife, diversity and a variety of housing options. West Hartford’s A+ grade for ‘Good for Families’ is why so many people choose our town to make their home.”
Niche’s description of West Hartford notes that the town “offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes,” and mentions that the town has many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, among other amenities. “Many young professionals and retirees live in West Hartford and residents tend to be liberal. The public schools in West Hartford are highly rated,” the description included in the 2023 ranking states.
In addition to the overall grade of A-plus, for 2023 West Hartford received an A-plus in the categories of schools, health and fitness, and “good for families.” Nightlife and outdoor activities received an A, diversity and commute received an A-minus, housing and jobs were rated B-plus, and cost of living was rated B-minus. The lowest grades assigned this year were a C-plus for crime and safety (the town’s rate of theft per 100,000 was slightly higher than the national average, but crime rates were lower in all other categories), as well as for West Hartford’s weather.
“We will continue to work hard so that West Hartford remains a draw for families and businesses in the future through our commitment to education, affordable housing, sustainability, and equity, as well as the safety of our residents and visitors through programs like Vision Zero,” Ledwith added.
The analysis, according to Niche, utilizes “advanced algorithms and statistical techniques to compare, normalize, and connect millions of data points to thoroughly analyze U.S. schools and neighborhoods.” This is the ninth consecutive year that Niche has produced the rankings of the “Best Places to Live in America,” and overall there were 228 cities and 17,932 towns and neighborhoods reviewed this year. More details about the methodology used can be found on the Niche website.
Niche notes that “[m]illions of people each year use Niche rankings and profiles to help with key life decisions such as where to live and where to go to school.”
Individual reviews are also factored into the ranking, and West Hartford’s placement for 2023 incorporated 189 reviews. The highlighted five-star review, from a resident who moved here seven months ago, stated: “I truly think West Hartford is the best! I have lived in CT my entire life in many different towns and cities and this is by far my favorite. Taxes and home prices are a little higher than other places, but the way the town is maintained and the outstanding school systems and downtown make it worth it! There is a great deal of diversity, and everyone is extremely nice and inviting. Given the area West Hartford is located, this is a welcomed surprise. So glad we bought a home here and I hope to stay for a long time.”
“For almost ten years now, our Best Places to Live rankings have helped people find a new neighborhood to call home based on what matters most to them, whether that’s affordable housing, easy access to amenities or excellent local schools,” Luke Skurman, CEO and founder of Niche, said in a statement. “We are proud to be a trusted resource for families, homebuyers, professionals and retirees alike in their research. Families wondering about an area’s school district can also use our comprehensive school profiles and rankings to get a feel for their child’s potential school.”
Some towns are split into separate neighborhoods for consideration, and a total of 255 Connecticut communities were included in the 2023 ranking.
The No. 2 community in the 2023 ranking was Newfield (a section of Stamford), followed by Weatogue, Riverside (a section of Greenwich), and Noank as No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 respectively. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were Old Greenwich, Southport, Glastonbury Center, Downtown New Haven, and Glenville.
Niche has also once again rated West Hartford as No. 1 in the most recent rankings of the “Best Suburbs for Young Professionals in Connecticut” and “Best Suburbs to Live in Connecticut.”
Nationally, West Hartford was ranked No. 284 out of 17,916 communities considered for the “Best Places to Live in America.”
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