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West Hartford Named ‘Best Place to Live’ in Connecticut by Niche for 7th Straight Year

West Hartford sign. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Niche.com has released its 2024 list of the ‘Best Places to Live in Connecticut, and West Hartford has once again earned the top spot.

By Ronni Newton

Niche.com released its rankings of the “Best Places to Live” this week, and for the seventh straight year West Hartford has earned the top ranking on the list of the “2024 Best Places to Live in Connecticut.”

Niche gives West Hartford an overall grade of A-plus, a ranking which they determine as 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, as well as Niche’s proprietary data and community reviews, and a ranking which considers “affordability, the local housing market, neighborhood diversity, area public schools, walkability, and more.”

“It is really terrific to be recognized by Niche as the No. 1 place to live in Connecticut for the seventh consecutive year,” Mayor Shari Cantor said. “We have such a wonderful, diverse and dynamic community – engaged residents, highly professional town staff as well as vibrant and thriving commercial centers throughout town. We continually invest in the quality of life for our residents and visitors and we also recognize and welcome the opportunities to improve. We celebrate our special community and we are grateful for this honor,” she added.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition from Niche, solidifying West Hartford as the ‘Best Place to Live in Connecticut’ for the seventh year in a row,” Town Manager Rick Ledwith said. “As West Hartford continues to grow and evolve, we remain committed to enhancing the quality of life for our residents. This recognition serves as motivation to continue to striving for excellence in all that we do and 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.”

Niche’s description of West Hartford notes that the town “offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes,” and as mentioned last year notes 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 2024 ranking states.

In addition to the overall grade of A-plus, for 2024 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, jobs, and commute received an A-minus; housing was rated B-plus; and crime was rated B (up from C-plus last year). Cost of living and weather were rated C-plus.

Niche states that according to their analysis, which uses advanced algorithms and statistical techniques, “reviews and data are scored and standardized so that each place is comparable. We then assign each place to a cohort based on population and urban clustering.” This is the 10th consecutive year that Niche has produced the rankings of the “Best Places to Live in America,” and overall there were nearly 230 cities and more than 18,000 places to live reviewed this year. More details about the methodology used can be found on the Niche website.

Niche notes in a statement that accompanied the most recent rankings that each year they help “over 70 million people find the schools and places to live that are right for them. On Niche, you have access to comprehensive profiles on every school and over 50,000 cities and towns in America — from the ones you know to the ones you have yet to discover.”

Individual reviews are also factored into the ranking, and West Hartford’s placement for 2024 incorporated 199 reviews. A highlighted five-star review provided six months ago stated: “The reviews on Niche for West Hartford helped tremendously in helping us decide to move here back in 2018, and now that we’ve celebrated our 5 year anniversary, it felt only right to hop back on here and write a review of my own! I absolutely LOVE this town. WeHa seriously has it all: amazing restaurants, culture, great schools, shopping, concerts/theatre, parks, trails (bike and walking) – but most importantly, community. That was big on our list. Everyone is so welcoming, supportive and neighborly. I also love that it’s a walkable town. Moving from NYC, that was a big deal for us. Don’t think twice about moving here. Just do it!”

A lifelong resident posted the following review three months ago: “West Hartford is viewed as one of the best places to live at in CT and I agree. As a resident who has lived there my entire life, I have rarely turned on the news or heard of crimes that happen. It’s a relatively safe city. For two, the education, both Hall and Conard high school were highly ranked as the best high schools in the state. The town also being only miles from the capital of Hartford also helps with commuting for job opportunities there. Blue Back Square and Westfarms Mall which are located downtown are also areas I’ve enjoyed to hang out at.”

“Choosing where to live is no small task,” Luke Skurman, CEO and founder of Niche, said in a statement. “For 10 years now, our Best Places to Live rankings have served as a compass for navigating these tough choices. We know that people consider far more than just affordability when deciding where to call home, from neighborhood diversity and weather conditions to career opportunities and the quality of the schools. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula. Our rankings have always aspired to give families, homebuyers, professionals and retirees the data and insights they need to reliably and confidently discover their next place to live.”

Some towns are split into separate neighborhoods for consideration, and a total of 285 Connecticut communities were included in the 2024 ranking.

There has been some shuffling among the other top-rated communities this year, and the No. 2 community in the 2024 ranking was Weatogue (a section of Simsbury). Glastonbury Center, Old Greenwich (a section of Greenwich), and Avon were No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 respectively. Rounding out the top 10 this year, in order, were Simsbury, Cost Cob (a section of Greenwich), Westport, Riverside (a section of Greenwich), and Glastonbury.

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. 159 (up from 284 last year) out of 18,157 communities considered for the “Best Places to Live in America” for 2024.

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