by Charles A. Monagan
Aug 16, 2011
03:00 PM
On Connecticut

Great Places to Live?


Money Magazine just released their annual list of "Best Places to Live," and to no one's surprise, there were a number of Connecticut communities that made the cut.

The first three towns were grouped together: Tolland was ranked No. 37, South Windsor at No. 38 and Simsbury was No. 39. Cheshire is next at No. 73, and Portland rounds out the Connecticut contingent at No. 88. The municipalities included are, according to Money, "terrific small towns stand out in the qualities American families care about most - great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, nice weather, plenty to do, and more."

As you may know, we do our biennial "Rating the Towns," where we break down the towns under different criteria. In addition to breaking down the state by town population, we base ours on education (including Mastery, CAPT and SAT scores), crime rates, cost of living, economy (determined by a formula) and leisure/culture (entertainment opportunities as well as library expenditures, restaurants, local newspapers and more).

On Money's list, Tolland is arguably the best place in the state; in our rankings for Towns with Population 10,000 to 15,000, Tolland is No. 4 behind Old Saybrook, Weston and Granby, scoring high marks in terms of crime and education, but not really topping any specific category. Weston is tops in both those areas as well as for economy, but has a much higher cost of living, which balances out things.

Simsbury and South Windsor are on the Population 15,000 to 25,000 list, coming in at No. 5 and No. 19, respectively—Ridgefield, with its low crime and high leisure as well as notable economy and education tops that group.

In our Population 25,000 to 50,000 ratings, Cheshire notches the No. 4 slot, being lowest in crime; No. 1 Westport tops the group for education, economy and culture.

And in the Population 5,000 to 10,000 grouping, Portland is No. 17, significantly below No. 1 Easton.

Obviously after considering all these rankings, it's clear that there's more than one way to rate a town. What one person may love about one place—say a bustling nightlife scene—could be something that turns off someone else.

The bottom line is that the inclusion of five Connecticut towns in Money's list only underscores what we always say: Overall, it's hard to find a place in the state that's not a pretty good place to live.

Great Places to Live?

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