Rating the Towns 2010: Population 6,500-10,000
Easton is part of the Fairfield County you don’t hear too much about—and that’s probably just the way they like it. It’s a bit off the beaten path, so crime is not a problem. Its public schools (it shares a high school, Joel Barlow, with No. 4 Redding) are very good, with test scores among the best in Connecticut. Joblessness is well below the state average. And support for the library, at over $80 per capita, is second-best in this population group. Of course, if you want to live in Easton, keep in mind that it takes over $500,000 to buy a typical house.
Less rural but finishing near the head of the list, Essex, Litchfield and Old Lyme are more like self-contained towns, offering residents and visitors a fair number of admirable diversions—including shopping, dining out and sightseeing—as well as solid public schools and relatively strong local economies. In addition, house prices, while not cheap, tend to be quite a bit lower than they are in Fairfield County.
Three towns in central Connecticut—Haddam, Durham and Hebron—also fared well in the rankings, as they did three years ago. Each offers better-than-average education and crime numbers along with reasonable housing costs. For a very low crime rate, inexpensive housing and genuine old Yankee charm, you might think about Lebanon, the No. 7 finisher. You may be a fair distance from the nearest piece of sushi, but the stars are bright and there’s a two-mile-long green to walk.
Ties broken by voter turnout in 2008 election
HOW TO READ THE CHART
The chart above represents the 23 Connecticut towns with populations between 6,500 and 10,000. The best possible rating in any category is 1 and the worst is 23. Remember: Low scores are best.