Rating the Towns 2012
The small Connecticut town is a cherished American icon. With its town green, leafy Main Street, white-steepled church and Fourth of July picnic, it’s a place we all feel we know, whether we live there or not. To be sure, not all small towns fit this description. Some are old mill towns, a few others are still largely farming communities. But most remain desirable places to live, raise a family or find a a place to settle down. As such, each constitutes an important piece in Connecticut’s colorful 169-town mosaic.
This ranking of Connecticut’s smallest towns compares the quality of public schools, the state of the local economy, the cost of living, the crime rate and local leisure and cultural resources. Although “Rating the Small Towns” is not meant to be the last word on a town, it can be a good place to begin your thought process if you’re thinking about moving or merely seeking comparisons with like-sized places around the state.
To help make things easier, we’ve sorted the towns into three population groups, then collected all the data we could find in the areas that seem to be most important to most people. Finally, we crunched the numbers, and present on the pages that follow the rankings for towns in each population group.
Of course, we understand that there are lots of reasons for loving a place—or not loving it—that go beyond test scores at the local public school or how much money gets spent on the library. For that, we leave it to you to do your own due diligence.
- Towns with Population 6,500-10,000
- Towns with Population 3,500-6,500
- Towns with Population Under 3,500
The Numbers We Used
EDUCATION: This category combines five elements: the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Mastery Test results for 4th, 6th and 8th grades; results of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT); local SAT scores for 2008, 2009 and 2010 and the percentage of 2010 public high school graduates who went on to two- and four-year colleges. Test scores are weighted more heavily.
ECONOMY: The strength of the local economy was determined by the 2012 Public Investment Community score, compiled by the Office of Policy and Management, which rates all Connecticut towns under a formula based on population, per capita income, the adjusted equalized grand list per capita, the unemployment rate, the equalized mill rate and per capita aid to children.
COST OF LIVING: This category includes the median price of a house purchased from January 2010 through June 2011, a figure that predicts many other local expenses.
CRIME: This category is based on major crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor-vehicle theft) committed in 2007, 2008 and 2009—the most recent statistics available—per 1,000 population.
LEISURE/CULTURE: This category includes local library expenditures per capita in 2010 (an important factor in small towns), the number of theaters, museums, festivals, concert venues, historic sites, colleges and universities, golf courses, local newspapers, radio stations, state parks and forests, voter turnout in the 2008 election and good local restaurants.Rating the Towns 2012