Rating the Towns 2009: Cities Over 50,000

 

After years of finishing in second or third place in this survey, Fairfield finally slipped past Greenwich to snag the top spot among cities. In doing so, the most telling statistic came in the area of Education, where Fairfield topped Greenwich in Mastery Test scores, CAPT scores and the percentage of high school grads going on to college (Greenwich stayed ahead in SAT scores). Fairfield also edged out Greenwich for the highest voter turnout in this population group.

Elsewhere, West Hartford used its good schools and relatively low cost of living to retake third place from Stamford. Since our last version of "Rating the Towns" in 2006, both cities have seen lots of positive changes, both retail and residential, in their downtowns, with still more in the offing. Danbury improved in all the categories, enough to move it from No. 10 last time up to No. 6. Moving the other way, from No. 5 to No. 7 was Hamden, down a notch or two in Education and Crime.

As a group, the state's big cities continued their struggle with poor schools, high crime and shaky local economies, with Hartford once again finishing last in all three of those categories. However, if you don't have school-age children and aren't particularly worried about crime, the major cities could be where to head if you want both cultural amenities and a lot of house, condo or apartment for your money. As usual, New Haven and Hartford finished well ahead in the number of cultural amenities they offer, from concerts and theater to scores of good restaurants. As for Meriden, Bristol and other cities that come up short in their number of dining spots and other cultural and leisure attractions, well, they're only a short ride from Hartford and New Haven.

                                                                
Overall
Rank
Town
  Education
Crime
Economy
Cost
Leisure
Total
Score
1
Fairfield
1
2
2
15
4
24
2
Greenwich
2
1
1
17
5
26
3
West Hartford
3
6
7
11
6
33
4
Stamford
7
7
3
16
3
36
5
Milford
4
5
4
12
12
37
6
Danbury
9
4
6
13
9
41
7
Hamden
8
3
8
10
14
43
8
Manchester
6
9
9
7
13
44
9
Norwalk
10
11
5
14
7
47
10
Bristol
5
8
10
9
16
48
11
New Haven
14
16
14
6
1
51
12
Waterbury
13
14
16
1
8
52
13
West Haven
11
10
11
8
15
55
*14
Hartford
17
17
17
3
2
56
*14
New Britain
15
13
15
2
11
56
*16
Bridgeport
16
15
13
4
10
58
*16
Meriden
12
12
12
5
17
58
*tie

HOW TO READ THE CHART
The chart above represents the 17 Connecticut cities with population over 50,000. The comparisons are made only with other towns in this group. The best possible rating in any category is 1 and the worst is 17.
Remember: Low scores are good, high ones are bad.
                     

Rating the Towns 2009: Cities Over 50,000

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