The Granite State is enjoying another win as New Hampshire has been named one of the best states to live in by a new WalletHub report.
The report ranks New Hampshire 6th in the nation and scores strong with 6th in health and education, 5th in safety, and 7th in economy. New Hampshire ranks 40th in the nation for overall affordability and 36th for quality of life.
WalletHub used data to compare all 50 states based on 52 key livability indicators. These indicators range from housing costs and income growth to education rates and hospital quality.
Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are the top three on the 2022 list. Maine and Vermont come in at 11th and 12th, respectively. Connecticut landed in 25th place and Rhode Island followed the rest of New England in 28th place.
Louisiana, Alaska and Mississippi were ranked among the three worst states on the list.
Kenneth Johnson, professor of sociology and senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School, said while New Hampshire ranks well overall, a lack of affordable housing could hold back future growth. Currently, New Hampshire’s saving grace is the high cost of living everywhere else in New England.
“(T)there is certainly widespread concern that the lack of affordable housing may limit the ability of families and workers to settle in certain areas of New Hampshire. However, it is also important to recognize that many migrants to New Hampshire come from Massachusetts from the Boston metro area. Housing costs in the Boston metro area are generally higher than in New Hampshire,” Johnson said.
New Hampshire ranked 8th in 2021 WalletHub study, where it also ranked well for its economy, education and health, although last year it also ranked 40th for accessibility. Robert Ross, vice president of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium and professor emeritus of sociology at Clark University, said housing affordability is the most important factor in deciding where to live.
“The cost and supply of appropriate housing is a critical issue. In my own life, I’ve had to reconsider applying for jobs in places where I just couldn’t find affordable housing (for me) reasonably close to where I could work,” Ross said.
New Hampshire is currently experiencing a housing affordability crisis. The rental vacancy rate is below 1% statewide – the national rate is nearly 6% – and the high cost of housing keeps employees away from some of the state’s largest employers.
Governor Chris Sununu announced a $100 million program to boost housing development and streamline local zoning in the coming months to add thousands of rental units to the market.
Johnson said that despite the high costs, the Massachusetts comparison is helping people decide to move north and further boosting the economy.
“So even though housing in New Hampshire is expensive, families in the Boston metro area may still be able to get more homes for the same amount in New Hampshire. For example, the median price of an owner-occupied home in New Hampshire’s three counties just north of the Massachusetts border near the Boston metro area is about $100,000 to $150,000 lower than the median value of a home in the three Massachusetts counties in the Boston metropolitan area. area that is just south of the state line,” Johnson said.
New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate of the 50 states and the second-lowest crime rate, second only to Maine, according to the report. The Granite State also has the 5th highest rate of people over the age of 25 with at least a high school diploma or higher.