10 Best Places To Live In Connecticut For 2020

These are the cream of the crop when it comes to the Constitution State

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Connecticut.

Welcome to Connecticut, one of the most expensive and wealthiest states.

But assuming you have the cash to move to the Nutmeg State, you might be wondering what the best place to call home would be. So we did the math to help you understand why you should think about moving to Shelton. How do you pick the best places to live in what many agree is the best darn state in the nation? If you do a survey, you'll most likely get opinions based emotions.

That's why we use science -- a mix of Census and FBI data on indicators of quality of life in Connecticut. After all, the data never lies. And after analyzing everything from weather and amenities to crime and education, we've come up with the following list as the best places to live in Connecticut. Read on below to see how we calculated the results and where your hometown ranked.

Hint: If you live in New Haven County, consider yourself lucky.

What's the best place to live in connecticut? According to the most recent FBI and Census data, Shelton comes in first as the best place in connecticut for 2020 based. Hope you can afford to make the move.

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing places to live in connecticut, but these top ten cities undoubtedly take the cake.

Their low unemployment rates, low crime rates, high incomes, low household vacancy rates, and abundance of things to do make these ten places the best places to live in connecticut for 2020.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Connecticut reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Connecticut For 2020

Shelton, CT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 41,155
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $345,200 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (2nd best)
More on Shelton: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

We begin our exploration of the best places to live in Connecticut for 2020 with Shelton, a city of 41,155 located between Bridgeport and New Haven. Shelton has an extremely successful economy, with the lowest poverty level and 2nd lowest unemployment rate in Connecticut, at 4.4% and 5.3% respectively. It's not like people are just scraping by here either. We named Shelton the richest place in Connecticut, with the highest household median income in the state at $94,446 year. Homes are also the 3rd most expensive statewide, with a median price tag of $345,200.

One thing to note is that at 47, Shelton has the oldest median age of anywhere we'll be covering on this list. If living in a more experienced and mature community is a priority for you, Shelton has you covered. Seeing as older folks with lots of cash don't have any reason to go around committing crimes, it makes sense that Shelton also has the lowest crime rate in CT, about 70% lower than the national average. And if you're looking for a school district that invests in its youth, Shelton spends roughly 10% more per student than the statewide average.

That's just one example of how Shelton spends its tax revenue in smart ways. Another example is the recent downtown revitalization project, which has been a huge hit. For those more interested in nature than high-end dining and gorgeous tree-lined streets, Indian Well State Park is a local favorite year-round.

Middletown, CT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 46,473
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $227,000 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (3rd best)
More on Middletown: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Coming as the 2nd best place to live in CT is Middletown, a city of 46,473 about 15 minutes southeast of New Britain. Middletown is home to the prestigious Wesleyan University, so you'll never have to look far to find intelligent conversation here. Neither will you have far to go to reach pristine natural beauty, what with Wadsworth Falls State Park right in your backyard.

Middletown enjoys the 3rd lowest unemployment rate in Connecticut at 5.6%. All those employed people also get the benefit of having the 4th shortest average commute time in the state at 21 minutes. You have very little reason to fear being car-jacked on said commute either because Middletown has 2nd lowest rate of criminal activity in Connecticut. If you do find yourself in a bad way medically, Middletown will have you feeling right as rain in no time, because 97.0% of residents have health insurance, the highest rate in CT.

Milford, CT

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Population: 52,349
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $306,100 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (1st best)
More on Milford: Real Estate | Crime Report

Milford is a city of 52,349 sandwiched between New Haven and Bridgeport on Long Island Sound. Milford's public schools have a student-teacher ratio of 11:1, beating out the statewide average of 13:1. All that extra one-on-one attention apparently does the trick, because students in Milford dropout of high school at the lowest rate in Connecticut.

Staying in school pays off big time and Milford showcases that wonderfully. Milford has a poverty level of just 5.3% and an unemployment rate of 5.3%, both of which rank at or near the top compared to other Connecticut cities. Homes in Milford are the 4th priciest in the state at $306,100. The median household income in Milford is $89,583/year, so you'll want to make sure you can pull in around that much if you want to live comfortably here.

As a non-statistical bonus, Milford's coastal location comes with obvious advantages for beach lovers. Silver Sands State Park is probably the most popular choice, but nearby Walnut Beach is also a great option.

Bristol, CT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 60,308
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $195,900 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (4th best)
More on Bristol: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Next up on our tour of awesome places to live in Connecticut is Bristol, a city of 60,308 located north of Waterbury and west of New Britain. The cost of living in Bristol is about 10% lower than the Connecticut average, making it one of the most affordable places to live on this list. Residents enjoy low unemployment and poverty numbers as well, so everyone gets in on the savings in Bristol. And if safety is a big concern for you, Bristol had the 5th lowest rate of violent crime in the state.

One thing to note is that Bristol is also one of the most liberal cities in Connecticut, so keep that in mind if the political affiliation of your neighborhood is important to you.

As a Connecticut native, I believe that Bristol being home to Lake Compounce oughta bump it up a few spots on this list. It is hands-down the best amusement and water park in New England, in this writer's opinion.

Groton, CT

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Population: 9,109
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $207,900 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (12th best)
More on Groton: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

We're taking our first foray into eastern Connecticut to reach the 5th best place in the state, Groton. This is the youngest city we'll be covering on our list, with a median age of 34. Part of the reason Groton is so young is that its home to a naval submarine base. Even if you're not signing up for the Navy, you can learn more about Groton's historical ties to America's naval tradition at the Submarine Force Museum. Of course, Groton's coastal location also comes with tons of beaches and waterfront parks to choose from. And even though it's technically located in Mystic, I couldn't fail to include the nearby Mystic Aquarium here; seriously, every Connecticut kid will end up here on a field trip at some point and to this day it's one of the most impressive aquariums I've visited.

Perhaps having some armed forces around keeps people in check, because Groton's crime rate is roughly 20% lower than the CT average and ranks as the 3rd lowest statewide. If you're not taking a submarine to work, your commute in Groton will take about 20 minutes, the 3rd shortest commute in the state.

Stamford, CT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 129,026
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $526,700 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (8th best)
More on Stamford: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

It's hard to know where to begin when covering a city as awesome as Stamford, the third biggest city in Connecticut. Stamford is home to eight Fortune 500 companies and is the largest financial district in the New York metropolitan area (besides NYC itself), so you know there's a solid economic base here. Stamford enjoys the 3rd highest median household income in the state at $89,309/year. The poverty level and unemployment rate are both among the top ten lowest in the state as well, meaning everyone gets in on the success story in Stamford.

The only downside of Stamford is how pricey it is. The cost of living in Stamford is about 60% higher than the national average, making it Connecticut's most expensive city. All that cash will buy you some super-smart neighbors because over 20% of residents have at least a master's degree.

It'll also buy you access to one of the most happening cities in CT. Between catching a show at The Palace Theatre and catching some sun at Cove Island Park, there's something for everyone in Stamford. Just be sure to move quickly, because Stamford is also the state's fastest-growing city, having added roughly 8,000 people to its ranks since 2010.

Norwalk, CT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 88,436
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $427,300 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (11th best)
More on Norwalk: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Located on the northern shore of Long Island Sound between Stamford and Bridgeport, Norwalk ranks as the 7th best place to call home in CT. Those looking for a fun day out will find exactly that at The Maritime Aquarium, but those who'd rather get on the water will probably prefer taking a boat trip to see the historic lighthouse on Sheffield Island.

Great schools, safe streets, and an economy that works for everyone all make Norwalk a great place to live. Norwalk has the 5th lowest poverty level in Connecticut, sitting at 9.7%. And while the median household income in Norwalk is the 4th highest in the state at $82,474/year, homes are also the 2nd most expensive. In fact, the cost of living is nearly 20% higher in Norwalk than the Connecticut average, making it one of the priciest places to live in the state.

Naugatuck, CT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 31,481
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $182,300 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (9th best)
More on Naugatuck: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Located just south of Waterbury, Naugatuck comes in as the 8th best place to live in Connecticut for 2020. While there are many expensive places in Connecticut, Naugatuck isn't one of them. With a cost of living about 10% lower than the statewide average, Naugatuck is one of the cheapest places to settle down in. Combine that with the 6th highest median household income in CT at $70,512/year and you've got yourself a recipe for big savings.

Naugatuck also has the 6th lowest crime rate in Connecticut, so you won't have to worry about Amazon porch pirates here. And with the 3rd lowest poverty level in the state at 8.6, you don't have to worry about an economic downturn much either. If you want to get away from it all, we recommend visiting Naugatuck State Forest. Especially in fall, if you can manage to beat the NYC leaf-peepers there.

Meriden, CT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,864
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $172,200 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (5th best)
More on Meriden: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Meriden is a city of 59,864 located between New Haven and Hartford. Meriden has a strong economy with the 5th lowest unemployment rate in Connecticut, sitting at 6.4%. The crime rate in Meriden is the highest on this list, but it's still quite safe compared to the national average. Unwelcome medical surprises are a bit less devastating in Meriden, because at 96.4%, Meriden has the 4th highest rate of residents with health insurance in the state.

The best place for nature-lovers in Meriden is Hubbard Park. The view of central Connecticut from Castle Craig at the top of the park is out of this world.

Torrington, CT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 34,737
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $155,700 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (6th best)
More on Torrington: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Wrapping up our list of the best places to live in Connecticut is Torrington, our sole representative of Litchfield County. We've already covered one of the most liberal cities on this list, so it's only fair we included Torrington, the most conservative city in CT as well. Greatness knows no political affiliation here at HomeSnacks. Republicans and Democrats alike appreciate a good deal, and that's just what you get in Torrington. The cost of living in Torrington is about 15% lower than your average Connecticut city and we named it the state's most affordable city for 2020. Part of that is the fact that at $155,700, Torrington has the cheapest homes for sale that you'll see on this list.

Torrington also has the 6th lowest levels of unemployment and poverty in CT, so everyone can take part in the good deals Torrington offers. And you never have to worry about crime ruining your good time here, because Torrington had the 8th lowest crime rate in the state.

Torrington is also home to the Warner Theatre, a historic spot that puts on everything from operas to plays to big-name concerts. And if you'd rather spend the day outside, Burr Pond is the place to be.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Connecticut

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Hartford with a population of 123,628 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 9,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 9,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 21 cities, 67 towns, and 13 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Connecticut have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 9,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Connecticut

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Connecticut across a number of criteria from one to 21, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Connecticut".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Connecticut? That would be Shelton.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Connecticut.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Shelton at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Connecticut

If you're looking at areas in Connecticut with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Shelton made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Connecticut for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Connecticut

  1. Weatogue (Pop. 3,179)
  2. Gales Ferry (Pop. 1,005)
  3. West Simsbury (Pop. 2,354)
  4. Mystic (Pop. 4,241)
  5. Georgetown (Pop. 1,821)
  6. Durham (Pop. 2,687)
  7. Woodmont (Pop. 1,425)
  8. Southport (Pop. 1,694)
  9. Pemberwick (Pop. 4,286)
  10. Guilford Center (Pop. 2,517)

Best Small Towns To Live In Connecticut

  1. Terramuggus (Pop. 934)
  2. Fenwick (Pop. 78)
  3. Groton Long Point (Pop. 477)
  4. New Preston (Pop. 996)
  5. Wilton Center (Pop. 675)
  6. Stonington (Pop. 973)
  7. Mansfield Center (Pop. 969)
  8. Falls Village (Pop. 490)
  9. Lakeville (Pop. 903)
  10. Brooklyn (Pop. 906)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Connecticut according to the data:

  1. Bridgeport (Pop. 146,417)
  2. Waterbury (Pop. 108,672)
  3. Hartford (Pop. 123,628)

For more Connecticut reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Connecticut?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Shelton 41,155 5.3% $345,200
2 Middletown 46,473 5.6% $227,000
3 Milford 52,349 5.3% $306,100
4 Bristol 60,308 6.1% $195,900
5 Groton 9,109 7.3% $207,900
6 Stamford 129,026 6.8% $526,700
7 Norwalk 88,436 7.2% $427,300
8 Naugatuck 31,481 6.9% $182,300
9 Meriden 59,864 6.4% $172,200
10 Torrington 34,737 6.5% $155,700

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

20 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Live In Connecticut For 2020

  1. Connecticut has 169 towns, your data set is not aggregating and incrementing ranking correctly with two distinct issues:
    1) Several duplicates such as lines 98 and 99, both named “Middletown”
    1) Less obvious CDP (census designated place)/Village usage such as East Granby, North Granby and Granby. Only the Town of Granby and Town of East Granby exist, the Census Designated Place of North Granby is a village, not a town or city and should be aggregated within its town/city.

    1. Doesn’t matter North , West or just Granby still under the poor leadership of Town Hall, Worthless Community Developer and High Taxes!!! Just see what they did to the landowner at 572 Salmon Brook Street! They should all be ashamed of their lack of leadership!! The P&Z Commission needs to be completely voted out, too!!!

  2. CT has very high taxes. CT STINKS!
    Our Govenor just raised taxes on corporations and now we may lose some important businesses that are headquartered here.

  3. You would think that neighboring areas would score similarly on the weather ranking but that does not appear to be the case, particularly with the number of sunny days.

  4. Granby is below Wilimantic , no surprise with the highest taxes and the worst Town Government. Just a bunch of Liars!!!!

  5. Does Weston’s ranking include its underpopulated schools and overly taxed citizens?
    How about the fact that we have a tiny town center that overcharges for its merchandise?

  6. When the article started by suggesting that Connecticut is the best darn state in the nation, the author lost credibility almost as fast as the state is losing population.

    High taxes and cost of living, terrible weather, crappy roads, marginal schools, crowded conditions, and little to do cause so many people to move away as soon as they can. I cant wait to be among those waving goodbye to the Constitution state. I’ve lived a lot of different places, and this state has the least to offer.

  7. Besides the numerous obvious flaws in this study, your number 1 consideration: “Population Density (The higher the better)” is simply inane. I don’t think there’s a person in the state that would opt for overcrowded urban conditions, yet that’s exactly what you classify as optimum. It’s possible there is an “optimum” population density, but you have failed entirely by not trying to determine that quantifier and simply pulled “more is better” out of thin air.

    1. Seems like from a stand point of selling HomeSnacks this list might be accurate to that specail interst group only.

  8. As soon as you said, “We firmly decided that yes, bigger cities should be given a bigger ranking factor…” this was no longer scientific but an opinion. Correcting data doesn’t make something “scientific.” Objectively analyzing the data does.

  9. Connecticut is a generally great place to live. I live, I pay taxes, I work, and I love Connecticut.

    If anyone has come here just to say how terrible Connecticut is, you really need to take a step back and examine the parts of your life that you’re blaming on the state and figure out how to act on them in a positive way that will in turn brighten your life.

    Connecticut is fantastic. First in flight as well.

  10. I grew up in Branchville across the tracks from Georgetown, it was about as ” Mayberry” as you could get. It was a great place to grow up, haven’t been back for thirty years don’t suspect it’s changed that much.

  11. Hello my name is Tyler, I just so happen to scroll into these comments on your state, Connecticut during my search since my wife and I are contemplating moving there in a year or two at the most. I would like to gain some further perspective on the cities, towns and the state in general. A little history about us… We are from Seattle, WA born and raised and moved to Georgia 3 years ago. I am in the transportation industry and my wife is a realtor for Keller Williams. We are interested in living in a place with all 4 seasons. We are active and will get out in all weather conditions. The educational system is important to us, because we are in the process of starting a family. Crime is a concern for us, being that New Haven is the 3rd most dangerous city in the country raises some flags, but we are not naive and are aware that all major cities have a crime issue. Diversity is important, as we are pretty well rounded in this area and would like our children to be as well. Also a since of community. I have searched on Niche for most of my information as well as reading forums and blogs such as this one. These however, are the locations we are considering; Middletown, Stamford, West Haven, Norwalk, Hamden, Windsor, Danbury, Brandford, Milford and Stratford. We would like to narrow our list, any suggestions?

    1. Hi Tyler, I can help you out with that. The list is pretty much accurate that home snacks provided.
      Middletown is nice I have coworkers that live there and love it there and they are from Connecticut. It may be a little pricy though.
      Stamford is nice and is hella expensive. Imfrom New York, The Bronx and the rents are just as high like New York. It’s diverese in Stamford a little bit of everyone sprinkled around.
      West Haven is nice one of my closest friends live there and he never complains about west haven he’s been living there for over 10 years.
      Norwalk is okay I’ve been there a few times. They seem to have a city type attitude and seemed chill when I went there.
      Hamden is ok too I’ve been there a few times.
      Windsor I’ve never been to yet so I don’t know but I heard it’s nice out there.
      Danbury I’ve never been there, I heard it’s hilly and nice there too.
      Branford is nice, I’ve been there a few times it’s quiet there, as for being diverse I’m not too sure about that one.
      Milford is really nice and expensive. It’s a nice town and to me it’s not that diverse. I’ve been to Milford plenty of times because I lived in Bridgeport and it’s the next town after Stratford.
      Stratford is one of my favorite places. When I lived in Bridgeport I loved going to Stratford. It’s nice quiet and clean. The home owners take pride in their spaces. I would have liked to live in Stratford but I can’t afford it right now.
      My personal opinion, being that I live in Waterbury, I like the other side of Connecticut, I don’t like the Fairfield county side. Since I’ve moved to Waterbury the people are nicer than in Bridgeport and they’re more calm. I like the scenery and it’s so many stores. Connecticut really is a beautiful state. I like looking at the nature views. Best thing I can tell you is to visit the good and bad parts and see for yourself. So far the best place I lived in Connecticut is Waterbury, I kinda didn’t like Bridgeport.

  12. Anything like this is subjective but where are values like diversity, sense of community, as well as school quality, arts, architecture?! Things that give life meaning….

  13. We’ve lived in Connecticut for over 60 years. To us that list would be better suited for being the top 10 worse. If anyone still wants to move there i would recommend Madison, Glastonbury, Avon, Simsbury, Ridgefield, Farmington or Orange. The list that was printed have the worst schools probably in the state. Taxes are extremely high and they are now putting in tolls which will make it extremely expensive for commuters. Think long and hard before choosing this state. At one time it was definitely one of the best states to live in the country, sadly that has changed.

  14. I want to move from Texas to CT but I don’t know where in CT I want to live. I was born and raised there but that was a long time ago, I’ve been back since then and it’s really beautiful. I currently live in San Antonio and is jam packed with people and getting worse by the day. There is construction all over the place, but it can’t keep up with the demand.

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