The Best College Towns In New Hampshire For 2020

Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our time ranking the best college towns in New Hampshire.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and New Hampshire is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in New Hampshire are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in New Hampshire for 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In New Hampshire For 2020

  1. Durham, NH (Photos | Homes)
  2. Keene, NH (Photos | Homes)
  3. Hanover, NH (Photos | Homes)
  4. Manchester, NH (Photos | Homes)
  5. Nashua, NH (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Durham, Keene and Hanover - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Durham ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 5 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 97 places in New Hampshire that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on New Hampshire check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In New Hampshire For 2020

Durham, NH
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 11,101
% Undergrad Pop.: 53.6% (1st best)
Median Rent: $917 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 573.1% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Durham: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Durham is a town in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 14,638 at the 2010 census. Durham is home to the University of New Hampshire.

Colleges: University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

Keene, NH
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 23,165
% Undergrad Pop.: 18.5% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $979 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 463.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Keene: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Keene is a city in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 23,409 at the 2010 census. It is the seat of Cheshire County.

Colleges: Keene State College, Keene Beauty Academy, Antioch University-New England

Hanover, NH
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 8,591
% Undergrad Pop.: 47.2% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,436 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 335.1% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Hanover: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hanover is a town along the Connecticut River in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 11,260 at the 2010 census. CNN and Money magazine rated Hanover the sixth best place to live in America in 2011, and the second best in 2007. "This just might be the best college town," read the headline of a story in the January-February 2017 issue of Yankee.

Colleges: Dartmouth College

Manchester, NH
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 111,657
% Undergrad Pop.: 12.4% (4th best)
Median Rent: $1,086 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 510.1% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Manchester: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Manchester is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England, an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 109,565, and its estimated 2016 population was 110,506. It is one of two seats of Hillsborough County, the state of New Hampshire's most populous county. Manchester is located near the northern end of the Northeast megalopolis, along the banks of the Merrimack River-which divides the city into eastern and western sections. It was first named by the merchant and inventor Samuel Blodgett. Blodget's vision was to create a great industrial center similar to that of the original Manchester in England, which was the world's first industrialized city.

Colleges: University of New Hampshire at Manchester, Manchester Community College, Southern New Hampshire University

Nashua, NH
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 88,606
% Undergrad Pop.: 2.9% (5th best)
Median Rent: $1,235 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 481.5% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Nashua: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Nashua is a city in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, Nashua had a total population of 86,494, making it the second-largest city in the state after Manchester. As of 2016 the population had risen to an estimated 87,882.

Colleges: Nashua Community College, Rivier University, Daniel Webster College

How'd we figure out the best college towns in New Hampshire?

To crunch our data on New Hampshire's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 5 places in New Hampshire with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In New Hampshire For 2020".

And it looks like Durham placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in New Hampshire, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

5 Best College Towns In New Hampshire

Rank City Population
1 Durham, NH 11101
2 Keene, NH 23165
3 Hanover, NH 8591
4 Manchester, NH 111657
5 Nashua, NH 88606

Best College Towns By State

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