Rating Connecticut Cities and Towns: 2012 (Part Four)

Rating Connecticut Cities and Towns: 2012 (Part Four)

Connecticut Cities over 50K residentsThis is the fourth and final entry in our series highlighting the rating of  Connecticut cities and towns by Connecticut Magazine. In our first post, we focused on the smallest cities in our state, those with populations between 10,000 and 15,000; in our second post, we highlighted cities between 25,000 and 50,000 residents; and in our third post, we spoke about the locales with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 people. To recap, the publication set the following criteria for the rankings:

They first sorted the localities into four groups based on population:

  • 10,000 – 15,000
  • 15,000 – 25,000
  • 25,000 – 50,000
  • 50,000+ (Towns with populations below 10,000 will be featured in their own four part series, coming soon!)

Then, information was collected in the quality-of-life criteria that are most important to residents:

  • Schools
  • Crime Rate
  • Cost of Living
  • Local Economy
  • Leisure/Cultural Outlets

Then the numbers were crunched and rankings were awarded based on how the towns scored in those criteria, with a “1” being the best score possible. In this last part of the series, we’ll be taking a look at the next population segment, 50,000 residents and over, and specifically those in our market area:

50,000+: Hamden Slips, Meriden Moves Up

Hamden continued its slow downward slide, moving from #5 in 2007 to #7 in 2009 and now to #8 in 2011’s rankings. They showed a drop in every category except Economy, where they retained their rating of 4 from 2009. On the other hand, Meriden jumped 5 spots in this year’s ranking, but not because of any major changes on their part: while they maintained their ratings in Crime Rate and Cost of Living from last time, they lost a point each in Education and Economy. However, those losses were offset by a 2 point gain in Leisure, leaving with the same point total (58) as last time. Their apparent rise in the rankings is largely due to the fall of several towns that were above them in 2009, specifically New Haven,  Hartford, West Haven, Waterbury and New Britain. Notable, however, is that New Haven and Hartford continue to rank #1 and #2 in the Leisure category due to their numerous cultural outlets such as concert venues, theaters and restaurants, and that Waterbury retains its #1 ranking in Cost of Living despite being near the bottom in Economy.

Here are the full results for this population segment:

Connecticut Cities over 50K residents

Remember, these rankings are not to be considered the last word in what the quality of life is in a particular city/town; however, they are a starting point and can be used as a point of comparison when making a decision about where to live in the state. There are many reasons for liking – or not liking – a specific city or town that transcend any statistical ranking or report, and only you can decide if a place is right for you and your family.

So, that ends this four part series ranking the larger towns and cities of Connecticut. One thing we noticed while doing these posts is an almost perfectly inverse relationship between Cost of Living and the other four categories. If a town has a low cost of living, it invariably did poorly in Education, Crime Rate and Economy; in higher cost of living areas, the schools, crime rate and economy (and, to some extent, leisure activities) were all corresponding better. For the purposes of this survey, the cost of living took into account the median price of a single family home sold between January and June 2011 and the local property tax burden based on the 2011 equalized mill rate. Since there are more factors that influence an area’s cost of living, the observed disparity may be irrelevant in this case. But, we’re not economists nor do we play one on TV!

Be sure to watch for our upcoming four part series where we’ll cover the rankings of towns in Connecticut with populations under 10,000 people!

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