Study: Littleton beats Hanover, Portsmouth for young families


December 11, 2013
LITTLETON — Against some strong competition last week, the town finished high in another list of places to live. NerdWallet, a research and consumer advocacy organization based in California, lists Littleton third among New Hampshire towns as a location for young families.

The study used school, housing cost, and income data to create the town listing. Durham took the #1 spot, with Hooksett second. Littleton's third place topped Hanover, Lebanon, and Portsmouth, which rounded out the top six. Berlin, the only other North Country community on the list, finished fifteenth.

Divya Raghavan, senior analyst at NerdWallet, noted the importance of deciding where to settle down. "Where you live is probably the most important financial decision you will make," she said. Housing costs are central to a family's budget, the company believes.

NerdWallet concluded that Littleton's high Main Street occupancy rate and success of the industrial park were important factors in the town's success. Littleton's overall score was 58.5, more than three points higher than Hanover. Durham's top ranking was earned with 65 points.

School data was an important piece of the survey, NerdWallet reported. Standardized test scores compared to the state average was the basis for judging a town's schools. Littleton gained seven out of ten possible points for its school system score.

Low monthly homeowner costs were another item helping Littleton, NerdWallet reported. Fourth place Hanover costs nearly $3,000 per month for a homeowner, the study found, with Littleton's cost under half of that total. The town's $145,200 median home value was more than three times lower than Hanover's.

Communications analyst Laura Zulliger said NerdWallet believes information is key to consumer empowerment. Although a great deal of information on jobs and schools exists, the company is "trying to make that data a lot more transparent," Zulliger said.

For additional information, go to: www.nerdwallet.com. The New Hampshire town study is at http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2013/best-towns-new-hampshire-young-families.

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