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New England’s Best Cities 2012

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

 

What is New England's Best City?

Will the Best City be a major metropolitan center like Boston?...

Today, GoLocal unveils the first comprehensive head-to-head comparison of the cities of New England. The analysis was developed over two months, utilizing thousands of data points to compare the largest 30 cities, by state, in the region.

Inspired by national rankings from media outlets such as US News & World Report, Forbes, and Business Week, GoLocal's evaluation compares each state's five largest cities, from the region's smallest contender (Rutland, VT) to its largest (Boston, MA) in five general areas: Economics/Prosperity, Safety, Culture, Health, and Overall Quality of Life. With metrics ranging from median household income, unemployment, school quality and crime rates to arts-related employment, wifi hotspots and walkability among others, the GoLocal propietary formula quantifies the many qualities that go into a city's fabric (for details on the methodology, go here).

The Cities

GoLocal took a close look at the 5 largest cities in each New England state:

Connecticut: Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury
Maine: Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn
Massachusetts: Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge
New Hampshire: Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Derry, Rochester
Rhode Island: Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence
Vermont: Burlington, Essex, South Burlington, Colchester, Rutland

Variety in sizes, attributes

...Or a mid-size city like Burlington, Vermont?

New England’s rural, northern states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont had cities with much smaller populations overall than their southern neighbors, but GoLocal applied per capita ratios through the rankings to get at fair ways to compare large cities to smaller places. The cities ranged in population, from Boston’s 617,594 to Rutland’s 16,495.

But as the New England’s Best Cities 2012 ranking will show, biggest doesn’t always mean best. Qualities of life, from healthy air, sunshine, walkability, parks and wifi hotspots, and low crime rates gave smaller, rural cities competitive mettle against larger cities’ assets such as more cultural resources. Prosperity factors such as median household incomes, unemployment, and cost of living didn’t correlate necessarily to size, either.

What emerged was the complex view of New England’s cities that one would expect. What cities hold the best combination of wealth, opportunity, lifestyle, healthiness, fun and good weather and environment that combine to make it the best? Read on.

For the full ranking list from #1 to #30, go here.

For profiles of the Top 10 New England’s Best Cities, go here.

For more coverage of New England's Best Cities 2012, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.

With research contributions from Scott O'Leary, Ian Poris Slater, Ora Star Boncore, Susanne Barrett, Jeffrey DiLeo.

 

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