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The Best Towns in Connecticut for Young Families

Nov. 11, 2013
Mortgages, Studies
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A first home is more than a piece of property. You buy into the community — including its schools and the job market. To help with this major decision, NerdWallet analyzed data to find the best towns in Connecticut for young families. Here’s what we considered:

Does the town have good public schools? We compiled scores from, an organization that provides a school rating from 1-10, with 10 as the highest score. Higher ratings led to a higher score.

Can you afford to live there? We looked at the cost of homeownership, including the median home value as well as monthly homeowner costs such as mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher score.

Is the town prosperous? We evaluated the local economy by looking at its median household income and income growth over the past decade. Higher median income and strong growth led to a higher score.

The best towns in Connecticut for young families

1. Orange

Orange is a small community just west of New Haven. Schools here are excellent, with a rating of 9 out of 10 from GreatSchools. Turkey Hill School students in 2012 outperformed the statewide average by over 10 percentage points in Connecticut’s reading, math and writing tests. On the business front, in 2012, 32 new businesses opened their doors.

2. Trumbull

Trumbull is near Bridgeport and it’s also part of the New York metro area. In 2013, the town was named the top booming suburb in Connecticut by Coldwell Banker. The real estate company’s analysis included data on year-over-year increases in employment and it focused on suburban amenities, such as grocery stores, banks and quality schools.

3. Newington

Newington is a few miles from Hartford, the state capital and a major player in the insurance industry. Newington High School offers dozens of college scholarships for students. Here, over 30% of the school’s seniors take an AP exam.

4. West Hartford

In past years, West Hartford was named the most educated town in the Greater Hartford region — as well as a best place to live for families and older residents, too. Education is also strong, with schools that have been ranked on lists including the most rigorous by the Washington Post and the best in the state by U.S. News & World Report.

5. Wethersfield

Wethersfield is close to Hartford, and it is one of the most scenic communities in the area, especially the Old Wethersfield Historic District with its pre-Revolutionary War architecture, an antique shop and galleries. The town includes over 644 acres of parkland, with space for basketball and tennis as well as a 10-mile bike trail.

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6. Darien

Residents in Darien commute to work in Norwalk, Stamford or the Big Apple, which is about 40 miles away. Not only is real estate more expensive here, the community is also one of the top-earning towns in the U.S., according to CNNMoney. Residents here enjoy scenic views, with waterfront property on the Long Island Sound. Schools here are excellent: Darien High School consistently outperforms its rivals on the SAT’s math portion, and GreatSchools rates the district a perfect 10.

7. Milford

Milford sits between Bridgeport and New Haven on the Long Island Sound coastline. The city is one of the oldest towns in Connecticut, and the town green is one of the longest in New England. Top employers in the area include the board of education, Milford Hospital and Subway, whose world headquarters are in town.

8. Wallingford Center

Wallingford’s central business district — Wallingford Center — is a census-designated place that sits between New Haven and Hartford. The community supports new businesses, with discounts on utilities and property-tax cuts in some sections of town. Wallingford is home to several industrial parks, too, which has helped pave the way for medical, health care, service and technology enterprises to open shop.

9. North Haven

North Haven is in New Haven County, a few miles from New Haven and Yale University. The Greater New Haven area prides itself on its diverse mix of urban, suburban and rural communities as well as its location near the natural beauty of nearby Long Island Sound. Top employers include Covidien, a medical-device design and manufacturing firm, and Quinnipiac University, a private university in Hamden.

10. Westport

Westport is a coastal town between Bridgeport and Stamford. It boasts three beaches on Long Island Sound and a state park, Sherwood Island, where residents can swim and picnic. The community is one of the most affluent in the area, with a median household income of $155,792.


The best towns in Connecticut for young families

Scroll right to see all categories.

RankCityNearest big cityGreatSchools ratingMedian home valueMonthly owner costsMedian household incomeIncome change 1999-2011Score
1OrangeNew Haven, Bridgeport9$415,900$2,655$104,33531.5%69.2
2TrumbullNew Haven, Bridgeport9$450,200$2,978$106,05833.4%68.1
4West HartfordHartford8$312,900$2,237$80,06129.8%66.3
7MilfordNew Haven, Bridgeport7$334,800$2,261$79,95630.7%62.2
8Wallingford CenterNew Haven, Hartford7$253,300$1,835$57,51525.5%60.9
9North HavenNew Haven7$328,800$2,289$81,78924.5%58.2
10WestportNorwalk, Bridgeport101,000,000+$4,000+$155,79230.0%57.6
11SheltonNew Haven7$375,900$2,333$83,12823.5%56.6
12Windsor LocksHartford5$212,900$1,698$62,21227.4%55.9
13BristolHartford, Waterbury5$217,100$1,747$60,03226.6%54.8
14MiddletownHartford, New Haven5$239,000$1,957$59,96627.1%53.5
15East HavenNew Haven4$240,500$1,890$63,13631.7%53.0


Our analysis included 38 cities and towns in Connecticut. Only places with populations over 10,000 were included. The score for each location is based on the following data:

  1. GreatSchools city rating. GreatSchools ratings are calculated by averaging the weighted overall rating for each school in the city.
  2. Median home value for 2011 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
  3. Monthly homeowner costs for 2011 from the American Community Survey.
  4. Median household income for 2011 from the American Community Survey.
  5. Income change from 1999 to 2011 from the Census Bureau.

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