11 Pros and Cons of Living in New Hampshire

Can the lack of income tax and low crime rate outweigh the harsh winters and minimal diversity? Examine all the pros and cons of living in New Hampshire.
Written by Matthew Lynaugh
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
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From the stellar school systems to the sweeping natural beauty, there’s plenty to love about living in New Hampshire. On the other hand, the high property taxes, brutal winters, and lackluster job market could be enough to sway you away from the Granite State.
If you’re debating moving to New Hampshire, it’s important that you weigh out the pros and cons before finalizing this momentous decision. To some, the move to this quiet Northeastern state might sound ideal, while the drawbacks may be too difficult for others to bear.
Which side of the proverbial scale will you land? Let
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Pro: Minimal crime

When choosing a place to call home, you want to make sure it will be somewhere safe—and New Hampshire is just that. When compared to the rest of the U.S., New Hampshire’s crime rate is 83% lower than the national average and ranks as the second safest state according to 24/7 Wall Street.
Of the few crimes reported in New Hampshire in recent years, the majority have been property crimes, and not violent crimes. Sleep easy in your new home—New Hampshire has the lowest rate of burglary in the country. New Hampshire also ranks as the fourth lowest state for car theft in the country.
If you’re looking for the exact location in New Hampshire to call home, Sullivan County is the safest city with a crime rate of only 747 per 100,000 people, while Belknap has the highest crime rate with 2,214 per 100,000 people. Although Belknap comes in as the most unsafe city in the state, it remains well below the national average.

Pro: Size and proximity

New Hampshire is the fifth smallest state in the country, and what the state lacks in area size, it makes up for in drivable perks. When you live in a small state, you are never far from anything within its borders—in fact, it would take you less than four hours to drive from the Canada border all the way down to Nashua. And it takes only two hours to drive from the furthest point east to the furthest point west
We can’t discuss New Hampshire without mentioning its southern metropolis neighbor,
Boston
. Settling down in southern New Hampshire lets you experience working in Boston while not having to live in the busy urban community. Want to catch sporting events for one of Boston’s many storied franchises? No problem, Beantown is as little as 30 miles away!

Con: High property tax

On the other side of the coin, living in a peaceful state comes at a price. Smart Asset lists the average property tax rate in New Hampshire as 2.05%, with a median property tax payment of $5,768 per year. For comparison, the national average is only 1.07%, making it nearly twice as expensive to live in New Hampshire.
Sullivan County gives a clear look at the direct correlation between crime rate and property taxes. Sullivan has a tax rate of 2.71%, making it the most expensive area in the state. Conversely, Coos County is slated as the most affordable place to own a home, but that results from the relatively low property value. 

Pro: Excellent education system

Schools should be at the top of your priority list if you are moving with a family or plan to start one. According to U.S. News, New Hampshire has the fourth best school system for Pre-K through 12th-grade education. Scoring high marks in categories such as student-to-teacher ratio and graduation rate, you can be confident in the quality of schools available here.
New Hampshire is also home to some of the finest universities in the country. Of course, there’s Dartmouth, but there are also many revered public state schools like the University of New Hampshire and Keene State University that offer lower tuition to in-state students. 
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Con: Cruel weather

If you want to be able to hit the slopes, the long, harsh winters aren’t a bad thing, but for everyone else, it’s a serious snag. On paper, winter in New Hampshire is considered November to February, but recent trends show cold fronts starting as early as the beginning of October. The average annual snowfall here is over 71 inches, with Mount Washington receiving 23 feet each year, making it the snowiest place in the US.
Aside from the shortened warm seasons and prolonged winters, New Hampshire is prone to its fair share of severe weather hazards. In addition to the common snowstorms, the Granite State is susceptible to wildfires, hurricanes, and even tornadoes as well. You’ll need to equip your home with different weather-resistant materials and emergency items.
MORE: Does car insurance cover weather damage?

Pro: No sales or income tax

This will come as a pleasant surprise to anyone after reading about the property taxes—New Hampshire has zero sales and income tax! As only one of five states to not implement a sales tax, what you see is what you pay in New Hampshire. 
There’s no avoiding the federal government dipping its hands into your paycheck, but the same can’t be said about the state government. While nearby states impose income taxes up to 10%, New Hampshire keeps that number at an easy-to-read zero. Sure, you might make up for it in property tax, but it never hurts to see a few more bucks in each paycheck.

Con: Minimal public transportation

You might want to look elsewhere if you don’t plan on buying a vehicle right away, or you fancy using mass transit to protect the environment. New Hampshire has become notorious for its lackluster public transportation system with only a couple of cities offering a bus line. 
As we said, New Hampshire is a very driveable state, but only if you have a car or are in a position to purchase one. If a vehicle and the expenses that come with one aren’t in your budget at the moment, we wouldn’t advise moving here. 

Pro: Unique shopping experience

New Hampshire is filled with small, quaint towns that all seem to have a Main Street running through them. Aside from all the Ma and Pa shops, just about every town’s central district has one thing in common: thrift stores. Whether you have something specific you’re looking for, or just want to browse for fun, you never know what you may come across. 
Additionally, shopping at thrift stores can do a whole lot of good. Many thrift stores take the gently used goods and donate the sales proceeds to charity. Not only can someone’s trash become your treasure, but you can also help those less fortunate at the same time.

Con: Uninspiring cuisine

Maine has its world-famous lobsters and Vermont covers nearly everything in maple syrup, but the same can’t be said of New Hampshire. Sadly, the Granite State can’t even get mentioned in the same sentence as some other Northeastern states when it comes to pizza (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut may never stop fighting for that crown).
Sure, there is plenty of farming throughout the state, but unless you are prioritizing home-grown, farm-to-table style dining, this state might not be for you. Offering minimal menu diversity and very few Michelin star restaurants, New Hampshire is the complete opposite of a foodie’s dream. In fact, Thrillest ranked the state as the 46th best state to eat in.
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Con: Little cultural diversity

There is very little diversity in New Hampshire—which contributes to its homogeneous dining options. According to the 2021 Census, a whopping 92.8% of residents identify as White, with Hispanic or Latino as the next largest demographic represented at just 4.4%

Pro: Natural beauty

With more lakes and forests than we can count, there is always a new crevice to be explored in New Hampshire. And, you can experience all four seasons in the state’s beautiful parks. 
If you love outdoor recreation,Lake Winnipesaukee provides 40,000 acres for the best summertime activities. Take advantage of the gigantic waterway with jetski and boat rentals, or catch some rays along the shore. If winter sports are more your thing, Mount Washington offers some of the best slopes for skiing and snowboarding

Is New Hampshire a good place to live in?

Yes, New Hampshire is a good place to live, but like anywhere else in the country, it is going to have some flaws. If you are seriously considering moving here, you need to contemplate all the pros and cons before reaching your final decision.
New Hampshire is a great state for:
  • Education
  • Low crime rates
  • Nature lovers
If you have a tough time overlooking the property taxes or severe winters, though, New Hampshire might not be the place for you. 
MORE: How to get car insurance discounts

How to upgrade your car insurance in New Hampshire

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FAQs

Both grade-level schools and colleges in New Hampshire received stellar ranks compared to the rest of the country. U.S. News ranks their Pre-K through grade 12 school system as the fourth best, while they rank their high-education thirteenth in the nation.
In a word, terrible. New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is the snowiest place in the entire US with 23 feet of annual snowfall, and the average temperature in the coldest months dips down to a bone-chilling 17 degrees. If you love to hit the slopes, this may sound like music to your ears, but for many others, the winters here can be a dealbreaker.
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