5 Worst Places to Live in New Hampshire

New Hampshire consistently ranks among the best places to live in the United States. Its low crime rates, beautiful natural scenery, quaint towns, and strong sense of community make it an appealing destination. However, like any state, New Hampshire has places less desirable than others. This article explores five of the worst places to live in New Hampshire, considering factors such as crime, cost of living, employment opportunities, and overall quality of life.


This article utilizes a mix of quantitative and qualitative data to identify the worst places to live in New Hampshire. The following sources provide the basis for our analysis:

  • FBI Uniform Crime Report: Crime rates and statistics.
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Demographic and economic data, including poverty rates and median household income.
  • Niche.com: Town and city rankings based on livability factors such as schools, housing, and amenities (https://www.niche.com/).
  • News Reports and Resident Reviews: Provide insights into local issues and the overall feel of an area.

5 Worst Places to Live in New Hampshire

Let’s delve into the towns and cities considered to be among the least desirable places to call home in New Hampshire.

1. Berlin

  • Location: Northern New Hampshire (Coos County)
  • Key Issues:
    • Severe economic decline: Berlin was once a thriving paper mill town, but the industry’s collapse has left it struggling with high unemployment and poverty rates.
    • Drug problems: The opioid crisis has hit Berlin particularly hard.
    • Limited opportunities: The lack of diverse job options and educational opportunities limits residents’ growth prospects.

2. Rochester

  • Location: Southeastern New Hampshire (Strafford County)
  • Key Issues:
    • High property crime rates: Rochester has significantly higher property crime rates than the national average.
    • Stagnant economy: Though not as severe as Berlin’s, Rochester’s economy still offers limited job opportunities and relatively low wages.
    • Urban feel: Rochester has a more urban character than many typical New Hampshire towns, which may not be appealing to those seeking a more rural or small-town lifestyle

3. Franklin

  • Location: Central New Hampshire (Merrimack County)
  • Key Issues:
    • Economic struggles: Franklin’s declining manufacturing base has contributed to economic hardship.
    • Aging infrastructure: The city faces challenges with aging infrastructure and urban blight.
    • Limited amenities: Franklin lacks the vibrant cultural and recreational attractions found in other New Hampshire towns.

4. Claremont

  • Location: Western New Hampshire (Sullivan County)
  • Key Issues:
    • High poverty rates: Claremont contends with some of the highest poverty rates in the state.
    • Substance abuse concerns: Drug problems, particularly opioids, plague the community.
    • Declining population: Claremont has experienced a steady decline in population, leading to a sense of stagnation.

5. Somersworth

  • Location: Southeastern New Hampshire (Strafford County)
  • Key Issues:
    • High crime rates: Somersworth has higher crime rates than other New Hampshire communities of its size.
    • Limited economic diversity: Economic opportunities are relatively limited in Somersworth, hindering potential growth.
    • Housing costs: While generally more affordable than the coast, living costs in Somersworth can still be a strain, especially with stagnant wages.

Important Considerations

  • Subjectivity: What makes a place “bad” to live in is subjective. Some individuals may thrive in urban environments, even if they have higher crime rates. Others might value affordability above all else.
  • Change over time: Communities can change. Towns experiencing economic hardship might implement revitalization strategies, improving over time. Conversely, currently desirable places can face unforeseen challenges.
  • The beauty of New Hampshire: Even the “worst” places in New Hampshire often possess redeeming qualities. Access to nature, a sense of community, and relative safety compared to other states might remain positive aspects.


Choosing where to live is a highly personal decision that involves weighing various priorities. While the cities and towns mentioned in this article have their challenges, it’s crucial to remember that every community is a mix of good and bad. There are often pockets of revitalization within these areas, and dedicated individuals working to improve their towns.

It’s also essential to recognize that New Hampshire, overall, is a remarkable place to live. Its consistently high quality-of-life rankings are a testament to the opportunities, natural beauty, and strong communities found throughout most of the state.

Additional Considerations for Choosing Where to Live in New Hampshire

If you’re considering a move to New Hampshire, here are some crucial factors to weigh beyond the typical crime and economic statistics:

  • Proximity to amenities and services: Do you need to be near hospitals, major shopping areas, or entertainment hubs? Some of New Hampshire’s more rural towns offer greater tranquility but less convenience.
  • School quality: If you have children or plan to, school district ratings can be a major consideration. New Hampshire generally boasts strong schools, but there are variations between towns.
  • Taxes: New Hampshire is known for not having a state income tax, but significant property taxes can vary greatly depending on location.
  • The “feel” of the town: Every town in New Hampshire has a unique personality. Some are traditional New England towns with central town squares, while others are more sprawling or have a more modern feel. It’s worth visiting locations you’re considering to get a sense of whether the vibe suits you.

Resources for Further Research

  • New Hampshire city and town websites: These often provide detailed information about local statistics, services, and events.
  • Community forums and social media groups: Connect with current residents to gain genuine insights into living in a specific area.
  • Real estate websites: Housing affordability and availability offer clues into a community’s health and desirability.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to keep in mind that lists like these create a snapshot in time. When researching potential places to live, always utilize a variety of sources, and if possible, visit towns on your shortlist in person. Ultimately, the best place to live in New Hampshire is the one that aligns with your individual needs, values, and lifestyle.

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MBS Staff
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