For those looking to identify the best small cities in the nation - with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 – the search may not need to go further than Connecticut, according to a new analysis. Westport was the lone Connecticut community to reach the top 20 nationally, at number 19, with Shelton also earning a place in the top 100, at number 85, and Norwalk (#146), Trumbull (#157) and West Hartford (#159) also reaching the top 200.
The analysis, by the financial services website WalletHub, was based on 40 key indicators of livability, ranging from housing costs to school-system quality to restaurants per capita. The indicators were grouped into five categories – affordability, economic health, education & health, safety, and quality of life.
On those scales, Westport was ranked 20th in education & health, 65th in safety, 82nd in economic health, 258 in affordability and 595 in quality of life. Other than Westport, no Connecticut community reached the top 30 in any overall category.
"Of the 22 Connecticut cities analyzed, 18 ranked in the top half. This is an indication that many Connecticut communities are able to offer high quality of life at low living costs," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. "Westport in particular made it to the top of our ranking due to several factors. The city has a very healthy economy, demonstrated by the fact that its residents have one of the highest median household incomes, and had absolutely no personal bankruptcies filed in the past year. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the country."
Westport tied for fourth in the U.S. for the highest percentage of the population with a high school diploma or higher. Trumbull had the second lowest percentage of population in poverty in the U.S., just behind Plainfield, lllinois.
Just outside the top 200 communities, were Stratford, Milford, Middletown, Danbury, Newington, Torrington, Bristol, Manchester, and Naugatuck.
Nationwide, among the 1,200 communities included in the analysis, leading the way were Leawood, KS; Carmel, IN; Princeton, NJ; Brentwood, TN; Milton, MA; Needham, MA; Los Altos, CA; Littleton, CO; Newton, MA; and West Fargo, ND. Massachusetts placed three communities in the top 10 and a total of six in the top 20. Also reaching the top 20 from the Bay State were Arlington, Melrose and Wellesley.