Special Report

This is the Best County to Live in New Hampshire

The U.S. may have the largest economy in the world, but in other key measures indicative of quality of life, it is far from number one. Based on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, a tool used for gauging and comparing quality of life across geographies, the United States ranks as the 17th best country to live in worldwide.

While quality of life across the U.S. as a whole trails over a dozen other nations, there are parts of the country that, if analyzed through the lens of the HDI, would rank at or near the top of the list of the best places to live globally.

Inspired by the HDI, 24/7 Wall St. created an index consisting of three measures — life expectancy at birth, bachelor’s degree attainment, and poverty rate — to identify the best counties to live in in every state.

Rockingham County, located along New Hampshire’s only stretch of Atlantic coastline between Massachusetts and Maine, ranks as the best county in the state to live in.

Of all 10 counties in New Hampshire, Rockingham’s population is the healthiest, best educated, and most financially secure. Life expectancy at birth in the county is 80.9 years, over a year longer than the state average, and the county’s poverty rate of 4.6% is well below the 7.6% statewide rate. Both life expectancy and financial security tend to improve with educational attainment, and in Rockingham County, 41.4% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 37.0% of adults in New Hampshire.

Data on bachelor’s degree attainment and poverty are from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Data on average life expectancy at birth came from the 2021 County Health Rankings, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and are based on mortality data from the years 2017 to 2019. Supplemental data on population and income are from the ACS, and unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted for May 2021 and are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only independent cities, counties, and county equivalents with populations of 10,000 or more were considered.

Place Poverty rate (%) Adults with a bachelor’s degree (%) Life expectancy at birth (years)
Alabama: Shelby County 7.5 42.9 80.7
Alaska: Juneau City and Borough 7.7 38.4 81.1
Arizona: Maricopa County 13.8 32.7 80.5
Arkansas: Benton County 9.4 33.4 79.9
California: Marin County 7.2 59.5 85.4
Colorado: Pitkin County 6.7 60.8 94.4
Connecticut: Fairfield County 8.9 47.9 83.0
Delaware: New Castle County 11.4 36.2 78.4
Florida: St. Johns County 8.2 44.7 81.9
Georgia: Forsyth County 5.7 53.1 82.3
Hawaii: Honolulu County 8.3 35.0 82.5
Idaho: Teton County 4.5 41.0 83.8
Illinois: DuPage County 6.4 49.4 82.5
Indiana: Hamilton County 4.6 59.3 82.0
Iowa: Dallas County 5.2 50.4 82.3
Kansas: Johnson County 5.4 56.0 81.7
Kentucky: Oldham County 5.9 42.4 79.8
Louisiana: St. Tammany Parish 11.5 33.8 78.3
Maine: Cumberland County 9.0 47.6 80.2
Maryland: Howard County 5.0 62.6 83.2
Massachusetts: Middlesex County 7.4 56.3 82.4
Michigan: Leelanau County 6.1 44.7 82.7
Minnesota: Carver County 4.1 48.9 83.3
Mississippi: Madison County 9.6 48.4 76.5
Missouri: Platte County 6.2 43.1 80.2
Montana: Gallatin County 11.3 50.1 82.6
Nebraska: Sarpy County 5.9 39.8 81.3
Nevada: Douglas County 8.7 29.4 80.7
New Hampshire: Rockingham County 4.6 41.4 80.9
New Jersey: Hunterdon County 4.5 52.7 83.5
New Mexico: Los Alamos County 4.4 67.4 83.8
New York: New York County 15.8 61.3 85.3
North Carolina: Orange County 13.7 59.7 82.3
North Dakota: Burleigh County 8.1 35.8 81.6
Ohio: Delaware County 4.8 54.3 82.3
Oklahoma: Cleveland County 12.0 33.4 78.7
Oregon: Washington County 8.9 44.4 82.7
Pennsylvania: Chester County 6.4 53.0 81.4
Rhode Island: Bristol County 7.5 49.0 81.5
South Carolina: Beaufort County 10.2 41.2 82.9
South Dakota: Lincoln County 4.1 37.6 84.3
Tennessee: Williamson County 4.4 59.8 81.7
Texas: Collin County 6.3 52.3 82.7
Utah: Summit County 5.6 55.0 85.1
Vermont: Chittenden County 12.1 51.3 81.8
Virginia: Arlington County 6.8 75.3 85.9
Washington: San Juan County 10.2 49.8 86.2
West Virginia: Jefferson County 9.7 31.8 78.0
Wisconsin: Ozaukee County 5.3 49.0 82.1
Wyoming: Teton County 6.1 57.0 87.5