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Nashua, N.H., named best place to live in U.S.

best/worst graphic

Davenport, Iowa, scrapes bottom

June 11, 1997
Web posted at: 12:35 p.m. EDT (1635 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A booming economy and low-crime rate has catapulted the city of Nashua, New Hampshire, to the top of Money Magazine's annual ranking of best places to live in the United States.

Davenport, Iowa, ranked last among the 300 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Money said Davenport is still struggling from a farm recession of the mid-1980s and has a high violent-crime rate.

The kudos for Nashua cap a remarkable turnaround for the former mill town along the Massachusetts border after a devastating recession dropped it to No. 233 in 1991.

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Matthew Chabot, co-owner of the Nashua Athletic Club, has no problem understanding why his city is No. 1.

"It's centrally located. You want to hit the mountains, you're there. You want to go to the ocean, you're there. You want to do the lakes, you're there. You want to go to the city ... you're 45 minutes from Boston," Chabot told The Associated Press.

Money Magazine's Carla Fried comments on the results in a CNN interview

Carla Fried
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The remarkable recovery of Nashua, New Hampshire
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Perception changes and so does the ranking
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Davenport, Iowa, ranks No. 300

This year's winner, unveiled in Money's July issue, also marks the first time the magazine has had a city repeat winner for the top spot. Nashua was named the best city to live in Money's first-ever ranking in 1987, according to Carla Fried, a senior writer for the magazine.

New Hampshire had two other cities in the top six. In fifth place is Portsmouth, a picturesque community along New Hampshire's short Atlantic coastline. Manchester, the state's biggest city with a population of only about 100,000, is sixth.

Eastern seaboard thrives

Rochester, Minnesota, came in second overall, up one spot from its No. 3 ranking last year. It was followed by the area including Monmouth and Ocean counties, New Jersey; and Punta Gorda, Florida.

Fried said the biggest surprise was that seven of the top 10 were located on the U.S. eastern seaboard. Rounding out the top 10 were last year's winner, Madison, Wisconsin; San Jose, California; Jacksonville, Florida; and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Money compiles its list by asking readers to name factors most important to them and collecting relevant data for the 300 largest metropolitan areas.

Among the key criteria listed this year were low crime, good access to health care and a solid economy, Fried said.


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