A Guide to Moving to: New Hampshire

(Everything you need to know - and more)

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Moving to New Hampshire, huh? Or maybe you’re just kickin’ the idea around. Either way, you've come to the right place. We’ve spent our days, nights and even a few weekends putting together this lil’ ol’ insider's guide to all things New Hampshire, just for you.

It’s chockablock with stats, facts, history and fun trivia to help you adjust to your new state like a champ. Or if you’re still wondering whether it’s the right place for you, this should tidy up those loose-ended questions. No matter where you choose to move in New Hampshire, you can find affordable home insurance within our network. Let’s dive on in.

New Hampshire for Beginners

Also referred to as The Granite State because of its “rocky” history, New Hampshire is currently home to about 1,350,575 people. About 7,780 of those people moved here in 2017 alone. After all, who wouldn't be interested in moving to the state that gave us such household names as Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, Mandy Moore, Robert Frost, John Irving and Seth Meyers?

As a New England state that dates back to Colonial American times, New Hampshire is known for its breathtaking scenery and old-school charm. The terrain here is a mix of sea coast, mountains, lakes and rivers, and the locals enjoy all four seasons each year.

And believe us, there are enough outdoor activities in this state to keep you entertained no matter when you visit. You'll also find plenty of older cities and historic towns packed with nostalgia, charm and creaky floorboards. 

Job Market

Let’s talk about jobs. Now, whether you’re packing your current career along for the ride or looking for something new, we want to give you a snapshot of the current scene and what’s hot.

First, New Hampshire currently has an unemployment rate of 2.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is super-low. Way to go, New Hampshirites! It's worth taking into consideration, however, that the minimum wage is only $7.25/hour, the same as the Federal minimum, according to minimum-wage.org.

Of course, you're probably wondering about specific career fields. Well, the current fastest-growing jobs in the state include: nurse practitioner, home health aid, physical therapist, web developer, machinist, medical technician and industrial mechanic. 

Quite the nice variety of growing job fields, we'd say. But let's get to the juicy stuff—the jobs that'll make you some serious green. The current highest-paying jobs in the state include: surgeon, OB/GYN, psychiatrist, dentist, CEO, nurse anesthetist and architect manager. If you possess any of these skills, you'll do just fine here (at least financially).

Housing

Unless you're dreaming of sleeping under the stars (which you can actually see in this state) for the rest of your life, you'll need a place to live once you move. But what's the housing market in this place look like, you ask? Well…

As far as the values of homes in this state go, the current median value is $267,700, which is up 8.2% from last year. You'll also find that homes are listed on the market these days for an average of $297,900. But if you’re just looking to rent a house, instead of putting a ring on one, you can expect to pay around $1,750/month.

And the good news is, there’s actually tons of new development underway in the southeastern corner of the state, from Nashua to Portsmouth and Dover. There are also plenty of new places popping up in and around Concord and in central-New Hampshire, around Meredith. So if you’re looking to build, or at least buy a relatively new home, you should be set here.

Now, if apartment life is more your speed, there’s a whole range of options and prices you can expect to see scattered throughout the state. In Portsmouth, rent for a one-bedroom is a staggering $2,033/month. In Concord however, you’ll pay quite a bit less at about $1,444/month.

But If you want to go even cheaper, head to Rochester or Hudson, where the same one-bedroom will go for between $818/month and $902/month. Sometimes you may not have the flexibility to shop for different cities to move to, but it gives you a good picture of where you might stand.

Culture and Natives

On sites like quora, movoto and city-data, New Hampshire residents chimed in about their fellow New Hampshirees. Some keywords that turned up repeatedly to describe the locals include: "friendly," "reserved" and "helpful." One resident even mentioned that the "people are as diverse as the wildlife" in New Hampshire.

Another comment was that while you won't have much trouble making new friends here, you won't have much luck with dating—apparently it's hard to date non-natives, as they don't seem to "get" New Hampshire, the way those born and bred in The Granite State do. 

The Granite State definitely is not overflowing, either. As the fifth-smallest state in the country by land area, it ranks as the 42nd most populous and the 21st most population-dense. So you'll have plenty of room to spread out from others and breathe in that fresh mountain air. 

A favorite dish among locals is "chop suey," but we’re not talking the Chinese-American fusion staple. This version mashes up macaroni with ground beef, onions and green peppers in a type of tomato sauce. 

You'll find that the people here are "honest" and "hard-working" with a "New England edge"—according to locals. New Hampshirites also are said to have a holistic approach to their health, and life, in general. Additionally, you'll find a lot of the locals are pretty outdoorsy and spend much of their time skiing, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or swimming. Residents just can't get enough of their scenic snapshot of the great outdoors.

There's a bit of a dialect here that you'll have to adjust a bit to. For one thing, natives keep their clothes stored in a "draw," instead of a "drawer." Conversing here is a real time-saver when you skip entire syllables—it really adds up. You might want to use that extra time to check out "ManchVegas" (also known as Manchester), which residents declare is the home of impulse shopping marathons and clubbing binges.

The Granite State Trivia

Get ready to be hit by a brief rapid-fire trivia round, NH-style. The first public library in the country was located in Peterborough and was established in 1833. In other firsts, New Hampshire was the first state to declare independence from England, and one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage.

But in seconds, New Hampshire is the second in the country to vote in the primaries come election season, and therefore politics make a pretty big scene here. It is, however, a “swing state,” with a strong representation of both major political parties. 

New Hampshire can be summed up by its "quaint towns and large expanses of wilderness" that the residents totally geek out over. And with its strong Colonial history, you'll find plenty of 19th century buildings worth snapping a pic and staring at. 

Apparently the weather here is typically beautiful, too—or so some of the locals say. Winters may be cold, long and harsh, but they're also sunny and bright with clear skies—as opposed to gray, overcast and dreary. The foliage in autumn was also pointed out time and time again by locals as one of the major perks, just like in about every other New England state.

Like we already said, New Hampshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. It also has the lowest poverty rate, and one of the highest life expectancies. With all of that fresh air combined with the locals' holistic attitudes towards life, it's easy to see why people here are so happy and healthy. (Having a good job and a decent amount of money helps too, of course.)

New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die"—but what does this really mean to them? It sounds kinda like a James Bond movie, honestly. One resident said, "I believe 'Live Free' means that we as citizens of this great state have an opportunity to speak our minds and have a voice in the actions of our government, its policies, agencies and statutes."

The "or Die" part, she said, suggests that you can leave the state if you disagree with their way of life. Another resident chimed in, "I think it is meant to be aspirational; to encourage people to fight for what they believe should be within their control rather than dictated and forced upon them by another."

Can't-Miss New Hampshire Fun + Activities

Whether you're stoked to check out that old-school Colonial architecture or just sit outside and breathe in the air, New Hampshire has got plenty to offer you.

Here are just a few of the state's main attractions:

  • Andres Institute of Art Sculpture Garden: In Brookline, you'll find 60+ sculptures from artists 'round the globe decorating a group of hiking trails. If you're a fan of blending art and physical fitness, you’ll definitely want to check this place out. 
  • American Classic Arcade Museum: In Laconia, the Funspot arcade has been transformed into the largest arcade museum in the world. What was already the largest arcade now holds more than 200 vintage cabinet games, featuring everything from KISS pinball machines to Tetris. They even host annual classic video game and pinball tournaments here. Bring your baggie of quarters for this one.
  • Ice Castles: Arguably the most breathtaking attraction on our list is found in Lincoln, on the Hobo Railroad grounds in the White Mountains. You'll find caves, tunnels, fountains, slides and sculptures all made from ice. At night, the attractions are lit up by bright neon lights. It's absolutely incredible, but incredibly cold, too.
  • Cat Alley: This public alleyway in Manchester was transformed into an arts scene featuring nothing but kitties (full-grown cats, too). It began as a campaign to revitalize the street, and the resulting project came about from several local artists. So if you wanna see some cat-tastic artwork, take a stroll down the alley.
  • Exeter UFO Festival: This annual festival commemorates the state's most infamous extraterrestrial event. In 1965, a local 18-year-old hitchhiker reported a sighting of strange bright lights to the police. He was so deeply affected by it that he convinced the cops to come check out the strange and disturbing sight with him, and they saw it for themselves. Though the “event” never repeated, locals still gather to honor its memory each year.

Pros and Cons of Living in The Granite State

Before you finish packing, we want to take the time to point out what New Hampshiremen and New Hampshirewomen have to say about their state. These pros and cons of life here are straight from their mouths, and not ours.

Pros (as agreed upon by real New Hampshire residents):

  • Politically involved: Being the second state in the country to vote in the primaries, New Hampshire has the benefit of an engaging and active political scene. Politicians storm the state before each approaching election and try to win votes. As a result, locals get involved early here and feel well-informed for making their decisions come election time.
  • Voted the "best state to live in": Our research turned up several mentions of New Hampshire having been voted the "best state to live in," across multiple studies and sources over recent years. One is the highly respected HomeSnack 2018 study, which ranks the state at #1 yet again. Rankings are determined by factors such as low unemployment rates, high income and population density. 
  • Access to all kinds of sights: Residents said that one of their favorite things about living in The Granite State is their proximity to pretty much any type of terrain you can imagine, from beaches and mountains to lakes and forests. They're also in close proximity to Boston if they wanna swing by Fenway and get rid of all that clean air they’ve been suckin’ down. 
  • Crime...? What crime?: Another reason New Hampshire consistently ranks among the best states to live in is  its super-low crime rate. The state was ranked 3rd overall for public safety, and 1st for the lowest property crime, in 2018. 

Cons (as agreed upon by real New Hampshire residents):

  • Long, harsh winters: Many a resident complained of the long, harsh winters. Locals experience more cold months each year than they'd like, and winters here aren't to be taken lightly. Mother Nature tends to dump heavy, thick blankets of snow on residents each year without a single apology. New Hampshire ranked itself at #15 on thrillist's list titled "Every State Ranked by How Miserable Its Winters Are.
  • Soaring property taxes: New Hampshire holds the honor of having the third-highest property taxes in the entire country. Residents complained that while they may save some serious dough on rent costs and home insurance costs, their property taxes wash all those savings out. It’s a give and take kinda thing.
  • Bugs: Locals were quick to mention annoying, creepy and downright dangerous little pests that linger in their home state. Brown recluse (and other) spiders, black flies and disease-carrying ticks were called out among the worst, 'round here. 
  • "Behind the times": We borrowed this phrase from a resident on city-data. Apparently New Hampshire has some serious issues with Wi-Fi - many locals cried over their lack of high-speed Internet access consistently throughout the state. Cell phone service is said to go in and out depending on where you are, too, and even landline users experience dropped calls. And while that old architecture is nice to look at, some residents said that their older houses are much more trouble to maintain than they are worth. 

Weird Laws

Now it's time for one of the most fun (and ridiculous) sections of this guide. You're here to get the lowdown on all things New Hampshire, and we've promised to bring it. We've put together a list of the craziest, eyebrow-raisingest laws still in existence in the state— all for your entertainment.

Here are a just few:

  • Hunters can't keep pet ferrets. But if you’re a hunter, wouldn’t you have already shot it? 
  • You can't steal seaweed from the beach. Put it back, kids.
  • You may not jam to music in local venues. Keep it on the inside, will ya? 
  • You can't sell the clothes you're wearing to pay off a gambling debt. Looks like you'll have to find some other creative form of payment to settle your debts here.

Setting up Shop in Ye Olde New Hampshire

Well, there ya have it—our insider's look deep into the state of New Hampshire, in all its glory. Unfortunately, it’s just not physically possible for us to address your entire list of concerns about such a huge, life-altering decision. But we hope we brought you enough of the goods to keep you going down the right path.

If vintage arcade game hangouts, Colonial architecture and tasty air are your thing, then you’ve probably already got your mind made up. Just make sure you're covered red with an affordable home insurance policy.

Good luck, and sorry in advance about the Wi-Fi. But hey, more time to read a book. Woo-hoo!

NOTE: if you decide New Hampshire isn't right for you, we've covered all the other states, too, to help you find YOUR spot. If mountains, lakes and forests aren’t your thing, have you thought about Louisiana?

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