Education Quality Index score:
No sales tax, no income tax. In a state with 4.9% unemployment, how can Portsmouth sweeten the pot even further?
By giving its residents a lovely waterfront view, surrounding them with historic homes, churches, lighthouses and other attractions and keeping them well-sedated with a strong local brewing scene that includes large Red Hook and Smuttynose breweries.
The average Portsmouth family takes home $80,820 a year and keeps a whole lot more of it thanks to the state's "Live Free or Die" approach to taxation. The jobs are pretty steady, too, as
Hospital Corporation of America
(HCA - Get Report)
, Liberty Mutual and the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs' National Passport Center and Visa Center provide strong alternatives to commuting to Boston each day. The area also has a burgeoning biotech community that counts
(TMO - Get Report)
, Lonza Group and
(LH - Get Report)
among its top employers.
Oh, and it's absolutely beautiful. Roughly 63% of the city is dense and walkable, and the portions near Pleasant Street and Route 1B by the water have fine views of the harbor and the Piscataqua River. It's why a sizable portion of the population call this town home but takes a charter bus or a commuter rail train from Newburyport, Mass., into work in Boston each day.
As school systems go, Portsmouth's is near the top of our list. Portsmouth High School gets a near-perfect score. Some of the lower and middle schools could use some polish, but homeowners should know that the almost $330,000 median price of their home isn't going to waste.