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MoneyWatch: Top 10 Places to Live in 2011

6. Hanover, New Hampshire

Population: 8,600
Unemployment: 4.4%

This jewel of the Connecticut River Valley is home to Dartmouth College, a factor that contributes to its low unemployment rate: the college and its top-rated medical center provide over 12,000 jobs to the small town economy. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory is also headquartered here, offering even more job opportunities to local residents. These employers, combined with the culture afforded by Dartmouth, make Hanover an anomaly in the world of small towns. While those that thrive are usually located within close proximity to a large city, Hanover is quite far from any large urban center.

Every season offers something to do in Hanover. Residents can enjoy colorful foliage and apple picking in the fall, cross-country and alpine skiing in the winter, festivals in the spring and hikes along the Appalachian Trail in the summer. Visit one of the many museums or galleries, dine at a delicious restaurant or see a play at one of the surrounding theaters. Housing ranges from century-old Victorians to new construction in close proximity to downtown, and the average purchase price is $421,000.

The economy benefits from the health care and transportation industries in nearby Omaha, as well as the agricultural boom happening in the U.S. right now. Papillion offers a quality educational system, tons of green space and plenty of economic opportunities in a variety of fields. Best of all, the median home price is $211,000 – an increase of 2.9 percent from last year. With the perks Papillion offers and the economic growth the town is experiencing, it’s possible home prices will rise even more next year.

(iStock Photo)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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