20 years of Best Places

Money's top places have always had great schools, reasonable housing and a genuine sense of community. For many, the trick today is to maintain those virtues when everyone wants to move in. Here is an update on seven past winners.

Nashua, N.H. (1987/1997)
A Nashua men's group built the Landmark Building as a meeting place in 1898.
Nashua, N.H. (1987/1997)
 
1987 76,100 5.3% $175,000
1997 84,500 3.1% $200,000
2007 87,300 4.1% $285,000


When Money began naming best places in 1987, Nashua was riding high on the Massachusetts Miracle - a tech boom spilling over the New Hampshire border into the sleepy former mill town. Nashua had much to offer: low taxes, proximity to Boston, a strong local economy and an easy drive to White Mountain skiing and Atlantic Ocean resorts. The late '80s tech miracle faded, of course, but Nashua bounced back and landed the No. 1 spot again in 1997.

Since then Nashua's economy has become less tech-dependent, although the sector, along with health care, still dominates higher wage jobs. The Nashua Pride, a Can-Am minor league baseball team, arrived in 1998. Housing remains affordable, and unemployment is below the national average. And even today you'll find mention of Money's ranking on relocation chat boards. On the downside, the biggest job growth lately has been in the retail and service sectors. And while the city boasts a charming downtown, the Nashua Riverwalk - a showpiece in the works for decades - still isn't finished.

Biggest development since 1997: Efforts to get a train line to Nashua, a commuter link into Boston and the high-tech corridor, are finally moving forward, with funding approved in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Nashua, N.H.

Seattle

Rochester, Minn.

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

Gainesville, Fla.

Charlottesville, Va.

Sarasota
Best Places to Live: Top 100 This year, we focused on smaller places that offered the best combination of economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a real sense of community. (more)
Where homes are affordable Residents who buy real estate in these 25 towns see their incomes go the furthest. (more)
25 top-earning towns Wondering where the wealth is? Residents of these 25 places have the highest median household incomes in the country. (more)
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.