What's it like to live in Hartford, CT?

Ross Levin

Profile written by local expert:

Ross Levin

Don't let the historic architecture fool you: Even as one of the oldest metro areas in America, Hartford, Connecticut, has a lot to offer, both old and new.

Located in the Connecticut River Valley, Hartford has many cultural gems hidden amid rolling hills and wooded neighborhoods. In the centuries since its founding, Hartford has been home to several notable historic figures, including renowned authors Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Today, Hartford's central business district is home to a number of historic attractions and entertainment venues, and nearby vineyards, state parks and ski slopes provide plenty of recreational opportunities throughout the year.

Hartford attracts people from all walks of life, and its population is fairly diverse. The surrounding suburbs are great alternatives to urban living for families who can afford them. 


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Hartford, Connecticut is ranked:

#65 in Best Places to Live

#88 in Best Places to Retire

#24 in Best Places to Live for Quality of Life




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Hartford, CT Quick Stats

  • 1,209,367

    Metro Population

  • $60,820

    Average Annual Salary

  • 60.7° / 41.5°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 40.7

    Median Age

  • $217,358

    Median Home Price

  • 43.6 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.8%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,090

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 24.1 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Hartford, CT?

As one of the oldest metro regions in the nation, Hartford presents a fair number of opportunities to learn about U.S. history and culture. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has been showcasing ancient antiquities and European and American paintings since the mid-1800s. Literature buffs can tour the historic homes of authors Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Meanwhile, performance spaces, galleries and nightclubs help round out the cultural landscape. Food choices range from Brazilian to Asian fusion, and any guilt from the rich cuisine can be worked off on ski slopes or hiking trails throughout the Connecticut River Valley. 

What's the cost of living in Hartford, CT?

Daily expenses, such as groceries and transportation, are higher than the national average. But the median home sale price in Hartford is lower than the national median. 

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Hartford, Connecticut.

Value Index

Index Score: 6.5 /10

How we calculate this.

Hartford offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Hartford, CT.

What's the weather like in Hartford, CT?

Despite the beauty of the snow-covered Connecticut River Valley, many residents wish they could hibernate during the New England winter. Spring brings both rising temperatures and spirits. By the time summer hits, farmers markets line local streets, and arts and culture festivals are in full swing. People stay out and about during the brilliantly colored fall, going apple picking or hiking to see the leaves. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.4 in


3.9 in


4.0 in


4.1 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Hartford, CT?

In the city proper, people can easily move around by bus, and during the warmer months, by bike and on foot. The farther you venture from downtown, though, the harder it becomes to get around without a car.

Even so, public transit is definitely on the rise. The CTfastrak bus system supplies expedited service around downtown Hartford and to nearby New Britain via a bus-only freeway. A partnership among the Connecticut state government, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration provides commuter rail service between Hartford, New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts.

For those looking to get away, Bradley International Airport – New England's second-busiest airport – is just north of Hartford in Windsor Locks. Amtrak's Northeast Regional line offers train service to nearby suburbs, such as Windsor, Berlin and Meriden, as well as to metro areas farther out, including New Haven, Springfield, Massachusetts, Boston and New York City.

Commuting in Hartford, CT

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

24.1 minutes

2.5 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Hartford, CT?

Connecticut's population is unquestionably aging, and that trend is visible in Hartford. Additionally, more senior citizens are staying in the workforce longer, increasing the average age of the area's working population.

Hartford is also seeing slow but steady growth in its immigrant population, with new residents bringing their cultures and traditions to the area. The Frog Hollow neighborhood is home to a thriving Hispanic community, while the suburban town of New Britain has been celebrating its Polish heritage for decades.

Just about half of Hartford's residents are religious, and Hartford's diverse population means that people of myriad faiths can find a community. Many residents identify as Catholic, or with one of a number of different Christian sects, although Judaism, Islam and other Eastern religions are represented as well.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Hartford as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.