Connecticut’s ‘Best Towns for Teens’


If you’re looking for the best Connecticut town to raise your teenager, you might want to direct your attention away from the state’s southwestern corner. A Hearst analysis of a variety of factors found that the best town for teenagers in the whole state is Woodstock, Conn., a small town in Connecticut’s northeast corner.

 To determine the state’s best towns, we crunched five sets of numbers: The town’s four-year graduation rates for high schoolers; the percentage of the population between the ages of 15 and 19; the percentage of teens holding a job; teen pregnancy rates; and arrests numbers for teens charged with drug offenses and driving while intoxicated. Woodstock earned a total of 84.3 points out of a possible 100.

Newtown is Southwestern Connecticut town with the highest score, and it didn’t hit the rankings until No. 14, with a total score of 78.5 out of 100. And while First Selectman Patricia Llodra said the factors calculated in our equation were among some of the town’s high points, she also had a laundry list of other amenities Newtown offers for teens, from a $2 movie theater, to the teen center, playing fields and theater programs.

Not a single Southwestern Connecticut town cracked the top 10 of our list. Though idyllic towns dotting the landscape around Fairfield County and surrounding areas are often heralded as havens for raising children, many of the smaller, more affluent spots were ranked near the middle of the list or below: Ridgefield came in at No. 38 with a score of 74.6; New Canaan came in at No. 72 with 69.6 points; Darien was No. 81 with 68.4 points; Westport was No. 106 with 65.2 points; and Greenwich was No. 119 out of 169, with 62.3 points. That may come as a surprise to many, according to a poll we published last week, in which readers voted Ridgefield the best spot in the area.

Check out how the entire state compares:

CaptureCurious how we came up with the rankings? Well, here’s a run through of our formula: Each of the five factors were given scores between 0 and 25. Towns with higher concentrations of teens, higher percentages of teens that are employed and higher graduation rates at the local high school received the highest scores, while towns with the lowest pregnancy rates earned top points for that factor (and there were a lot of places with 0 births in the teen cohort, earning them the full 25 points). Those first factors were all added together. After we reached that total, we subtracted each town’s drinking and drug arrest scores, which were scored from 0 to 25, with the most arrests per 1,000 teens receiving the most points.

So if say, Lake Woebegone were to find its way into the ranking, you’d likely see a perfect 100 for great graduation scores, tons of teens, a plethora of jobs, no teen pregnancy and no drinking and drug arrests. But as it is, the closest we got to 100 was the 84.3 points scored in Woodstock.

Maggie Gordon