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Connecticut’s ‘Best Towns for Teens’

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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.

Categories: General
Maggie Gordon

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14 Responses

  1. Rich says:

    Eric, Thank you. Since you left things have been looking up.

  2. eric says:

    I’m sorry but Woodstock is a terrible place for teens. There’s nothing to do except farm and drink. If you have to leave town for any sort of entertainment that doesn’t involve sheep or cows, you’re town is not that great. Same goes for Brooklyn, Pomfret, and Eastford. And yes, I’ve lived in both Brooklyn and Woodstock, it sucked.

  3. Jim says:

    Why is there no list in or linked to in the article?

  4. JoAnn says:

    I am confused. If Woodstock was number 1, why is there no picture? I’m sure the towns who ranked so low would rather not have their pictures in this article.

  5. Steve Kulig says:

    I see the four main sending towns (Woodstock, Pomfret, Eastford & Brooklyn) for Woodstock Academy all received high marks. Coincidence?

  6. I fixed that typo! Sorry!

  7. Vincent Schaefer says:

    Woodstock is in the Northwest corner of Connecticut?

  8. Janet says:

    Woodstock is where I raised my three children, who are all independent and flourishing young adults. We appreciate the positive feedback! However, please note our town is in the NORTHEAST corner of Connecticut, also known as the “Quiet Corner.”

  9. Deb Avri says:

    Woodstock CT is in the NorthEASTERN corner of the state.

  10. RLV says:

    Where you live is only “where you sleep.” We do have automobiles and highways. So if you know how to drive you can be anywhere or go anywhere if you are…. bored….
    Years back when I lived in Derby (low taxes mind you), my answer was, “I only sleep there.”……

  11. Christie says:

    I enjoyed your article, but there is a mistake in it. Woodstock is in the northeast corner, not the northwest!

  12. JD says:

    Woodstock is in the northeast corner of the state…not the northwest corner as stated above.

  13. Ryan says:

    Having grown up in Woodstock I can say it was a wonderful place for my formative years. That said the article states that it is in Northwestern CT when in fact it is in the Northeast (the Quiet Corner, the Last Green valley).

  14. Joseph says:

    TEEN- FRIENDLINESS
    most people probably don’t (CONSIDER ) with the advent of TEXTING that the conversational skills of our teens would and has fallen , I’m afraid TEXTING with it’s slangs and shortened sentences has forever altered the way they will speak making it harder for them to be understood and it is being understood which is the basis of our society , so no wonder they have a low employment record