The Balance - Cost of Living Series

An NHPR series that looks at the economic, social and personal costs of living in the Granite State. Click here for the series page and to submit your story ideas.

Jess O'Hare loved living in New Hampshire. She moved to Concord for a job as an environmental organizer just after her college graduation and enjoyed the affordability, tight-knit community, and natural landscapes.

"Life in New Hampshire was mountain-biking, swimming, skiing, sometimes even before work. You'd just get it all in," she said. "And it was easy to do that."

But there was just this one thing. 

Full-time workers often spend more time with their colleagues than their families. So, what's the history of work in the U.S. What changes could be in store for the workweek?

And why can it feel so liberating to leave a terrible job? On today's show we'll look into all of those questions and more. 

Savannah Maher/NHPR

It's 6:30 in the morning. Hamida Hassan is scrolling through Instagram while Kenchael Emadamerho styles her hair into box braids.

"So basically you grab a piece of extension depending on how thick they want the braid to be. And wrap it around her actual natural hair. And then I would just braid it."

Emadamerho demonstrated the braiding process, which she said would take about six hours. 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

In New Hampshire’s increasingly tight rental market, one area where there’s new development is conversion of industrial buildings. It’s a niche market, but one that’s attracting multiple generations of residents.

 

In a parking lot in Manchester, surrounded by a maze of early 20th-Century brick factory buildings just south of the ballpark, Mike Bernier explains how he ended up here.

 

In the southern region of New Hampshire and on the Seacoast, vacancy rates are low, housing prices are high, and there is a lack of affordable housing for families and young adults. In the northern and western parts of the state, substandard housing remains a problem. As part of the The Balance series on NHPR about the cost of living in the Granite State, we look at why our state continues to have issues, and how some cities, like Londonderry, are turning to mixed community developments. 

This program will air on Thursday, April 26 at 9 a.m., and will be rebroadcast again at 7 p.m.  It was originally broadcast on March 13.

Katherine Garrova

At her home studio, embroidery artist Sarah Benning stitches together one of her pieces. It’s a sun-filled room at this time of the morning. The artist’s finished work spills into the space around her with dozens of circular canvases bubbling up onto the walls. There are also plenty of house plants around.

 

“A lot of my work is inspired by my own house plants,” Benning says, “The very first plant pieces I stitched were actually inspired by houseplants that I killed, luckily I’ve gotten better and they’re not all dead plants now.”

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

As part of our continuing series, The Balance, about the costs and benefits of living in New Hampshire, a lot of listeners have been writing in about how expensive it can be to buy a house here. It turns out lots of places in the state are also dealing with a housing shortage.

One place where that’s particular hard felt is the Upper Valley. NHPR’s Britta Greene caught up with Brendon Hoch, a listener based in Plymouth.  

What Drives N.H. Commuters To Take The Bus To Boston?

Mar 23, 2018
Taylor Quimby

For about nine months out of the year, NHPR employees are used to seeing Laura Knoy, host of The Exchange, coasting across the parking lot on her road bike.  For the 23 years she’s been hosting, home has just been a few minutes away.

Her husband, Steve Winett, has no such luxury. Three days a week he boards a bus for downtown Boston.

“There's our family,” Laura says. “There's me, there's Steve, there are the two boys, and there is this other entity: the bus.”

Robert Garrova for NHPR

It’s six o’clock at night on a Tuesday at New InkLand Tattoo. Two clients are getting ink done and the place is going to be open late, like it is most nights.

Angel Villanueva runs the shop. He says he’s originally from Los Angeles, where he had a tattoo shop for 20 years. But about eight years ago, he made a trip to New Hampshire.

As one of only two states with neither an income tax nor a sales tax, the Granite State funds local and state services in other ways. As part of NHRP's cost of living series, The Balance, we answer your questions about how our unusual system works. 

This program originally aired on February 6, 2018. 


The so-called "New Hampshire Advantage" is part of our state's branding. It's about limited government. But maybe more important, it's about low taxes.

The state has no sales or income tax, a point of pride for many residents and politicians. But is New Hampshire's anti-tax attitude really so unique?

In a word: yes.


Chris Jensen

When the state of New Hampshire submitted a bid to Amazon , throwing Londonderry into the ring as home for the company’s second headquarters, they summed up their case like this: "All the benefits of Boston… without all the headaches."

Of course, that logic doesn't really apply if you live in New Hampshire's northernmost towns, where the closest city of size is Sherbrooke, Quebec.  In this episode, as part of NHPR's series "The Balance", we look at arts, culture and economy north of the notches.  

Plus, New Hampshire filmmaker and visual artist Amy Jenkins on her film Instructions on Parting, which premiers at MOMA later this month. 

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

As part of our series “The Balance," we’re asking for your input on the costs and benefits of living in New Hampshire. One issue we’re hearing a lot about is property taxes, which provide the bulk of money for public schools. The city of Claremont has the highest property tax rate in the state. This year, some residents there are saying ‘enough is enough," and the school board is taking a hard look at its budget. It’s also raised a conversation about the role schools should play in students' lives.

UNH Carsey School

New Hampshire Public Radio kicked off a news series, The Balance, last weekIt looks at the costs, benefits and tradeoffs of life in New Hampshire, including why people move to -- or out of -- the state. Last year, New Hampshire saw its biggest population increase since before the Great Recession. Here to talk about what's behind that trend, is Ken Johnson, senior demographer with UNH's Carsey School.

Jason Moon for NHPR

It’s a feeling many in today’s economy can relate to: starting out in a career is just harder than it used to be.

One group that’s very familiar with that idea is commercial fishermen. In New Hampshire, dozens of boats used to head out every morning to fish for cod and haddock. Today that number is down to just a handful.

For our series The Balance, which looks at the cost of living in New Hampshire, Jason Moon tells us about two young fishermen who, in spite of the odds, are trying to live a vision of an iconic New England profession. 

via woodmontcommonsnh.com

Nearly 300 years since its founding, the town of Londonderry is about the get something it’s never had before.

Private developers are looking to reshape a pocket of town with new shops, housing and the promise of walkability: in short, a classic New England Main Street conjured up from scratch.


Courtesy photo

Joel Storella’s “Cash Only Vintage” is about the last thing visitors to Littleton, New Hampshire expect to find while strolling along Main Street.

The quintessential New England town is known for being home to the world’s longest candy counter and the author of Pollyanna...but vintage Ralph Lauren sweatshirts and highlighter colored ski suits? Not so much. But those are just two of the many 80s and 90s gems you’ll find at Storella’s vintage clothing store.

Starting this week, NHPR's newsroom kicks off The Balance, a series of stories looking at the cost of living in New Hampshire, and the benefits and tradeoffs of settling down in the Granite State. 

The first stories in the series will take us on board a fishing boat in Rye, into small businesses in downtown Littleton, and onto the work site of a massive new housing development in Londonderry.

NHPR's newsroom will be examining issues around the cost of living in the Granite State for an upcoming series.

You can help steer our reporting by submitting questions related to your life in New Hampshire, whether they be about child care, housing, food, transportation, work, social life - or even the cost of trash pickup.

Submit your questions on the form below, and one of our reporters may get in touch!

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