Stamford, Connecticut, is considered Fairfield County’s crown jewel in terms of population growth, business growth, and redevelopment. An affluent New England city on Long Island Sound, Stamford is decidedly schooled and diverse; residents are some of the nation’s most highly educated and one in three is foreign-born. Eight Fortune 1000 companies and many large corporations have put Stamford on the map as the largest financial district in the metro area outside of New York City, and redevelopment has awarded the city megastar status.
The buzz is that beautiful Stamford is New England’s safest city, with charming neighborhoods, a young vibe, and great amenities – from nature preserves to nightlife and everything in between. With Manhattan only 30 minutes south, many Stamford residents choose to work in New York but live in Stamford for its high-quality lifestyle and more affordable cost of living.
Newcomers from all backgrounds are moving to Stamford. Singles and young professionals are attracted to exciting urban areas like Harbor Point or Downtown, while beautiful established neighborhoods with distinctive one-of-a-kind homes appeal to families, professionals, and executives. If you’re ready to latch onto the city’s motto – ‘a great place to work, live, and play’ – check out our free guide for more info on living in Stamford, Connecticut.
Living in Stamford, CT: What to Know Before Moving to Stamford
Stamford, with 129,775 residents, is located in Fairfield County and is Connecticut’s 3rd largest city. The diverse and educated population is 50% White, 25% Hispanic, 15% African American, 8% Asian, and 2% other races. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area has an estimated 943,823 residents.
Convenient to New York City, Stamford sits on Long Island Sound, across from Long Island and just 30 miles northeast of Manhattan. Newcomers are attracted to Stamford for its more suburban nature, quality of life, convenience to NYC, and lower cost of living than in New York.
Pros and Cons of Living in Stamford
- Beautiful city convenient to New York and New England: You can live a classic New England lifestyle and still commute to Manhattan on the train in 30 minutes.
- The safest city in New England: Crime rates are significantly lower than average.
- Healthy economy: Eight Fortune 1000 companies and many corporations fuel the economy.
- Diverse residents: One in three residents was born in another country.
- Historical and trendy Downtown: The heart of the city provides an exciting mix of history and contemporary excitement.
- The high cost of living: Living in Stamford costs 18% more than the US average cost of living.
- Hot, humid summers: Long, hot, muggy summers can be uncomfortable.
- Higher than average property tax rates: Property tax is .65% higher than the US average.
- Heavy traffic congestion: Traffic is nasty during rush hour commutes to and from NYC.
- Mediocre school quality: The majority of public schools are rated average and below.
- Property tax: Fairfield County assesses a property tax rate of 1.730%. On a home valued at $475,000, you’d pay an annual property tax of $8,218. Although Stamford property tax is lower than other Connecticut counties that assess an average 2.067% property tax, Stamford property tax is higher than the US average tax of 1.08%.
- Sales tax: Stamford residents pay a 6.4% sales tax rate. The US average sales tax rate is 7.3%.
- State income tax: Connecticut residents pay an average income tax rate of 5.5%.
As of February 2020, the Stamford median home value was $474,012, and the median price for homes currently listed is $549,900. Home prices fell -1.2% in 2019, but the market predicts they’ll rise by 3.7% by the end of 2020. The median housing age is 48 years, so there’s a possibility you’ll need to do some renovating.
Almost 40% of Stamford residents rent their homes. The demand for housing, especially apartments, is high, and demand keeps the prices high. Developers built over 5,200 apartments in 2019; 10% of all new housing inventory must be ‘affordable units.’ Expect to pay a median rent price in the city of $2,300, and in the metro area plan on a median rent price of $2,600.
Cost of Living
Although moderately higher than the average US cost of living index of 100, Stamford’s cost of living index, at 118.5, is much lower than the New York City index of 187.2. Housing at 125.9 and utilities at 121.6 bump up the cost of living index. Other costs include groceries at 105.6, healthcare at 102.3, and transportation at 116.1.
To get an idea of Stamford’s living costs, check out the Economic Policy Institute’s ‘Family Budget Calculator.’ EPI estimates a family of four would need to earn $9,879 a month, or $118,551 a year, to live a moderately comfortable lifestyle in the Stamford metro area. According to bestplaces.net, the Stamford family median income is $102,164, over $30,000 higher than the nation’s average of $70,850.
Weather and Natural Disasters
Stamford’s temperate climate lets you enjoy four seasons with cool to cold winters and hot, humid summers. Springs and falls are particularly beautiful and comfortable.
The long, muggy summers start in mid-April and wind down in early November. July and August are the two hottest months with average humid highs of 85 and average lows of 61.
Winter starts in late November and ends in mid-March. The two coldest months are January and February, with average highs of 40 and average lows of 21. Stamford gets about 30” of annual snow and rainfall is spread evenly throughout the months, totaling about 53 inches annually.
Natural disaster threats range from cyclones and hurricanes to blizzards and floods. The City of Stamford wants its citizens to stay safe. “Be Prepared Stamford” emphasizes ‘awareness, making a plan, and preparing.’ Check out their website to learn about weather threats and how to make and use your emergency kit during a disaster.
Economy and Job Market
Although the job market decreased -0.3% in 2019, the city’s healthy economy is due to many local businesses investing back into Stamford and expanding their workforces. The unemployment rate, at 3.8%, is much lower than in neighboring cities and is steadily dropping.
Stamford’s diverse industrial sectors include finance, insurance, and real estate; science and technology; professional services, management, and consulting; digital media and entertainment; healthcare; and manufacturing, commodities, and industry.
Stamford’s eight Fortune 1000 companies are Charter Communications, Synchrony Financial, United Rentals, Gartner, Pitney Bowes, Silgan Holdings, Crane Co, and Hexcel. Additional top companies include AXA XL, Bank of America, Applango, Axiom Technology Group, A&E Networks, CBS Interactive & CBS Sports Digital, Aon, ADP, Adlon Therapeutics, Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Accurate Lock & Hardware, Aircastle Solvay, Star Group, Tradition Energy, Trafigura, Tronox, and Voyager Aviation.
Top up your resume if you’ll be looking for work in Stamford. A great place to start your search is the City of Stamford human resources. Also, check online job boards such as linkedin.com, indeed.com, and simplyhired.com.
Traffic and Transportation
Metro-North provides convenient and extensive commuter rail service throughout the northern New York City metro area. Stamford’s station is the busiest on the system, only after Grand Central in NYC. Amtrak has a Stamford station and runs high-speed Acela trains to Boston, New Haven, NYC, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Washington. CT Transit provides a range of bus services, both in the city and regionally. You can hop on the Harbor Point Trolley when you want to get around Downtown car-free.
Of the five international airports in the region, LaGuardia is the closest, 26 miles southwest in Queens, NY.
Major thoroughfares include I-95, a northeast-southwest major route that runs through Downtown and south to NYC, and the Merritt Parkway, AKA Route 15, another major road to NYC. The state highways that weave through Stamford include Route 1, AKA Main Street, which parallels I-95; Route 137, the main north-south city road; Route 104, serving the Long Ridge area; and Route 106, serving the Glenbrook area. The Merritt Parkway and Route 1 can be heavily congested during morning and evening commutes. The city is working to improve surface street traffic flow with resynchronized traffic lights and extensive pothole repair.
With average walkability, walkscore.com rates Stamford with a 54 walk score, 46 transit score, and 46 bike score. The most walkable areas are Harbor Point, East Side, and the Downtown Historic District.
What to Do
From golf courses and nature preserves to museums and performing arts theaters, Stamford provides terrific recreation and cultural options for all ages.
Sterling Farms Golf Course and E Gaynor Brennan Golf Course are the two municipal courses where you can enjoy a round with friends. Parks, including Mill River Park, Mianus River Park, Jackie Robinson Park, Terry Connors Ice Rink, Cummings Park (with its public beach), Cove Island Park (with beaches, bluffs, a picnic area), and the Italian Center (with tennis courts, swimming pools, a playground, and fitness centers) offer a range of fresh-air outdoor activities. Other outdoor attractions include the Stamford Museum and Nature Center and Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens.
The Stamford Center operates the Palace Theater and Rich Forum for the Arts. The Rich Forum produces and tapes TV shows such as Maury, The Trisha Goddard Show, and The Jerry Springer Show. The Stamford Symphony Orchestra and Connecticut Grand Opera perform at the Palace Theater.
The Hoyt-Barnum House Museum has 18th- and 19th-century artifacts housed in the oldest residence in Stamford. The Frankin Street Works is a non-profit café and art venue that provides educational programs and museum-level exhibitions. The UCONN Stamford Art Gallery has ongoing artists’ exhibits, and Alive Five Summer Concert Series features celebrated musicians in one of Stamford’s most popular annual Downtown events.
Both the New England Force, a professional soccer team, and The Connecticut Whale of the National Women’s Hockey League have solid fan bases. Although Stamford doesn’t host pro football, baseball, or basketball, NBC Sunday Night Football and Football Night in America both air from Stamford.
Schools and Universities
Stamford Public Schools (SPS) operates 24 primary and secondary schools that serve 15,816 students. The highest rated schools are Stamford Charter School For Excellence, PK-2 and rated 9/10; Rogers International School, K-8 and rated 6/10; Scofield Middle School rated 6/10; Stamford High School rated 6/10; and The Academy of Information Technology, 9-12 and rated 8/10. The remaining public schools are rated 5/10 or below, so many families opt for one of the 29 private schools in the city. SPS is working on long-term solutions for mold problems in many school buildings. If your child is attending a Stamford public school, be sure to find out more about mold remediation progress.
Three post-secondary institutions in the area include the University of Connecticut-Stamford branch, with a student population that continues to grow due to expanded academic programs; the University of Bridgeport-Stamford campus; and Sacred Heart University.
Stamford is considered New England’s safest city. Both property and violent crime rates are exceptionally low. The average US property crime rate is 35.4, and in Stamford, it’s over 10 points lower at 24.8. The US average violent crime rate is 22.7. In Stamford, it’s 16.
Because Stamford’s energy market is deregulated, you’ll be able to shop for a plan that meets your needs and budget. Energize Connecticut helps you compare providers and rates, but for your convenience, we’ve included some of the most popular providers.
- Gas service: Several companies provide gas service in Stamford. One of the most popular is Connecticut Natural Gas. You can learn how to start service online or call 860-524-8361. Other providers include Star Gas Corporation, Spark Energy, and Southern Connecticut Gas.
- Electric service: Call Eversource at 800-286-2828 or get more information at their website. Call Spark Energy at 877-547-7275 or learn more online.
- Water service: Aquarion Water Company. Call 800-732-9678 Or complete a New Services inquiry form online.
- Trash pick-up/recycling service: The City of Stamford manages trash pick-up and recycling. Call 203-977-4117 or find out more online.
- Internet/Cable service: Go to highspeedinternet.com, type in your new zip code, and you’ll be able to review all the internet and cable providers in your new neighborhood. The site includes each provider’s download speed, ratings, plans, and pricing.
Best Neighborhoods in Stamford, CT
From beautiful, distinctive homes on wooded lots to sleek high rise condos, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of neighborhoods that meet your lifestyle standards.
Ranked by areavibes.com as Stamford’s #1 neighborhood and the #1 neighborhood in all of Connecticut, Shippan Point is Stamford’s most southern neighborhood, just five minutes southeast of Downtown. Bound by Jefferson St on the north, Westcott Cove on the east, Outer Reach on the south, and Stamford Harbor on the west, Shippan Point is a peninsula surrounded by Long Island Sound on three sides.
Gorgeous homes on large lots line the wooded streets, and you can also find some townhomes, condos, and apartments, especially near the marinas or along Shippan Avenue. About 84% of residents own their homes, and Shippan Point appeals to both families, executives, singles, and young professionals.
This affluent neighborhood has public beach access plus private beaches at the Woodway Beach Club, Halloween Yacht Club, and Stamford Yacht Club. You’ll find plenty of local amenities that include grocery stores, restaurants, churches, retail, fitness studios, and parks.
- Population: 1,594
- Median home value: $981,500
- Median rent price: $2,800
- Cost of living: 106% higher than the US average
- Schools: KT Murphy Elementary School, Cloonan School, Rogers International School, Stamford High School
Newfield is Stamford’s #2 ranked neighborhood, according to areavibes.com, and is just nine minutes north of Downtown. Bound by the Merritt Parkway on the north, the Noroton River on the east, Woodway Rd and Weed Hill Ave on the south, and High Ridge Rd on the west, Newfield is a convenient neighborhood for commuters since it’s so close to the Merritt Parkway.
Newfield is a beautiful neighborhood with lots of open space, woods, creeks, and rivers. Homes are commonly three to five bedrooms in a variety of distinct styles, from brick-faced cottages to two-story saltboxes.
Almost 80% of Newfield residents own their homes, and this lovely neighborhood appeals to families and executives for its safety and convenient amenities. Some favorite restaurants and cafes include Tabouli Grill, Table 104, and Layla’s Falafel.
- Population: 3,325
- Median home value: $642,300
- Median rent price: $896
- Cost of living: 65% more expensive than the US average
- Schools: Newfield Elementary School, Ox Ridge Elementary School, Davenport Ridge School, Westhill High School
Turn of River
Turn of River, just seven minutes north of Downtown, is bordered by the Merritt Parkway on the north, Newfield Avenue on the east, W Broad St on the south, and Long Ridge Rd on the west.
Homes are distinctly styled and range from two-story Colonials to Farmhouse, Cape Cod, Mid-Century Modern, and one-story ranch styles. Most sit on large tree-filled lots along graceful curving streets. Turn of River feels solid and established while open and peaceful.
Turn of River has lots of amenities, but since it’s a sizable neighborhood, you’ll need your car to run errands. Approximately 89% of residents own their homes, and both niche.com and areavibes.com rate Turn of River #3 ‘Best Neighborhood in Stamford.’ Turn of River appeals to families and professionals; however, only 31% of residents are families with children.
- Population: 5,911
- Median home value: $621,683
- Median rent price: $1,654
- Cost of living: 66% higher than the US average
- Schools: Stillmeadow Elementary School, Turn of River Middle School, Academy of Information Technology & Engineering, Westhill High School
The city’s heart and its central business district, Downtown borders Latham Park on the north, Grove St on the east, I-95 and the Metro-North railroad tracks on the south, and Mill River St and Washington Blvd on the west.
Downtown, one of Stamford’s two historic districts, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are some landmark homes, but you’ll find housing mainly in sleek high rise condos or apartments. The median home price is skewed high because of some very expensive properties, but many affordable one and two-bedroom condos are available in the $140,000 to $350,000 range. Around 79% of Downtown residents rent their homes.
The economically vibrant Downtown is full of major retail stores, the UCONN campus, a vast shopping mall, hotels, entertainment venues, restaurants and bars, offices, and the headquarters of Fortune 1000 companies. This booming urban neighborhood appeals to singles and young professionals.
With an easy walk to the Metro-North train station, Downtown is a great place to live if you’re looking for convenience for your NYC commute – or simply if you love the excitement of living in a thriving urban center.
- Population: 19,201
- Median two-bedroom home price: $294,859
- Median rent price: $2,300
- Cost of living: 28% more expensive than the US average
- Schools: KT Murphy Elementary School, Rogers International School, Stamford High School
Harbor Point and South End Historic District
Harbor Point and South End Historic District, located five minutes south of Downtown, are located on a peninsula bound by I-95 and the Metro-North railroad tracks on the north, and the Long Island Sound on the east, south, and west.
The product of one of the most significant redevelopment projects in the country, Harbor Point and parts of South End have a dense concentration of high rise apartments and condos. Some are affordable housing units, offered to those who earn 50% less than the area median income. In both Harbor Point and South End, you can also find some single-family homes and Victorian row houses that once were populated by local workers. In Harbor Point and South End, about 96% of residents rent. These neighborhoods appeal to singles, young professionals, and empty nesters.
Previously Stamford’s industrial hub, the quickly-changing Harbor Point neighborhood is now safer, cleaner, and more vibrant thanks to the revitalization. Trendy cafes and restaurants like Fortina, Le Pain Quotidien, and Sign of the Whale are popular with locals. Waterfront walkways through Kosciuszko Park at the southern tip of South End and Woodland Cemetery provide extensive greenspace.
- Population: 6,317
- Median home value: $284,500
- Median rent price: $2,114
- Cost of living: 35% higher than the US average
- Schools: KT Murphy Elementary School, Cloonan School, Rogers International School, Stamford High School
If you’re looking for a more affordable Stamford neighborhood, West Side is considered one of Stamford’s better-priced areas. Bound by W Broad St on the north, Mill River Street on the east, I-95 and the Metro-North railroad tracks on the south, and Havenmeyer Lane on the west, in West Side, you’ll enjoy Stamford’s safety and convenience to Downtown, which is just two minutes east.
A variety of apartment complexes, townhomes, condos, and attractive single-family homes make up the community’s housing inventory. The majority, 70%, of West Side residents rent their homes.
Lione Park, Mill River Park, and Hatch Field provide greenspace and recreation options. You’ll be able to enjoy tons of convenient amenities in West Side – from coffee houses to restaurants, lots of retail options, and the extensive Stamford Hospital Bennett Medical Center. Some favorite spots for a meal are The Maya and Pelicci’s Italian Restaurant. West Side appeals to all kinds of folks – from singles to families to empty nesters.
- Population: 12,670
- Median home value: $257,200
- Median rent price: $1,294
- Cost of living: 26% higher than the US average
- Schools: Westover Magnet Elementary School, Hart School, Cloonan Middle School, Stamford High School
Bound by the Merritt Parkway on the north, Long Ridge Rd on the east, Merriebrook Lane and MacGregor Dr on the south, and Mianus River State Park on the west, Roxbury has an exclusive open feel even though it’s only about eight minutes north of Downtown.
You’ll find lovely traditional one-of-a-kind homes on generous lots. Houses are spaced along gently curving streets and have beautiful lawns and landscaping with lots of trees. 92% of Roxbury residents own their homes. Although you may be able to find a house for rent, you won’t find apartments or condos.
Roxbury is a little slim on amenities, so you’ll need to pop in your car to run errands and go out for a meal. But if you’re commuting, accessing the Merritt Parkway on the northern border of Roxbury is fast and convenient. Locals love the extensive wooded trails through Mianus River State Park for hiking and dog walking.
- Population: 1,147
- Median home value: $603,900
- Median rent price: $2,000 to rent a house
- Cost of living: 82% higher than the US average
- Schools: Roxbury Elementary School, Stillmeadow Elementary School, Turn of River Middle School, Academy of Information Technology & Engineering, Westhill High School
Located five minutes northeast of Downtown, Belltown is bordered by Oaklawn Avenue on the north, Hope Street on the east, Rock Spring Rd on the south, and High Ridge Rd on the west.
You’ll find housing in modest two-bedroom to large three-bedroom single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and apartments. 71% of Belltown residents own their homes, and about a third of residents are families with children.
Convenient Belltown amenities include parks, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, retail, and fun community events. Locals like to meet for a quick bite at Friends Café, and Humbled Coffeehouse is a popular spot when you’re ready for an espresso and a sandwich.
- Population: 5,614
- Median home value: $456,949
- Median rent price: $2,061
- Cost of living: 55% higher than the US average
- Schools: Stillmeadow Elementary School, Julia A Stark School, Rippowam Middle School, The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering, Stamford High School
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