Unlike some other parts of New Hampshire, it’s hard to capture an overarching picture of the Monadnock region through economic and demographic information. In fact, looking at US Census numbers, both Cheshire and Hillsborough Counties could be described as “overwhelmingly average” compared to the state as a whole. The only major economic deviation from the state’s overall numbers appears to be a single tier of home prices. While 28.2 percent of New Hampshire homes fall into the $300 thousand to $499,999 price range, Cheshire County reports less than half that figure.
The real economic picture of the Monadnock Region is much more subtle.
Like much of New Hampshire, manufacturing is a major source of jobs. In fact, Cheshire County is only second to Sullivan County in the Dartmouth-Sunapee region for the percent of area wages paid by factories. Hillsborough County comes in a close third.
Despite the heavy industrial presence, the Monadnock region maintains a largely rural character. It’s home to the oldest–and longest-running–artists’ colony in the nation. The countryside also supports a number of small-scale organic farms. And the region’s shared border with Vermont has made for some interesting cross-state collaboration in the local foods movement.