The exact boundaries of the neighbourhood of Hanover are generally thought of as the area running up the hill to the east of the Level, towards Queen's Park Road, bounded on the north by Elm Grove and on the south by Sussex Street. The local government ward of Hanover & Elm Grove includes some of the streets to the north of Elm Grove, and the streets north of Down Terrace. Many streets in Hanover are characterised by brightly coloured houses.
Physically, Hanover is principally a very steep hill, lined with streets of tightly packed Victorian cottages. Until the 1980s, Hanover was a generally poor area, but since then it has become gentrified to some extent. Its population includes many commuters (Brighton railway station is 15 minutes' walk away), academics, public servants and numerous students – thanks in part to the University of Brighton Halls of Residence by the site of the former Phoenix Brewery.
The Hanover Community Association represents the local community and runs a very active community centre on Southover Street and a Beer festival in September/October. The successful "Hanover Day" is now run by a separate "Hanover Day Association". Until 2006 Hanover Day took place each August but the 2007 day was on 8 July and there was no celebration in 2008 due to various problems.
Hanover is home to an unusually large cat population and was featured in the BBC programme Cat Watch 2014: The 21st Century house cat a three-part series that looked at how cats are adapting to a domestic life by the side of people. This led rise to the very active community group Cats of Hanover.