10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in West Virginia have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our second time ranking the best cities for families in West Virginia.

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If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking for the perfect place for your family. But you have a strict criteria; the city has to be safe, affordable, and stimulating. Basically, the place you move – or even visit – has to be outright perfect.

Is that attainable? Perhaps not, but we’ll get you as close as we can.

Promise.

According to the United States Census, the number of American families who move is trending downwards Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘safety net’ factor: We get comfortable where we live, and we’re afraid to try a new move. What if the schools are bad? What if it’s dangerous?

Well, we can pretty much guarantee that if you choose the cities we’re mentioning below, you won’t lose any sleep whatsoever.

So, where are the best cities for families in West Virginia? We’ve got the answers here.

If you’re thinking of making a move to West Virginia, and want a family-friendly place, we’ve got you covered. And if you already have kids, we’re surprised you made it this far into the article and hope your little ones give you a couple of more minutes of free time.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out some more reading about West Virginia and the best places for families in the country:

The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia For 2019

Fairmont, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 18,575
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 70
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 25.8%
More on Fairmont: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.

Buckhannon, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,596
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 19.3%
More on Buckhannon: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Buckhannon is the only incorporated city in, and the county seat of, Upshur County, West Virginia, United States, and is located along the Buckhannon River. The population was 5,639 at the 2010 census. Buckhannon is home to West Virginia Wesleyan College and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, held annually on the third week of May. The city is located 115 miles northeast from the capital city of Charleston and 140 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Grafton, WV

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,118
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 52
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 19.7%
More on Grafton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Grafton is a city in – and the county seat of – Taylor County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 5,164 at the 2010 census. Both of West Virginia’s national cemeteries are located in Grafton. Mother’s Day was founded in Grafton on May 10, 1908 and the city is home to the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Grafton was one of the first places to observe Memorial Day in the United States. Grafton originally developed as a junction point for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, serving numerous branches vital to the local coal industry.

Morgantown, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 30,099
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 60
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 14.7%
More on Morgantown: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Morgantown is a city in and the county seat of Monongalia County, West Virginia, situated along the banks of the Monongahela River. With a permanent population of 31,073 per the 2015 U.S. Census estimates, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia. The Morgantown metropolitan area has a population of 138,176, and is the 3rd largest in West Virginia. West Virginia University adds several thousand seasonal residents to the city and surrounding area from September through May. Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University and the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system.

Oak Hill, WV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,565
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 45
Closest Major City: Greensboro
Households with kids: 22.0%
More on Oak Hill: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Oak Hill is a city in Fayette County, West Virginia, United States and is the primary city within the Oak Hill, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area. The micropolitan area is also included in the Beckley-Oak Hill, WV Combined Statistical Area. The population was 7,730 at the 2010 census. Country singer Hank Williams was discovered to be dead while the car in which he was a passenger was stopped in Oak Hill, and Oak Hill is generally accepted to be his place of death.

Review Of Oak Hill by HomeSnacks User

Oak hill is a cute city with Pride and the city council has been trying to engage the community lately and has been investing in outdoor adventure areas

Though the downtown areas has seen a decline the city has been getting cleaner than that of the early 2000s

Martinsburg, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 17,451
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Arlington
Households with kids: 24.9%
More on Martinsburg: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, in the tip of the state’s Eastern Panhandle region. Its population was 17,687 in the 2016 census estimate, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the ninth-largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is part of the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Review Of Martinsburg by HomeSnacks User

You are wrong about Martinsburg having a terrible commute. The MARC Train connects it with DC, the AMTRAK connects it with DC and Chicago, and it is on the junction of two great highways, RT 45 and RT 81.

As far as crime – there are save neighborhoods and not so safe neighborhoods, like any city. Just like DC. My wife and I lived in Martinsburg for 7 years and never had any problems.

Princeton, WV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,967
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: Greensboro
Households with kids: 23.4%
More on Princeton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Princeton, often referred to as the “Jewel of the South,” is a city in and the county seat of Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 6,432 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342. The town hosts the Princeton Rays baseball club of the Appalachian League.

Bluefield, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,144
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Greensboro
Households with kids: 24.0%
More on Bluefield: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,342.

Bridgeport, WV

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,382
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 46
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 28.2%
More on Bridgeport: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Bridgeport is a city in Harrison County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 8,149 at the 2010 census.

Weirton, WV

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 19,081
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 20.2%
More on Weirton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Weirton is a city in Brooke and Hancock counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located primarily in Hancock County, the city lies in the northern portions of the state’s Northern Panhandle region. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 19,746. It is a principal city within the Weirton-Steubenville Metropolitan Area, which had a population of 124,454 residents, and by extension part of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area.

How do you determine which place is best for families in West Virginia anyways?

To give you the places in West Virginia which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Mountain State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of West Virginia, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 5,000 people. For West Virginia, that meant a total of 21 cities.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in West Virginia ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a look at the best cities for singles West Virginia according to the data:

  1. South Charleston
  2. Dunbar
  3. Huntington

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places For Families In West Virginia?

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Fairmont, WV 18,575 53
2 Buckhannon, WV 5,596 45
3 Grafton, WV 5,118 39
4 Morgantown, WV 30,099 77
5 Oak Hill, WV 8,565 45
6 Martinsburg, WV 17,451 53
7 Princeton, WV 5,967 43
8 Bluefield, WV 10,144 53
9 Bridgeport, WV 8,382 37
10 Weirton, WV 19,081 45

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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