These Are The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia For 2018


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.

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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.

These are the best cities to raise a family in the Mountain State:

  1. Grafton (Photos)
  2. Buckhannon (Photos)
  3. Fairmont (Photos)
  4. Oak Hill (Photos)
  5. Morgantown (Photos)
  6. Martinsburg (Photos)
  7. Bridgeport
  8. Bluefield (Photos)
  9. Princeton (Photos)
  10. New Martinsville

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 the best places to live in West Virginia and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in West Virginia.

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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 22 cities.

Read on to see why Grafton is where all the families are headed, while South Charleston is probably a place made for singles.

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1. Grafton

Grafton, Wv

Population: 5,156
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 55
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 25.5%
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.

2. Buckhannon

Buckhannon, Wv

Population: 5,645
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 56
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 23.4%
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.

3. Fairmont

Fairmont, Wv

Population: 18,699
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 66
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 26.5%
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.

4. Oak Hill

Oak Hill, Wv

Population: 8,722
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: Winston-Salem
Households with kids: 29.7%
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.

5. Morgantown

Morgantown, Wv

Source: Public domain

Population: 30,364
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 73
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 15.8%
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.

6. Martinsburg

Martinsburg, Wv

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,613
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 42
Closest Major City: Arlington
Households with kids: 30.8%
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.

7. Bridgeport

Bridgeport, Wv

Population: 8,364
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 45
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 34.2%
Bridgeport is a city in Harrison County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 8,149 at the 2010 census.

8. Bluefield

Bluefield, Wv

Population: 10,366
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: Winston-Salem
Households with kids: 29.7%
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.

9. Princeton

Princeton, Wv

Population: 6,056
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 34
Closest Major City: Winston-Salem
Households with kids: 25.8%
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.

10. New Martinsville

New Martinsville, Wv

Population: 5,255
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 44
Closest Major City: Pittsburgh
Households with kids: 22.5%
New Martinsville is a city in Wetzel County, West Virginia, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 5,366 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Wetzel County.

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. St. Albans
  3. Nitro

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In West Virginia

City Rank Population Amenities Score
Grafton 1 5,156 36
Buckhannon 2 5,645 53
Fairmont 3 18,699 46
Oak Hill 4 8,722 41
Morgantown 5 30,364 64
Martinsburg 6 17,613 46
Bridgeport 7 8,364 55
Bluefield 8 10,366 40
Princeton 9 6,056 34
New Martinsville 10 5,255 35
Moundsville 11 8,858 46
Weirton 12 19,307 65
Vienna 13 10,566 42
Wheeling 14 27,758 46
Parkersburg 15 30,962 74
Beckley 16 17,348 71
Huntington 17 48,735 71
Charleston 18 50,210 67
Dunbar 19 7,714 52
Nitro 20 6,505 50
St. Albans 21 10,788 53
South Charleston 22 13,182 33

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