West Virginia, home to amazingly awesome pepperoni rolls, fried ravioli, and, of course, great places to live.
But what city or town holds the distinction of being the best place to live in West Virginia? Is it simply the biggest? Or the one with the lowest crime rate?
After researching over 380 places in West Virginia, we were left with this set of top ten:
- Bridgeport (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hurricane (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Vienna (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Dunbar (Homes For Sale)
- Morgantown (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Nitro (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- South Charleston (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- New Martinsville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Weirton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Elkins (Photos | Homes For Sale)
So there you have our list of the best places to live in West Virginia with Bridgeport taking the top spot.
And now you’ll have to excuse us, after reading up about so much West Virginia culture, we really need to try a pepperoni roll.
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In West Virginia
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In West Virginia
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in West Virginia
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Charleston with a population of 50,210 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 26 cities, 127 towns, and 176 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In West Virginia
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in West Virginia across a number of criteria from one to 26, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In West Virginia”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in West Virginia? That would be Bridgeport.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in West Virginia.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Bridgeport at the end of the cul-de-sac.
When you’re looking at the best places you could live in West Virginia, Bridgeport came in 1st. Let’s see why.
It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.
Plus, Bridgeport has an impressive history for a place of just over 8,000 people. Originally charted in 1816, Bridgeport has continued to grow and prosper throughout the centuries. It is now home to several aerospace companies and many oil and gas companies.
While Hurricane got its name sake from the Hurricane Creek, it no longer conjures up the sense of furry its name implies. Instead, get ready to take a stroll through Hurricane Norris Walking Trail or hang out with the locals at The Wine Valley.
The city boasts an unemployment rate of 3.2% and has the 22nd shortest commute times.
Vienna ranked impressively high for its crime rate (18th overall) and its short commute times (4th).
If you come into town be sure to check out CJ’s Italian Kitchen and order the ravioli, a specialty.
Dunbar offers an impressive amount to do while maintaining a small town’s charm.
The unemployment rate sits as the 7th lowest in West Virginia and incomes are the 8th highest.
When you come into town be sure to check out Shawnee Park and Ridge View BBQ.
Well, I guess technically 8.6% of Morgantown residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 20th closest of any city in West Virginia.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Morgantown also ranked well for crime (6th) and median income ($35,502).
Nitro ranks 6th on our list of best places to live in West Virginia thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in West Virginia that we examined.
People have been flocking to Nitro over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
South Charleston is feeling the love as it ranks as the 7th best city to live in West Virginia for 2019.
It ranked highly because of its high incomes (4th overall) and low crime (23rd overall and one of the best in the top ten).
Oh and don’t be fooled by the name, the city is actually northwest, not south, of the city of Charleston.
New Martinsville has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in New Martinsville has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 6.9% and lowering. And the New Martinsville police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 2nd lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of West Virginia, as there were only 22 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 5th lowest in West Virginia (4.4%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 20th most expensive in Weirton ($87,400), meaning a lot of people want to live there.
Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $39,328 a year.
Elkins broke into the top ten best places to live in West Virginia on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.
It placed 15th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 11th highest median income of any place in our analysis.
However, it only has the 1st shortest average commute time of any place in West Virginia.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In West Virginia
If you’re looking at areas in West Virginia with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Bridgeport made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in West Virginia for 2019.
Best Towns To Live In West Virginia
- Bethany (Pop. 1,029)
- Washington (Pop. 1,245)
- Winfield (Pop. 2,300)
- Cassville (Pop. 1,111)
- Pleasant Valley (Pop. 3,181)
- Mineralwells (Pop. 1,482)
- Bethlehem (Pop. 2,489)
- Bolivar (Pop. 1,225)
- Tornado (Pop. 1,294)
- Barrackville (Pop. 1,221)
Best Small Towns To Live In West Virginia
- St. George (Pop. 50)
- Mitchell Heights (Pop. 496)
- North Hills (Pop. 920)
- Belva (Pop. 138)
- Brandonville (Pop. 125)
- Hedgesville (Pop. 322)
- White Hall (Pop. 647)
- Clearview (Pop. 534)
- Charlton Heights (Pop. 432)
- Pratt (Pop. 469)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in West Virginia according to the data:
- Parkersburg (Pop. 30,962)
- Princeton (Pop. 6,056)
- Martinsburg (Pop. 17,613)
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In West Virginia
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In West Virginia
- 10 Safest Places In West Virginia
- 10 Worst Places To Live In West Virginia
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In West Virginia