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)
Well, it looks like you should check out Bridgeport if you’re thinking of moving to West Virginia — it’s the best the Mountain State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in West Virginia.
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In West Virginia
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live 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 Place 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
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.
If you want to live in West Virginia, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Morgantown area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $35,502 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Morgantown as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Morgantown.
The Nitro has the 1st lowest unemployment rate in West Virginia. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Nitro is higher than the national average and households make $48,212 per year.
We’d move to Nitro if we could in a heart beat.
South Charleston is feeling the love as it ranks as the 7th best city to live in West Virginia for 2016.
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.
Let’s take a look at why New Martinsville is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in New Martinsville, and the residents here are gainfully employed (6.9% unemployment rate).
You can make New Martinsville your home for only $91,300 which won’t be too hard on a $40,173 household salary.
Well, I guess technically 4.4% of Weirton residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 5th 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, Weirton also ranked well for crime (4th) and median income ($39,328).
Elkins has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of West Virginia. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Elkins is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Elkins residents to work is significantly higher than average.
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 2018.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In West Virginia For 2018
- 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