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:
- 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 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.
Morgantown ranks as the 5th best place in West Virginia for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
Morgantown has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Morgantown’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $35,502 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
Things can’t get much better than in the town of Nitro. The crime is the 19th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Nitro make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.
The median home costs a cool $96,400 and households make $48,212 which is good for 3rd in West Virginia.
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.
New Martinsville is by far one of the best places to live in West Virginia: the math proves it! This city has the 12th lowest unemployment rate and the 9th highest median income in all of West Virginia.
Plus, the median home values are the 18th highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 2nd lowest in the state, making New Martinsville a safe and great place to live.
Taking its place as the 9th best place in West Virginia is Weirton. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of West Virginia.
It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.
An unemployment rate of only 4.4% helps thing too.
In Elkins, everyone loves to call Elkins home! The median home value is the 11th highest in West Virginia.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 15th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Mountain State.
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:
- 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