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Thinking of taking the plunge and moving to West Virginia?
Well, today we'll take you on a tour of some of the places you should place highly on your list if you want to live the good life in West Virginia.
West Virginia is 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?
We took a dive into the data for the sixth time to see what has changed over the past year. After researching over 26 places in West Virginia, we were left with this set of top ten based on data from the FBI and Census on quality of life indicators.
What's the best place to live in west virginia according to the data? The best place to live on our list of West Virginia's cream of the crop is Bridgeport.
A lot of the towns in the top ten have low crime, affordable housing, and good schools. We think that any of them would be a great place to put down roots as a family in West Virginia.
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:
- Best Counties To Live In West Virginia
- Cheapest Places To Live In West Virginia
- Best Places To Raise A Family In West Virginia
The 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020
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.
Vienna ranked impressively high for its crime rate (20th overall) and its short commute times (9th).
If you come into town be sure to check out CJ's Italian Kitchen and order the ravioli, a specialty.
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 4.0% and has the 21st shortest commute times.
By far the largest city at the top of our rankings, Morgantown has a well deserved spot on this list. Let's look at why.
It is a solid place to live due to the relatively low crime for a city its size and the fact that residents are employed at a high rate.
Plus, obviously, there's a boat load of things to do every day of the week.
If you're looking to live in West Virginia, St. Albans might be the best choice as it places 5th in our ranking of the best places to live for 2020.
High home prices and low unemployment help a lot. In addition to the hard facts that we used to determine this ranking, St. Albans boasts an impressive number of parks and community organizations for a city of its size.
The City Park Amphitheater seems like an impressively cool venue for an impressively awesome place to live.
South Charleston is feeling the love as it ranks as the 6th best city to live in West Virginia for 2020.
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.
Wheeling has it made. In fact, according to science, it's one of the best places to live in the state of West Virginia.
The unemployment rate is the 7th lowest in the state at 5.4%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $42,489, and the average cost of a home is $107,700. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.
We wouldn't be surprised if more and more publications call Wheeling one of America's gems.
Weirton is by far one of the best places to live in West Virginia: the math proves it! This city has the 10th lowest unemployment rate and the 6th 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 lowest in the state, making Weirton a safe and great place to live.
Dunbar offers an impressive amount to do while maintaining a small town's charm.
The unemployment rate sits as the 5th lowest in West Virginia and incomes are the 11th highest.
When you come into town be sure to check out Shawnee Park and Ridge View BBQ.
Nitro is known for having a great education system and has the 15th shortest commute time.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Nitro is the 4th lowest in West Virginia and the median income is the 8th highest in the state.
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 48,734 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 cities to live in West Virginia 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.
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 2020.
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:
- Bluefield (Pop. 10,022)
- Keyser (Pop. 5,119)
- Grafton (Pop. 5,091)
For more West Virginia reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In West Virginia
- Richest Cities In West Virginia
- Safest Places In West Virginia
- Worst Places To Live In West Virginia