Where are the best places in the state of West Virginia?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Mountain State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in West Virginia.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 26 places in West Virginia, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Bridgeport (Photos)
- Hurricane (Photos)
- Vienna (Photos)
- Morgantown (Photos)
- Nitro (Photos)
- South Charleston (Photos)
- New Martinsville (Photos)
- Weirton (Photos)
- Elkins (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 5,200
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,200
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 26 cities, 128 towns, and 244 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 5,200 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.
Population: 8,364 Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Home Values: $199,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (3rd best)
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.
Population: 6,460Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $149,500 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (2nd best)
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.
Population: 10,566Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Values: $122,500 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (6th best)
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.
Population: 7,714 Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 11)
Home Values: $91,300 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (7th best)
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.
Population: 30,364Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Home Values: $178,500 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (20th best)
At an umeployment rate of 8.6%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Morgantown. And the residents command high salaries ($35,502 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($178,500 each).
We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in West Virginia. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Population: 6,505 Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 7)
Home Values: $96,400 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (1st best)
Looks like little Nitro might be a hidden gem in West Virginia. The population is shrinking a bit, despite the fact that home values are still rising ($96,400) and crime is really low (19th lowest in the state).
Perhaps the cat’s now out of the bag — quick better move in before prices go up more.
7. South Charleston
Population: 13,182Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Home Values: $111,900 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (3rd best)
South Charleston is feeling the love as it ranks as the 7th best city to live in West Virginia for 2015.
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.
8. New Martinsville
Population: 5,255 Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 14)
Home Values: $91,300 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (12th best)
New Martinsville has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\New Martinsville had the 9th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $40,173.
Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.
Population: 19,307Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 8)
Home Values: $87,400 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (5th best)
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Weirton.
Weirton ranked impressively high for its crime rate (4th overall) and its short commute times (22nd).
We think that’s worth the price of admission.
Population: 7,232Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 19)
Home Values: $104,500 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (15th best)
Elkins comes in at a close 10th. They have the 15th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 11th highest median income as well, which means the people in Elkins are working and getting paid well.
Additionally, the median home value is the 11th best in the state.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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)
- Pleasant Valley (Pop. 3,181)
- Mineralwells (Pop. 1,482)
- Cassville (Pop. 1,111)
- 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)
- Falls View (Pop. 149)
- North Hills (Pop. 920)
- Pentress (Pop. 318)
- Belva (Pop. 138)
- Brandonville (Pop. 125)
- Hedgesville (Pop. 322)
- Clearview (Pop. 534)
- Charlton Heights (Pop. 432)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in West Virginia:
- Martinsburg (Pop. 17,613)
- Princeton (Pop. 6,056)
- Parkersburg (Pop. 30,962)
For more West Virginia reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In West Virginia – RoadSnacks
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In West Virginia – RoadSnacks
- 10 Small Towns In West Virginia Where You’d Never Want To Live – RoadSnacks
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In West Virginia