THE 10 BEST Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020

We looked at over 380 places in West Virginia to determine the best of the best.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in West Virginia.

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.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020

Bridgeport, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,466
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $220,100 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (1st best)
More on Bridgeport: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,446
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $129,200 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (2nd best)
More on Vienna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Hurricane, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,477
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $150,800 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (3rd best)
More on Hurricane: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Morgantown, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,539
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $198,300 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (23rd best)
More on Morgantown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

St. Albans, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,442
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $114,800 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (18th best)
More on St. Albans: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,686
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $133,100 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (6th best)
More on South Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,190
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $107,700 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (7th best)
More on Wheeling: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,894
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $94,900 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (10th best)
More on Weirton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,462
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $95,200 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (5th best)
More on Dunbar: Real Estate | Data

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, WV

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,201
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $99,800 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (4th best)
More on Nitro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

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

  1. Bethany (Pop. 1,029)
  2. Washington (Pop. 1,245)
  3. Winfield (Pop. 2,300)
  4. Cassville (Pop. 1,111)
  5. Pleasant Valley (Pop. 3,181)
  6. Mineralwells (Pop. 1,482)
  7. Bethlehem (Pop. 2,489)
  8. Bolivar (Pop. 1,225)
  9. Tornado (Pop. 1,294)
  10. Barrackville (Pop. 1,221)

Best Small Towns To Live In West Virginia

  1. St. George (Pop. 50)
  2. Mitchell Heights (Pop. 496)
  3. North Hills (Pop. 920)
  4. Belva (Pop. 138)
  5. Brandonville (Pop. 125)
  6. Hedgesville (Pop. 322)
  7. White Hall (Pop. 647)
  8. Clearview (Pop. 534)
  9. Charlton Heights (Pop. 432)
  10. Pratt (Pop. 469)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in West Virginia according to the data:

  1. Bluefield (Pop. 10,022)
  2. Keyser (Pop. 5,119)
  3. Grafton (Pop. 5,091)

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In West Virginia?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Bridgeport 8,466 2.6% $220,100
2 Vienna 10,446 3.8% $129,200
3 Hurricane 6,477 4.0% $150,800
4 Morgantown 30,539 9.9% $198,300
5 St. Albans 10,442 7.4% $114,800
6 South Charleston 12,686 5.2% $133,100
7 Wheeling 27,190 5.4% $107,700
8 Weirton 18,894 6.4% $94,900
9 Dunbar 7,462 4.6% $95,200
10 Nitro 6,201 4.5% $99,800

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

17 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In West Virginia For 2020

  1. They should include whether a town has a city-manager form of government or a strong mayorial form…Generally there are less politics in a town with a stronger city-manager…more fairness…more appealing to business franchises and development, and more citizen oriented.

  2. This list is laughable: Pea Ridge is indeed a geographic location near Barboursville , however most of it carries a Huntington zip code (no PO on Pea Ridge Road). Christophers Eats that was mentioned- well that’s in Barboursville. So the city of Huntington was on the ‘Worst’ list, but a road where most residents use a Huntington address is on the best list?! Not very scientific now are we??

    1. Lol..when I saw Pea Ridge on the list, I was thinking “isn’t that a shopping center or a strip mall, or something?”…

  3. I lived in Charleston for the first 21 years of my life. St Albans for the next 5 years and Beckley for the next 9 years. I visited several other towns in the valley area regularly. The only negative issue with any of the valley towns are the big chemical companies killing the air and water along the beautiful Kanawha River! Charleston is a river town nestled in the hills with lots to do! Beckley with its high altitude has plenty of fresh air with amazing overlook areas and ski resorts close by. And St Albans is a lazy town with charm as well and lots of activity along the Coal River. Our children were mostly educated in Beckley. When we moved to Charlotte they were at least 1/2 year ahead of the public school education in Charlotte. The only problem with the towns mentioned was the lack of beautifying the areas with flowering trees and flower borders in the towns surrounding roadways and streets. I miss each of the wonderful towns, but love the climate in Charlotte better.

  4. This is the biggest joke for 2015. As noted in other comments, these list really cause one to question anything in the media. Any true West Virginian knows the density and pollution are the areas true Mountaineers run from.

  5. Also, Clarksburg has the absolute BEST peperoni rolls in the entire country (Tomaro’s bakery), yet this somehow doesn’t play into your “scientific calculations” .

    again, go fuck yasef

  6. Most of these are not towns. Do you care if there is a downtown? How far do you have to drive to shop? Can you walk anyplace? This list makes no sense.

  7. Any pepperoni roll not make in North Central WV is not a genuine pepperoni roll… period.

    Also, the Morgantown area has the lowest crime rate for any significant city in our state, and has far more to do than any other 2 cities combined.

  8. Personally, I think a town or city’s location in relation to the slaw line should be a most important consideration.

  9. Clarksburg one of the worst to live in? Definitely not! My family lives there,in Clarksburg, and they have a very nice house, nice neighborhood, their kids go to a nice school, and the school is always doing community service projects to make their surroundings look nice! Clarksburg is a very nice city and has the far best bakery in the state. Robert C. Byrd high school has the best student section at every game at every sport, very great sportsmanship and very very supportive of each other. Clarksburg schools are not cocky towards other schools.

  10. Wow I am surprised Jefferson County towns are not on the list like Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry and Charles Town for best to live. Our county unemployment rate is nationally low, our schools are also top ranked and the community is low in crime.

  11. Really? New Martinsville? With one of the highest concentration of Meth, heroin and other opioids? Oh yeah, I want to live there. Data is skewed somewhere

  12. I call bull crap on this… total bull crap. You have not visited all the towns and community’s in Wv… by the way.. southern Wv still exists…

  13. I live in clarksburg and it is one of the worst cities I have ever been in my entire life. You can’t go anywhere without seeing druggies with their babies on street corners shooting up with the others. There are break ins, drug attics, robberies, I mean seriously, Clarksburg should be number one on every list that’s titled “worst cities to live in”, because it is. There might be school spirit, but that doesn’t make Clarksburg a good place. RCB might win games, but that does not make Clarksburg a good place. Washington Irving Middle School might win games, but that does not make clarksburg a good place. Clarksburg might have the best middle and high school in the state, but that does not make Clarksburg a good place. It won’t be a good place until these people get themselves cleaned up and get a life. Nothing schools will ever do will make up for the issues in Clarksburg.

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