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:
- St. Albans
- Teays Valley
- Pea Ridge
- South Charleston
To see how we came up with this list, continue on with us as we adventure into the land of numbers, data crunching, and science.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live
We believe that in order to be “the best” place to live, a town or city must meet a certain threshold of people. So we limited our analysis to only places with over 5,000. This left us with 33 places
If really small town living is your thing, don’t worry, we calculated the best small towns at the end of the post. We just did not consider them for the overall best place to live.
So how did we determine the rank of the best places?
We ranked each place across a number of criteria from 1 to 33, with 1 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:
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Housing Vacancy Rate
- Education (Expenditures per student and Student Teacher Ratio)
- Commute Time
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.
1. St. Albans
St. Albans came in at number one on our list of best places to live in West Virginia thanks to high scores in population density (2nd overall), housing vacancy (5th), and median income adjusted for cost of living (6th).
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.
Vienna has grown over the course of its 200+ year history to become a great place to live along the Ohio River.
Vienna ranked impressively high for its crime rate (7th 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.
3. Teays Valley
Coming in at number 3 on our list for best places in WV is Teays Valley.
The town ranked highly for adjusted median income (3rd overall) and crime (5th overall).
While the average commute time is the highest of any place in our top ten, it’s well worth it for the quality of life you’ll find in Teays Valley.
Ranked 4th in our list, Dunbar scored well in commute time (8th overall) and weather (10th overall). In particular, the comfort index for Dunbar is quite high indicating that the temperature and weather stay fairly consistent through the course of the year.
Dunbar offers an impressive amount to do while maintaining a small town’s charm.
When you come into town be sure to check out Shawnee Park and Ridge View BBQ.
5. Pea Ridge
Pea Ridge scored consistent marks across the board to finish at number five on our list. Its population density (5th overall) and low unemployment rate (10th) stood out.
In addition to local parks and walking tails, Pea Ridge also offers some pretty solid food options. Check out Christopher’s Eats for a solid mid-day meal.
6. South Charleston
South Charleston has the highest population of any town in our top ten with a little over 13,400 people.
It ranked highly because of its low vacancy rate (2nd overall) of 6.16% and the quality of the weather (8th overall and 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.
Coming in at number seven on our list of best places to live in West Virginia is Moundsville.
Moundsville ranked highly because of the quality of education for its residents (5th overall) and it’s the most densely populated placed in the state.
Named after the many Native American burial mounds created more than two thousand years ago, Moundsville has an impressive amount of history for a small city. In addition to the many historic burial grounds, it’s home to a retired state penitentiary and the Palace of Gold.
Hurricane is a town that prides itself on community and that’s evidenced by the fact of its low crime rate (9th overall) and low unemployment rate (8th).
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.
Bridgeport is a thriving community in Central West Virginia and a great place to live. It has the highest adjusted median income of any place on our list coming in at just over $77,000.
It also has a low unemployment rate and housing vacancy rate.
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.
Just cracking into our top ten places to live in West Virginia is Brookhaven.
Brookhaven had the lowest unemployment of any place in our research (3.8%) and the lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and weather held it back from being higher on our list.
Brookhaven is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department. It serves not just Brookhaven, but the surrounding area and responds to over 1,300 calls per year.
(Pepperoni) Rolling It Up
So there you have our list of the best places to live in West Virginia with St. Albans taking the top spot.
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.
And, in case you’re curious, we also ranked the worst places to live in West Virginia. You can read that post by clicking here.
Best Places To Live In WV Complete Rank
|City||Population||Best Place To Live Score||Rank|
Best Small Towns
- Mount Carbon
- Charlton Heights
- North Hills
- Glasgow (tie)
- Shrewsbury (tie)
- West Milford