These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In West Virginia


We analyzed over 18 places in West Virginia to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of West Virginia.

But where exactly in West Virginia? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in West Virginia that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Dunbar don’t mind us spreading the word. Here are our top ten places in the Mountain State to retire:

  1. Dunbar
  2. St. Albans
  3. Parkersburg
  4. Fairmont
  5. Princeton
  6. Grafton
  7. Bluefield
  8. Buckhannon
  9. Weirton
  10. Vienna

Why did Dunbar take the top spot? And where are Charleston and Parkersburg? Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Mountain State

To create our list of the best places in West Virginia to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Mountain State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 18 places from across the state.

For these 18, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 18, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Dunbar, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Dunbar


Population 2014: 7,844
Cost Of Living: 82
Distance to Closest Airport: 118 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,562
Dunbar ranked 1 overall thanks to its 9 place rank for cost of living and 6 place safety rank.

2. St. Albans

St. Albans, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,939
Cost Of Living: 81
Distance to Closest Airport: 115 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,397
St. Albans ranked 2 overall thanks to its 6 place rank for cost of living and 14 place safety rank.

3. Parkersburg

Parkersburg, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 31,195
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 83 miles
Crime Per 100k: 282
Parkersburg ranked 3 overall thanks to its 1 place rank for cost of living and 2 place safety rank.

4. Fairmont

Fairmont, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,746
Cost Of Living: 81
Distance to Closest Airport: 70 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,611
Fairmont ranked 4 overall thanks to its 6 place rank for cost of living and 4 place safety rank.

5. Princeton

Princeton, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,387
Cost Of Living: 80
Distance to Closest Airport: 149 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,289
Princeton ranked 5 overall thanks to its 4 place rank for cost of living and 13 place safety rank.

6. Grafton

Grafton, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,179
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 80 miles
Crime Per 100k: 173
Grafton ranked 6 overall thanks to its 1 place rank for cost of living and 1 place safety rank.

7. Bluefield

Bluefield, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,465
Cost Of Living: 79
Distance to Closest Airport: 142 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,809
Bluefield ranked 7 overall thanks to its 3 place rank for cost of living and 7 place safety rank.

8. Buckhannon

Buckhannon, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,646
Cost Of Living: 86
Distance to Closest Airport: 103 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,028
Buckhannon ranked 8 overall thanks to its 15 place rank for cost of living and 9 place safety rank.

9. Weirton

Weirton, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,523
Cost Of Living: 81
Distance to Closest Airport: 18 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,521
Weirton ranked 9 overall thanks to its 6 place rank for cost of living and 3 place safety rank.

10. Vienna

Vienna, West Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,654
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 81 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,980
Vienna ranked 10 overall thanks to its 12 place rank for cost of living and 5 place safety rank.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in West Virginia goes to Dunbar.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Bridgeport
  • Charleston
  • Beckley

For more West Virginia reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In West Virginia

City Rank Population Cost Of Living Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Dunbar 1 7,844 82 118 2,562
St. Albans 2 10,939 81 115 4,397
Parkersburg 3 31,195 78 83 282
Fairmont 4 18,746 81 70 1,611
Princeton 5 6,387 80 149 4,289
Grafton 6 5,179 78 80 173
Bluefield 7 10,465 79 142 2,809
Buckhannon 8 5,646 86 103 3,028
Weirton 9 19,523 81 18 1,521
Vienna 10 10,654 83 81 1,980
Nitro 11 6,860 82 113 4,591
Morgantown 12 30,133 97 60 2,903
South Charleston 13 13,380 82 120 7,137
Wheeling 14 28,129 83 37 3,277
Oak Hill 15 8,270 82 158 3,518
Beckley 16 17,529 84 169 8,294
Charleston 17 50,911 91 122 7,754
Bridgeport 18 8,316 99 81 3,367

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