Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.
There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.
But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.
Of course, not all suburbs of Tacoma are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
Here are the 10 best suburbs around Tacoma for 2018:
- Mercer Island (Photos | Homes)
- Medina (Photos | Homes)
- Clyde Hill (Homes)
- Newcastle (Photos | Homes)
- Maple Valley (Photos | Homes)
- Bainbridge Island (Photos | Homes)
- Issaquah (Photos | Homes)
- Bellevue (Photos | Homes)
- Normandy Park (Photos | Homes)
- Covington (Homes)
If you happen to be a resident of Mercer Island, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.
We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Tacoma ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.
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Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Tacoma for 2018
Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Tacoma was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:
- Low unemployment rate
- High Median household incomes
- Population density (lots of things to do)
- High home values
- A lot of college educated people
- Low poverty
- High rate of insured families
Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2012-2016) to research each suburb.
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Tacoma.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 45 suburbs to evaluate around Tacoma.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 45 in each category, where 1 was the “best.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Tacoma.” We’re lookin’ at you, Mercer Island.
Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.
1. Mercer Island
Mercer Island is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Tacoma area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Mercer Island.”
Everyone here is rich; families average $129,348 a year, which is the 3rd highest in the Tacoma region. And only 4.6% are out of work. Homes average more than $956,200 each.
Medina is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Tacoma for 2018.
It ranks 2nd for incomes in the area and only 3.0% of residents lack insurance, good for 3rd best.
3. Clyde Hill
Here in Clyde Hill, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Tacoma metro area.
The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.
But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Clyde Hill.
Newcastle ranks as the 4th best suburb of Tacoma for 2018.
You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Newcastle and the schools are some of the best around.
5. Maple Valley
Coming in as the fifth best is Maple Valley.
Maple Valley gets kudos for having the 13th most expensive homes in the Tacoma area, where houses sell for an average of $312,600. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.
6. Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.
Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 3.9% which is 2nd best in the area.
According to online reports, Bainbridge Island is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Tacoma area, meaning you need to get in soon.
The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Issaquah.
Issaquah schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.
And, it’s only 27.9 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.
Bellevue is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.
A solid 7.4% of people lack insurance, good for 24th in the area.
9. Normandy Park
Is ‘Everything Better In Normandy Park?’
It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.
And rounding out the top ten for 2018 is Covington.
This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.
Welcome to the Best Tacoma ‘Burbs of 2018
We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.
So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Tacoma, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.
For more Washington reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Tacoma Suburbs