These Are The 10 Best Tacoma Suburbs For 2019


We analyzed over 45 places around Tacoma to identify the most in demand places to live.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best Tacoma suburbs.

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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…

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.

Or feel free to check out some more reading about Washington:

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 2019

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 (2013-2017) 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.

Mercer Island, WA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 24,768
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $136,644
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Poverty Rate: 4.3%
More on Mercer Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 $136,644 a year, which is the 3rd highest in the Tacoma region. And only 4.2% are out of work. Homes average more than $1,034,600 each.

Clyde Hill, WA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 3,231
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $205,500
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Poverty Rate: 3.7%
More on Clyde Hill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clyde Hill is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Tacoma for 2019.

It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 0.9% of residents lack insurance, good for 1st best.

Medina, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 3,217
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $186,484
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on Medina: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Medina, 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 Medina.

Newcastle, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 11,346
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $118,333
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 4.6%
More on Newcastle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newcastle ranks as the 4th best suburb of Tacoma for 2019.

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.

Normandy Park, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 6,634
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Income: $95,313
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 2.7%
More on Normandy Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Normandy Park.

Normandy Park gets kudos for having the 8th most expensive homes in the Tacoma area, where houses sell for an average of $502,900. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Bainbridge Island, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 23,689
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $109,341
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.8%
More on Bainbridge Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 3.3% which is 4th 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.

Bellevue, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 139,014
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $105,402
Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Poverty Rate: 7.4%
More on Bellevue: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Bellevue.

Bellevue 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 27.8 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Maple Valley, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 25,375
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $102,130
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on Maple Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Maple Valley 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 4.1% of people lack insurance, good for 9th in the area.

Issaquah, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 35,629
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Income: $100,844
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Poverty Rate: 7.2%
More on Issaquah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is ‘Everything Better In Issaquah?’

Almost.

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.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 19,918
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $93,980
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Poverty Rate: 5.5%
More on Covington: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2019 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 2019

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

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Mercer Island 24,768 $136,644
2 Clyde Hill 3,231 $205,500
3 Medina 3,217 $186,484
4 Newcastle 11,346 $118,333
5 Normandy Park 6,634 $95,313
6 Bainbridge Island 23,689 $109,341
7 Bellevue 139,014 $105,402
8 Maple Valley 25,375 $102,130
9 Issaquah 35,629 $100,844
10 Covington 19,918 $93,980
11 Seattle 688,245 $79,565
12 Bonney Lake 19,560 $90,580
13 Steilacoom 6,199 $70,523
14 Edgewood 10,165 $90,544
15 Dupont 9,303 $77,712
16 Milton 7,481 $71,441
17 Renton 99,692 $70,661
18 University Place 32,528 $64,883
19 Gig Harbor 8,651 $74,159
20 Fircrest 6,666 $63,534
21 Black Diamond 4,378 $75,880
22 Lacey 46,655 $64,631
23 Puyallup 39,637 $65,719
24 Tumwater 22,005 $64,786
25 Des Moines 31,080 $60,814
26 Federal Way 94,905 $62,086
27 Port Orchard 13,476 $67,750
28 Buckley 4,593 $59,355
29 Orting 7,460 $74,938
30 Pacific 7,113 $55,799
31 Kent 126,561 $64,573
32 Burien 50,729 $60,732
33 Sumner 9,789 $56,991
34 Enumclaw 11,670 $55,082
35 Auburn 77,440 $64,400
36 Olympia 49,928 $55,539
37 Eatonville 2,900 $59,115
38 Yelm 8,425 $57,901
39 Seatac 28,597 $51,025
40 Rainier 2,345 $68,594
41 Fife 9,805 $58,649
42 Lakewood 59,102 $47,636
43 Algona 3,171 $62,120
44 Bremerton 39,584 $48,757
45 Tukwila 20,025 $51,318

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.

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