Best Tacoma Suburbs To Live For 2020

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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth 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...

What's the best suburb of Tacoma? Mercer Island ranks as the best suburb of Tacoma for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. 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.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Or feel free to check out some more reading about Washington:

The 10 Best Tacoma Suburbs To Live For 2020

Mercer Island, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,492
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $142,413
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
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 $142,413 a year, which is the 3rd highest in the Tacoma region. And only 3.56% are out of work. Homes average more than $1,135,200 each.

Clyde Hill, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,295
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $212,396
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
More on Clyde Hill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Clyde Hill is the second best 'burb we looked at near Tacoma for 2020.

It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 0.88% of residents lack insurance, good for 2nd best.

Medina, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,260
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $192,120
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 4.1%
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.

Bainbridge Island, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,060
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $115,230
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
Poverty Rate: 4.9%
More on Bainbridge Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bainbridge Island ranks as the 4th best suburb of Tacoma for 2020.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Bainbridge Island and the schools are some of the best around.

Review Of Bainbridge Island by HomeSnacks User

Just moved to Bainbridge Island last year and we think it's fabulous! Weak reasons for BI to appear on this list! And I'll take 35 minute ferry ride any day instead of sitting in my car in traffic!

That 35 minutes; read the paper, check emails, and a fabulous Happy Hour on the ride home! Are you kidding me!!! Who made up this list- BTW, there's plenty to do on the island! Hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, shopping, boating, golf, tennis, should I go on-

Maple Valley, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,953
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Income: $107,299
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Poverty Rate: 4.5%
More on Maple Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Maple Valley.

Maple Valley gets kudos for having the 12th most expensive homes in the Tacoma area, where houses sell for an average of $377,100. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Bellevue, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 142,242
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $112,283
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Poverty Rate: 6.9%
More on Bellevue: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bellevue 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 3.96% which is 10th best in the area.

According to online reports, Bellevue is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Tacoma area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Normandy Park, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,678
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Income: $94,693
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 3.2%
More on Normandy Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Normandy Park.

Normandy Park 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 13.6 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,447
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $98,687
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Poverty Rate: 5.1%
More on Covington: Real Estate | Data

Covington 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 3.34% of people lack insurance, good for 8th in the area.

Issaquah, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 36,938
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $101,508
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 8.1%
More on Issaquah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Issaquah?'


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.

Newcastle, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,559
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Income: $119,125
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 4.9%
More on Newcastle: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is Newcastle.

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.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Tacoma for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs 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 for 2014-2018 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. You can download the data here.

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.

Welcome to the Best Tacoma 'Burbs of 2020

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, WA 25,492 $142,413
2 Clyde Hill, WA 3,295 $212,396
3 Medina, WA 3,260 $192,120
4 Bainbridge Island, WA 24,060 $115,230
5 Maple Valley, WA 25,953 $107,299
6 Bellevue, WA 142,242 $112,283
7 Normandy Park, WA 6,678 $94,693
8 Covington, WA 20,447 $98,687
9 Issaquah, WA 36,938 $101,508
10 Newcastle, WA 11,559 $119,125
11 Seattle, WA 708,823 $85,562
12 Fircrest, WA 6,711 $77,292
13 University Place, WA 32,907 $70,796
14 Bonney Lake, WA 20,313 $91,368
15 Edgewood, WA 10,599 $97,984
16 Gig Harbor, WA 9,382 $80,469
17 Dupont, WA 9,379 $83,158
18 Steilacoom, WA 6,270 $76,912
19 Milton, WA 7,543 $76,352
20 Black Diamond, WA 4,434 $94,650
21 Renton, WA 101,054 $74,756
22 Puyallup, WA 40,305 $70,711
23 Orting, WA 7,732 $80,497
24 Buckley, WA 4,680 $64,201
25 Pacific, WA 7,177 $61,157
26 Lacey, WA 47,852 $66,675
27 Sumner, WA 9,898 $59,846
28 Tumwater, WA 22,500 $65,167
29 Des Moines, WA 31,518 $63,875
30 Federal Way, WA 96,110 $66,011
31 Burien, WA 51,326 $62,315
32 Kent, WA 128,057 $68,880
33 Enumclaw, WA 11,768 $57,769
34 Yelm, WA 8,772 $65,377
35 Auburn, WA 79,110 $68,947
36 Seatac, WA 28,925 $58,995
37 Port Orchard, WA 13,788 $70,598
38 Olympia, WA 50,836 $58,606
39 Fife, WA 9,968 $61,447
40 Eatonville, WA 2,945 $64,821
41 Algona, WA 3,191 $69,853
42 Lakewood, WA 59,606 $50,175
43 Bremerton, WA 40,220 $50,311
44 Rainier, WA 2,346 $69,417
45 Tukwila, WA 20,198 $57,215

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.

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