These Are The 10 Best Tacoma Suburbs For 2018


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

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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…

Here are the 10 best suburbs around Tacoma for 2018:

  1. Mercer Island (Photos | Homes)
  2. Medina (Photos | Homes)
  3. Clyde Hill (Homes)
  4. Newcastle (Photos | Homes)
  5. Maple Valley (Photos | Homes)
  6. Bainbridge Island (Photos | Homes)
  7. Issaquah (Photos | Homes)
  8. Bellevue (Photos | Homes)
  9. Normandy Park (Photos | Homes)
  10. 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.

For more Washington reading, check out:

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, Washington

Population: 24,467
Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Median Home Price: $956,200
Median Income: $129,348
More on Mercer Island: Real Estate | Data

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.

2. Medina

Medina, Washington

Source: Public domain

Population: 3,169
Unemployment Rate: 2.0%
Median Home Price: $1,654,600
Median Income: $182,604
More on Medina: Real Estate | Data

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

Clyde Hill, Washington

Population: 3,197
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Median Home Price: $1,578,900
Median Income: $193,516
More on Clyde Hill: Real Estate | Data

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.

4. Newcastle

Newcastle, Washington

Population: 11,189
Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Median Home Price: $579,600
Median Income: $111,955
More on Newcastle: Real Estate | Data

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

Maple Valley, Washington

Population: 25,093
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Median Home Price: $312,600
Median Income: $98,925
More on Maple Valley: Real Estate | Data

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, Washington

Population: 23,576
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Median Home Price: $569,700
Median Income: $102,906
More on Bainbridge Island: Real Estate | Data

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.

7. Issaquah

Issaquah, Washington

Population: 34,728
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Home Price: $477,200
Median Income: $92,071
More on Issaquah: Real Estate | Data

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.

8. Bellevue

Bellevue, Washington

Population: 136,718
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
Median Home Price: $608,500
Median Income: $100,703
More on Bellevue: Real Estate | Data

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

Normandy Park, Washington

Population: 6,598
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Median Home Price: $484,700
Median Income: $89,425
More on Normandy Park: Real Estate | Data

Is ‘Everything Better In Normandy Park?’

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.

10. Covington

Population: 19,172
Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Median Home Price: $271,200
Median Income: $88,806
More on Covington: Real Estate | Data

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

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Mercer Island 24,467 4.6% $956,200 $129,348
2 Medina 3,169 2.0% $1,654,600 $182,604
3 Clyde Hill 3,197 6.8% $1,578,900 $193,516
4 Newcastle 11,189 4.8% $579,600 $111,955
5 Maple Valley 25,093 7.5% $312,600 $98,925
6 Bainbridge Island 23,576 3.9% $569,700 $102,906
7 Issaquah 34,728 5.1% $477,200 $92,071
8 Bellevue 136,718 5.0% $608,500 $100,703
9 Normandy Park 6,598 4.1% $484,700 $89,425
10 Covington 19,172 4.8% $271,200 $88,806
11 Seattle 668,849 5.1% $484,600 $74,458
12 Fircrest 6,660 8.5% $282,400 $69,278
13 Edgewood 9,862 4.9% $307,800 $83,514
14 Dupont 9,224 10.6% $310,600 $76,962
15 University Place 32,342 7.3% $293,700 $60,947
16 Steilacoom 6,175 7.4% $295,300 $67,500
17 Milton 7,239 5.4% $234,400 $66,744
18 Bonney Lake 19,022 6.2% $272,400 $85,975
19 Black Diamond 4,321 4.7% $320,600 $70,259
20 Gig Harbor 8,307 10.7% $347,400 $64,931
21 Renton 98,499 5.3% $313,500 $66,050
22 Tumwater 21,684 6.2% $224,900 $62,050
23 Orting 7,254 6.0% $207,600 $71,981
24 Puyallup 39,274 7.4% $258,800 $64,342
25 Lacey 45,644 8.8% $227,900 $59,624
26 Federal Way 93,986 6.8% $259,300 $58,855
27 Des Moines 30,904 6.7% $266,500 $59,948
28 Kent 125,492 6.8% $262,800 $61,033
29 Burien 50,187 5.8% $290,500 $54,546
30 Buckley 4,516 5.1% $223,700 $60,466
31 Enumclaw 11,543 6.5% $240,900 $55,644
32 Sumner 9,691 5.9% $234,700 $57,303
33 Eatonville 2,862 8.0% $194,500 $60,172
34 Olympia 49,608 8.6% $246,100 $54,523
35 Port Orchard 13,265 10.1% $256,500 $63,634
36 Auburn 75,607 7.4% $241,800 $60,262
37 Rainier 2,138 14.8% $172,200 $66,620
38 Seatac 28,298 6.4% $246,100 $48,487
39 Fife 9,645 7.5% $229,100 $56,871
40 Pacific 7,042 8.3% $211,600 $53,301
41 Yelm 8,066 12.3% $202,500 $51,405
42 Lakewood 59,489 10.8% $218,600 $45,261
43 Algona 3,140 10.9% $183,400 $55,938
44 Bremerton 39,388 8.7% $178,600 $47,358
45 Tukwila 19,878 7.4% $248,600 $48,490

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