The 10 Best College Towns In West Virginia For 2019


Swipe left for slideshow

Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and West Virginia is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in West Virginia are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in West Virginia for 2019:

  1. Morgantown, WV (Photos | Homes)
  2. Fairmont, WV (Photos | Homes)
  3. Huntington, WV (Photos | Homes)
  4. Vienna, WV (Photos | Homes)
  5. Wheeling, WV (Photos | Homes)
  6. Elkins, WV (Photos | Homes)
  7. Charleston, WV (Photos | Homes)
  8. Bluefield, WV (Photos | Homes)
  9. Parkersburg, WV (Photos | Homes)
  10. Keyser, WV (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Morgantown, Fairmont and Huntington - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Morgantown ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Read on to find out more or for more on West Virginia check out:

How'd we figure out the best college towns in West Virginia?

To crunch our data on West Virginia's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 10 places in West Virginia with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In West Virginia For 2019".

And it looks like Morgantown placed Summa Cum Laude.

Morgantown, WV
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 30,099
% Undergrad Pop.: 51.4% (1st best)
Median Rent: $779 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 910.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Morgantown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Morgantown is a city in and the county seat of Monongalia County, West Virginia, situated along the banks of the Monongahela River. With a permanent population of 31,073 per the 2015 U.S. Census estimates, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia. The Morgantown metropolitan area has a population of 138,176, and is the 3rd largest in West Virginia. West Virginia University adds several thousand seasonal residents to the city and surrounding area from September through May. Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University and the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system.

Colleges: West Virginia University, West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown, Monongalia County Technical Education Center

Fairmont, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 18,575
% Undergrad Pop.: 35.0% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $708 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 600.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Fairmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.

Colleges: Fairmont State University, Opportunities Industrialization Center, Pierpont Community and Technical College

Huntington, WV
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 48,034
% Undergrad Pop.: 24.2% (4th best)
Median Rent: $667 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 800.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Huntington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Huntington is a city in Cabell County and Wayne County in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is the county seat of Cabell County, and largest city in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area. A historic and bustling city of commerce and heavy industry, Huntington has long-flourished due to its ideal location on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Guyandotte River. It is home to the Port of Huntington Tri-State, the busiest inland port in the United States.

Colleges: Marshall University, Cabell County Career Technology Center, Huntington Junior College

Vienna, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 10,547
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.0% (9th best)
Median Rent: $609 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 420.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Vienna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Colleges: Ohio Valley University

Wheeling, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 27,521
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.6% (8th best)
Median Rent: $616 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 530.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Wheeling: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling's major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.

Colleges: West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling Jesuit University, Scott College of Cosmetology

Elkins, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 7,154
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.3% (7th best)
Median Rent: $583 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 620.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Elkins: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, USA. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins, a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,094 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County. Elkins is home to Davis and Elkins College and to the Mountain State Forest Festival, held in early October every year.

Colleges: Davis & Elkins College, Randolph Technical Center

Charleston, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 49,384
% Undergrad Pop.: 2.1% (10th best)
Median Rent: $701 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 630.0% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 10th best
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charleston is the state capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of West Virginia, and the county seat of Kanawha County. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers. As of the 2013 Census Estimate, it had a population of 50,821, while its metropolitan area had 224,743. It is a center of government, commerce, and industry.

Colleges: University of Charleston, Carver Career Center, West Virginia Junior College-Charleston

Bluefield, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 10,144
% Undergrad Pop.: 26.1% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $562 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 740.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Bluefield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,342.

Colleges: Bluefield State College

Parkersburg, WV
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 30,596
% Undergrad Pop.: 10.7% (6th best)
Median Rent: $630 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 800.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Parkersburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Parkersburg is a city in and the county seat of Wood County, West Virginia, United States. Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers, it is the state's third-largest city and the largest city in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna metropolitan area. The population was 31,492 at the 2010 census. Its peak of population was more than 44,000 in 1960. The city is about 14 miles south of Marietta, Ohio.

Colleges: West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Mountain State College, Wood County School of Practical Nursing

Keyser, WV
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 5,183
% Undergrad Pop.: 21.4% (5th best)
Median Rent: $634 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1240.0% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Keyser: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Keyser is a city in and the county seat of Mineral County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,439 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: Potomac State College of West Virginia University, Mineral County Vocational Technical Center

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in West Virginia, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

10 Best College Towns In West Virginia

Rank City Population
1 Morgantown, WV 30099
2 Fairmont, WV 18575
3 Huntington, WV 48034
4 Vienna, WV 10547
5 Wheeling, WV 27521
6 Elkins, WV 7154
7 Charleston, WV 49384
8 Bluefield, WV 10144
9 Parkersburg, WV 30596
10 Keyser, WV 5183

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?