Best Places To Live In Louisiana For 2020

We used science to determine the cream of the crop in the Bayou State

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Louisiana.

As we’ve stated before in a previous article, the state of Louisiana is certainly home to some gems.

It’s got more culture in its pinky than America has in its hand.

The residents are very likeable, and there’s a lot of history and beauty throughout the state that makes it the envy of the South.

Our goal in this post is to use science to determine which of Louisiana’s cities are the best. It isn’t a knock on other places there, but, when it’s all said and done, statistically, this gives the cities at the top a lot of bragging rights.

We looked at data from the FBI on crime, the Census for things like home prices and education, and the best schools to determine the best places to live in Louisiana.

After analyzing the largest 60 cities, we came up with this list as the ten best places in Louisiana. Grab yourself some crawfish and a beignet from Cafe Du Monde and get ready for the best Louisiana has to offer.

The 10 Best Places To Live In Louisiana For 2020

1. Harahan

Population: 9,309
Median Home Value: $233,600
Median Household Income: $63,854

Harahan, LA

King Louis XIV would be super proud of Louisiana’s #1 best place to live in the state, Harahan, because this city is pretty great.

While Harahan is the middle point between Baton Rouge and Gulfport, Mississippi, there’s nothing middle of the road about this small town of 9,309 residents 25 minutes directly west of New Orleans
in Jefferson Parish. The crime rate in Harahan is below the state average–it is one of the top safest places in the Bayou State.

Harahan’s cost of living numbers aren’t too shabby, either. The median home price here is the 2nd highest in the state at $233,600, but people here make good money–$63,854/year and the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state at 2.9%.

2. Mandeville

Population: 12,252
Median Home Value: $279,000
Median Household Income: $71,643

Mandeville, LA

What started as a vacation destination in the early 19th Century for Louisiana’s middle and upper class to escape the heat of the bayou, is now the 2nd best place to live in the state.

So, if you guessed that the cost of living here is slightly higher than the rest of the state, you guessed right. The median home price in Mandeville is the highest in the state at $279,000 and everyday living expenses like transportation and utilities are also slightly higher. Mandeville is after all one of the richest in the state so we were not surprised to find that the 12,252 residents who live here earn a median income of $71,643/year. But, since most of these are second homes, we were surprised to find that the job market in Mandeville was holding strong and that the unemployment rate here is the 8th lowest in the state at 3.8%. (Someone has to cater to Louisiana’s wealthy, right?)

The crime rate in Mandeville was definitely lower than the rest of the state (there were only 233 crimes recorded last year)–wealthy people don’t tend to scrimp on security and they don’t scrimp on entertainment, either. In fact, Mandeville scored an 8.5/10 for amenities on our SnackAbility scale; and the word on the street, you won’t be considered a Mandeville local until you’ve spent a weekend exploring Fontainebleau State Park.

3. Youngsville

Population: 12,753
Median Home Value: $223,600
Median Household Income: $86,637

Youngsville, LA

Hop on the causeway and head west from Mandeville and you will run right smack dab into Louisiana’s 3rd best place to live, Youngsville.

This is why Youngsville is Louisiana’s best of the best: this city of 12,753 residents in Lafayette Parish are pretty smart. The number of people with a high school diploma is close to 25% and the number of people with a degree is upwards of 45%–that’s over half the population, folks. In fact, Youngsville earned one of the highest scores on our SnackAbility Scale–a 9/10 for best city indicators like jobs, safety, and education.

Youngsville’s job market is also strong: the current unemployment rate here is the 4th in the state at 3.0% and the city’s average combined household income is $86,637/year. And you’re going to need a job if you choose to buy a home here instead of rent as the median home price in Youngsville is the 3rd highest in the state at $223,600.

The cost of living here is slightly higher than the rest of the state, but can you really put a dollar amount on happiness? We don’t think so. In fact, we’re pretty sure that if you asked any Youngsville-ite, they will tell you that Youngsville is one of the happiest places to live, work, and raise a family in the state. Yes, life truly is sweeter in “young village.”

4. Patterson

Population: 6,012
Median Home Value: $111,800
Median Household Income: $45,631

Patterson, LA

Although Patterson has a history of patriots fighting pirates to defend the city’s limits, what we’re about to say is not just some Louisiana Pirate Lore: Patterson really is the 4th best place to live in the Pelican State for 2020 and the following numbers prove it.

Patterson’s cost of living numbers are some of the lowest in the state. You can buy a home here for $111,800 and living expenses like groceries, transportation, and utilities are comparable to or slightly below the state average. Patterson’s residents make a decent salary at $45,631/year and it seems like everyone who can work does as the city’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the state at 2.7%.

Yes, the crime rate here is a bit higher than the rest of the state. And while you don’t have to worry about Peg Leg Pete anymore, you do need to make sure you lock your doors as a majority of the crimes reported this past year were property related.

5. Covington

Population: 10,133
Median Home Value: $214,800
Median Household Income: $56,754

Covington, LA

There might be remnants of Civil War battles on this soil, but the only battle being fought now in Louisiana’s 5th best place to live, Covington, is the battle to keep the city’s cost of living down and its criminals at bay. And, folks, it seems to be working as Covington scored an 8/10 for housing on our SnackAbility scale. Incidentally, Covington has the 6th best median home price at $214,800 and living expenses like groceries, health and transportation services are well below the state and national average. The same can be said for the crime rate here. Not only is Covington one of the safest places in Louisiana, there were only 253 committed here last year.

We bet that you didn’t know that Covington is in a region referred to as the Ozona belt–basically, this small town in St. Tammany Parish has some of the best air and water quality in the state. So, there’s no excuse to get out and about in this town, and we recommend you start at one corner of the 80,000 acres that have been set aside for city parks and wildlife refuge areas. And if that doesn’t suit your fancy, the city itself is located where the Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte River meet. In fact, We hear that the annual Three Rivers Art Festival is a must see.

6. Broussard

Population: 11,412
Median Home Value: $199,300
Median Household Income: $69,620

Broussard, LA

Whether you’re a fan of good ‘ol fashioned southern hospitality, sweet southern charm, or a low cost of living, Louisiana’s 6th best place to live, Broussard, has all of this and then some.

Don’t let the fact that there are only 11,412 residents in this small town in Cajun Country make you think that there’s nothing to do here. It’s actually quite the opposite. Matter of fact, one of the main attractions here is the Zoo of Acadiana and there are a lot of historical hotspots like the Cypress Island Preserve and Acadian Village that will keep you happily entertained on a daily basis.

However, with the 7th lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.6%, you are going to find yourself pretty busy working to pay the 7th best median home price in the state. And, you’re going to want a job as the Broussard does not need anyone else adding to their current poverty rate at 8.1%.

7. Sulphur

Population: 20,241
Median Home Value: $138,800
Median Household Income: $53,522

Sulphur, LA

Source: Public domain

Just above the heel of the infamous Louisiana boot is the 7th best place to live in the state, Sulphur. But, that’s not dirty boot your smelling, this city used to be the home to working sulfur mines during the early 20th Century (hence the name). Sulphur’s new focus, however, has shifted to keeping its 20,241 residents happy, healthy, and thriving.

Located 10 miles directly west of Lake Charles along “the I-10,” Sulphur excelled in a majority of our SnackAbility indicators: jobs, affordability, amenities, and commute times. In terms of jobs, Sulphur has the 10th lowest unemployment rate on our list at 4.5%. Some of the highest paying jobs here are in healthcare and engineering–the state is after all one of the leading states for oil and gasoline production. And, folks, Sulphur is super affordable–you can get a home for the median home price of $138,800. So, we were not surprised to find that Sulphur is one of the most affordable places in the state. The city’s cost of living expenses like groceries, healthcare, and utilities also managed to come in under the state average.

8. Lafayette

Population: 126,515
Median Home Value: $190,800
Median Household Income: $50,182

Lafayette, LA

Source: Public domain

Located just minutes from the “Crawfish Capital of the World” (Breaux Bridge) is the 8th best place to live in Louisiana, Lafayette. And the following is a guide to navigate the cost of living waters in the “The Heart of Cajun Country”.

Yes, if you want to buy a home here, you will be paying the 9th best median home price in the state–a single-family home will cost you $190,800. You won’t have trouble finding a job here as the unemployment rate is the 13th lowest in the state at 4.7%. And just so you know, the combined household income in Lafayette is $50,182/year. And while this salary is doable, you’re going to want to choose a job wisely–we hear swamp tour operators and crawfish and shrimp fishing are pretty popular industries and always looking for help.

And because Lafayette is so centrally located, the commute times here are next to nothing. In fact, Lafayette scored an 8/10 on our SnackAbility scale for commute times as well as jobs, housing, and education. Lafayette also had high marks for diversity and amenities. Yes, if you didn’t already know, Lafayette has a large French and Cajun population that not only enhance Lafayette’s flair, but they create some of the best cuisine.

9. Zachary

Population: 17,056
Median Home Value: $218,700
Median Household Income: $78,089

Zachary, LA

There are two types of people who live in the 9th best place to live in Louisiana, Zachary: either the veteran holdouts who have lived here forever and are watching their home values skyrocket as the median home price here is the 5th highest or those who make well over the city’s median income of $78,089 and can afford to buy a home at $218,700. Zachary is after all one of the richest places in the states.

Either way, if you choose to buy your forever home in Zachary, you will be set. Your kids will get to go to great schools, there are a ton of job opportunities here (the unemployment rate is the 9th lowest in the state at 4.4% and the city’s cost of living is manageable if you work hard like the rest of Zachary’s 17,056 residents.

Zachary did score rather low on our SnackAbility scale for crime. At the time of this report, there were 734 crimes reported; but in all fairness, a majority of them were property related. To put it in perspective, you have a 1 in 162.6 chance of being a victim of a crime, so just be smart so that you can win at the adult version of the game of LIFE.

10. Kenner

Population: 66,910
Median Home Value: $175,600
Median Household Income: $53,885

Kenner, LA

If you need to live close to Louis Armstrong International Airport and you appreciate a good deal, then Louisiana’s 10th best place to live, Kenner, is meant for you. But those aren’t the only reasons that Kenner is so great. The largest city in Jefferson Parish has the 10th best price for homes in the state ($175,600) and the residents here do quite well for themselves pulling in a combined median household income of $53,885/year.

And, if you want all the bells and whistles of a big city, but you don’t want to have to worry about your safety, Kenner is not only one of the safest places in the state, there were only 2,195 committed here this past year. Not to mention, they must have their teenagers on lockdown as they have one of the highest graduation rates.

Basically, we can’t think of one reason that you shouldn’t consider Kenner as your home. And if you hurry, you can catch Louisiana festival season.

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Baton Rouge with a population of 225,362 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 5,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 60 cities, 163 towns, and 161 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Louisiana have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Louisiana

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Louisiana across a number of criteria from one to 60, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Louisiana”.

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Louisiana? That would be Harahan.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Louisiana.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Harahan at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Louisiana

If you’re looking at areas in Louisiana with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Harahan made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Louisiana for 2020.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Louisiana reading, check out:

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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