THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Maryland For 2020


These are the cream of the crop when it comes to living in the Old Line State.

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

There's nothing crabby about Maryland except for maybe their 'all you can eat blue crab specials'. The people here are super nice and some of the best places in America are nestled inside Maryland's Mid-Atlantic borders.

And, you don't have to do a Google scavenger hunt to find them. HomeSnacks has used science to create a list of the top ten best places in Maryland for 2020. We looked at 37 places and rated them according to median home prices, median household incomes, education, and safety.

The competition was fierce to say the least. Our top ten best places really brought their A-game. We can thank some of Maryland's best places for Marriott Hotels, The Discovery Channel, and Perdue Farms. And we can thank the other half for higher education institutions like John Hopkins and University of Maryland for educating the future of those companies.

Whether you want to be a Chesapeake Bay crabber, a Potomac Housewife, or you just want to live like Maryland royalty, there's a place on our top ten list for you.

Have we piqued your curiosity? If so, head on down to our list of the top ten best places to live in The Old Line State.

All great jobs and super smart Marylanders aside, the best places on our list are the best because the people in these places take affordable homes, high incomes, and safe neighborhoods very seriously.

However, there can only be one number one best place to live in Maryland. What is the best place to live in Maryland? According to the data we looked at, that would be Mount Airy. We are not at all surprised. Mount Airy has great people, amazing parks, gold star restaurants, and great shopping.

To see Maryland's other best of the best places, take a look below. And if you don't find it there, head to the bottom.

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 Maryland reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Maryland For 2020

Mount Airy, MD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,395
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $368,500 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (3rd best)
More on Mount Airy: Real Estate | Data | Photos

According to scientific data, Mount Airy is the best place in Maryland, and it's not even close.

Residents here earn the 2nd most per household in the state and crime is basically non-existent.

No wonder the population here has jumped more than 30% in the last five years. Everyone who can afford it wants to live here.

So if you're moving to Maryland and want to settle in an awesome place, look no further.

Bowie, MD

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 58,368
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $326,900 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (16th best)
More on Bowie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

At an unemployment rate of 5.8%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Bowie. And the residents command high salaries ($112,444 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($326,900 each).

We're not saying money is why these cities are the 'best' in Maryland. What we're implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Rockville, MD

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 67,062
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $521,700 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (8th best)
More on Rockville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you own a home in Rockville, you're aware that your home values are skyrocketing right now. That's a sign that things are going swimmingly. Most people there have good jobs, and the commute times are short.

The median home costs a cool $521,700 and households make $105,376 which is good for 4th in Maryland.Rockville has a well deserved spot on this list.

Poolesville, MD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,170
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $445,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (5th best)
More on Poolesville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who wouldn't want to live in a place where there's low crime and everyone is rich? That's the case with Poolesville.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 5th lowest in Maryland and the median income comes in at $170,093.

This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Hampstead, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 6,340
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $246,300 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (14th best)
More on Hampstead: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hampstead has a really low crime rate (3rd lowest) and only 5.7% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($75,286). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Hampstead.

Havre De Grace, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 13,555
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $289,200 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (31st best)
More on Havre De Grace: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Havre De Grace makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Maryland mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 8.6% of folks are jobless, you can bet Havre De Grace residents are glad to live where they do.

Thurmont, MD

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 6,563
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $248,000 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (22nd best)
More on Thurmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Thurmont isn't just the nicest place to live in Maryland - it's also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It's got the 22nd lowest unemployment rate, the 19th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you're looking at science and data, Thurmont definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 6,170
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $267,000 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (25th best)
More on Glenarden: Real Estate | Data

In Glenarden, everyone loves to call Glenarden home! The median home value is the 18th highest in Maryland.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 25th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Old Line State.

Glenarden should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

Takoma Park, MD

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 17,622
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $555,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (23rd best)
More on Takoma Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Let's take a look at why Takoma Park is a great place to call home for 2020.

There's low crime in Takoma Park, and the residents here are gainfully employed (6.6% unemployment rate).

You can make Takoma Park your home for only $555,000 which won't be too hard on a $86,439 household salary.

Walkersville, MD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,095
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $284,800 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (7th best)
More on Walkersville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

It's obvious why Walkersville ranks 10th in the state for best places to live: they have the 7th lowest unemployment rate and the 16th highest home values.

Plus, they're known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Walkersville a great place to live.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Maryland

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Annapolis with a population of 39,147 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 37 cities, 120 towns, and 139 small towns.

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

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Maryland

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

We ranked each place in Maryland across a number of criteria from one to 37, 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 Maryland".

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 Maryland? That would be Mount Airy.

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 Maryland.

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

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

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

Mount Airy made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Maryland for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Maryland

  1. Chevy Chase Village (Pop. 2,030)
  2. Chevy Chase (Pop. 2,948)
  3. Somerset (Pop. 1,215)
  4. Brookmont (Pop. 3,810)
  5. Garrett Park (Pop. 1,058)
  6. Cabin John (Pop. 1,958)
  7. Kensington (Pop. 2,111)
  8. Middletown (Pop. 4,460)
  9. Herald Harbor (Pop. 2,620)
  10. Friendship Heights Village (Pop. 4,730)

Best Small Towns To Live In Maryland

  1. Martin's Additions (Pop. 912)
  2. Chevy Chase Section Three (Pop. 733)
  3. Chevy Chase View (Pop. 935)
  4. North Chevy Chase (Pop. 498)
  5. Chevy Chase Section Five (Pop. 641)
  6. Glen Echo (Pop. 334)
  7. Nanticoke (Pop. 443)
  8. Tolchester (Pop. 284)
  9. Highland (Pop. 950)
  10. Beaver Creek (Pop. 296)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Maryland according to the data:

  1. Cambridge (Pop. 12,401)
  2. Elkton (Pop. 15,675)
  3. Salisbury (Pop. 32,536)

For more Maryland reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Maryland?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Mount Airy 9,395 3.1% $368,500
2 Bowie 58,368 5.8% $326,900
3 Rockville 67,062 4.6% $521,700
4 Poolesville 5,170 3.7% $445,400
5 Hampstead 6,340 5.7% $246,300
6 Havre De Grace 13,555 8.6% $289,200
7 Thurmont 6,563 6.4% $248,000
8 Glenarden 6,170 6.9% $267,000
9 Takoma Park 17,622 6.6% $555,000
10 Walkersville 6,095 4.3% $284,800

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.