THE 10 BEST Places To Live In New York For 2020


The cream of the crop in the Empire State.

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

Whether it's larger than life statues: A.K.A. the Statue of Liberty in New York City. New York knows how to do it up big.

New York's residents also know that "the big" doesn't stop there. Large groups of New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons every summer, big attitudes grace the stages on Broadway daily, and there's a reason they're called the New York 'Giants'.

With all this bigger is better lifestyle in New York, we had to ask the tough question: what makes their cities the best? In order to produce a comprehensive list of New York's best cities, we took a look at things that matter: low cost of living, gold star schools, and an above average employment rate to name a few.

Don't let New York's over-the-top demeanor scare you. New York really does rock. So much, that it was quite the challenge to reduce its best cities to just one list. The slogan "I Love New York" is stamped on every license plate and all the highway welcome signs greet you with the same love. Rightfully so, New Yorkers love their state and they want you to love it too. Even more, they want you to call its best cities home.

Grab yourself a fully loaded cup of diner coffee and a NY slice and read on to see how we did.

What city is the best place to live in New York for 2020? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, North Hills is the best place to live in the Empire State if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.

If you live anywhere in or close to New York's Nassau County, consider yourself pretty lucky. Our top ten, bigger than life, best New York cities like North Hills, Rye, and Massapequa Park raise the bar for the rest of the state. The star on The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has nothing on these places.

However, do not fret if you don't see your hometown in the top ten. We ranked all 162 places in New York for you! Take a breath and scroll down to see where your town ranked.

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 New York reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In New York For 2020

North Hills, NY

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,639
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $981,400 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (3rd best)
More on North Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

North Hills has it made. In fact, according to science, it's one of the best places to live in the state of New York.

The unemployment rate is the 3rd lowest in the state at 1.5%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $137,423, and the average cost of a home is $981,400. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.

We wouldn't be surprised if more and more publications call North Hills one of America's gems.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,113
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $1,012,200 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (21st best)
More on East Hills: Real Estate | Data

It's obvious why East Hills ranks 2nd in the state for best places to live: they have the 2lowest unemployment rate and the 7th highest home values.

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

Floral Park, NY

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 16,209
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $568,800 (28th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (31st best)
More on Floral Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

You might be surprised to see the Town of Floral Park so high on the list. Unless you live in Floral Park.

The unemployment rate here is really low, and at 3.6%, Floral Park residents are some of the hardest working in the state of New York. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Floral Park is doing quite well.

Let's be honest -- Floral Park is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Massapequa Park, NY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,120
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $460,800 (43rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (41st best)
More on Massapequa Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Massapequa Park comes in at a close 4th. They have the 4lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 18th highest median income as well, which means the people in Massapequa Park are working and getting paid well.

Additionally, the median home value is the 43rd best in the state.

Malverne, NY

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,535
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $444,600 (49th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (25th best)
More on Malverne: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Malverne comes in 5th in our best places to live in New York analysis.

Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (25th overall) and crime rate (20th overall), Malverne is the exact kind of place you'd want to live with a family.

Several large companies call the surrounding area home which should keep Malverne in our lists for years to come.

Rockville Centre, NY

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 24,442
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $627,200 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (23rd best)
More on Rockville Centre: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We wouldn't be surprised to see CNN call Rockville Centre one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there's essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.

They can't build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Rockville Centre.

Lawrence, NY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,535
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $916,500 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.4% (2nd best)
More on Lawrence: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The crime is the 20th lowest in the state in Lawrence, and there were only 2 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it's even safer here than the numbers indicate.

The schools are some of the best in New York, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Lawrence earn $142,500 a year.

Rye, NY

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 15,862
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $1,249,500 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (38th best)
More on Rye: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rye ranks as the 8th best place in New York for 2020. Let's take a look at why.

Rye has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Rye's cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries - to the tune of $180,958 a year.

The knock? We can't really find one 🙂

Mineola, NY

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 19,132
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $472,100 (41st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.0% (5th best)
More on Mineola: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Perhaps what makes Mineola so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.

However, quality education isn't all that makes Mineola great. They also have the 40th highest median income and the 99th shortest commute time.

Williston Park, NY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,294
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 8)
Median Home Value: $535,500 (34th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (71st best)
More on Williston Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Williston Park broke into the top ten best places to live in New York on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.

It placed 71st overall for its low unemployment rate and the 3highest median income of any place in our analysis.

However, it only has the 108th shortest average commute time of any place in New York.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in New York

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Albany with a population of 97,889 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 162 cities, 465 towns, and 340 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in New York 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 New York

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

We ranked each place in New York across a number of criteria from one to 162, 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 New York".

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 New York? That would be North Hills.

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 New York.

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

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In New York

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

North Hills made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in New York for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In New York

  1. Kensington (Pop. 1,176)
  2. Orchard Park (Pop. 3,197)
  3. Clarence Center (Pop. 2,341)
  4. East Greenbush (Pop. 4,960)
  5. Pittsford (Pop. 1,573)
  6. Halesite (Pop. 2,504)
  7. Katonah (Pop. 2,077)
  8. Roslyn Estates (Pop. 1,200)
  9. Point Lookout (Pop. 1,128)
  10. Cayuga Heights (Pop. 3,799)

Best Small Towns To Live In New York

  1. Copake Falls (Pop. 208)
  2. Chautauqua (Pop. 567)
  3. Virgil (Pop. 367)
  4. Grand View-on-Hudson (Pop. 366)
  5. Woodsburgh (Pop. 756)
  6. Hewlett Neck (Pop. 363)
  7. Malverne Park Oaks (Pop. 653)
  8. Belle Terre (Pop. 725)
  9. Plandome Manor (Pop. 884)
  10. North Hornell (Pop. 763)

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

  1. Rochester (Pop. 207,778)
  2. Monticello (Pop. 6,476)
  3. Gloversville (Pop. 14,938)

For more New York reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In New York?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 North Hills 5,639 1.5% $981,400
2 East Hills 7,113 3.2% $1,012,200
3 Floral Park 16,209 3.6% $568,800
4 Massapequa Park 17,120 4.0% $460,800
5 Malverne 8,535 3.5% $444,600
6 Rockville Centre 24,442 3.4% $627,200
7 Lawrence 6,535 1.4% $916,500
8 Rye 15,862 3.9% $1,249,500
9 Mineola 19,132 2.0% $472,100
10 Williston Park 7,294 5.2% $535,500

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.

3 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In New York For 2020

    1. Look chris…I’m a Brooklynite I moved to Binhanton NY in 1989 from East New York/Brownsville one of the worst places in Bklyn so my children did not have to grow up in that inviroment. Thank God it worked! So maybe before u judge u need to talk to real people!

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