Where are the best places in the state of Virginia?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Old Dominion where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Virginia.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 62 places in Virginia, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Vienna (Photos)
- Bridgewater (Photos)
- Purcellville (Photos)
- Falls Church (Photos)
- Poquoson (Photos)
- Leesburg (Photos)
- Alexandria (Photos)
- Warrenton (Photos)
- Salem (Photos)
- Virginia Beach (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Virginia.
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Richmond with a population of 216,773 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 5,200
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,200
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 62 cities, 174 towns, and 226 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,200 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Virginia
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Virginia across a number of criteria from one to 62, 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 Virginia”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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 Virginia.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Vienna at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Population: 16,378Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $662,200 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (1st best)
Vienna has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Virginia. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Vienna is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home pricese. Additionally, the commute time for Vienna residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Population: 5,906Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Values: $209,200 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (4th best)
Bridgewater is another great city in Virginia with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.
Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: ” We feel incredibly safe in Bridgewater. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things.”
Population: 8,914Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $426,500 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (11th best)
Purcellville broke into the top ten best places to live in Virginia on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.
It placed 11th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 2nd highest median income of any place in our analysis.
However, it only has the 58th shortest average commute time of any place in Virginia.
4. Falls Church
Population: 13,597Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Values: $724,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (18th best)
Falls Church’s unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 3rd highest, making Falls Church a great place to work and settle down if you’re look for a stable job with a stable income.
Additionally, Falls Church has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.
Population: 12,068Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Values: $301,800 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (3rd best)
Poquoson ranks as the 5th best place in Virginia for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
Poquoson has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Poquoson’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $84,643 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
Population: 49,401Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Values: $387,100 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (8th best)
With the unemployment rate being the 8th lowest in Virginia and very stable household median incomes, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live in Leesburg.
Plus, the crime rate is the 14th lowest in the state!
Population: 151,473Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Values: $520,700 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (8th best)
Alexandria comes in at a close 7th. They have the 8th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 7th highest median income as well, which means the people in Alexandria are working and getting paid well.
Additionally, the median home value is the 3rd best in the state.
Population: 9,880Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Home Values: $320,900 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (19th best)
Warrenton ranks as the 8th best place in Virginia for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
Warrenton has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Warrenton’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $67,553 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
Population: 25,290Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Values: $173,800 (35th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (13th best)
If you live in Salem, you probably know how great it is already.
Salem has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($52,351). And the crime is really, really low (19th lowest in Virginia).
If we could afford to move here, we probably would.
10. Virginia Beach
Population: 449,733Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $262,200 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (22nd best)
At an umeployment rate of 5.8%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Virginia Beach. And the residents command high salaries ($67,719 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($262,200 each).
We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in Virginia. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In Virginia
If you’re looking at areas in Virginia with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Vienna made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Virginia
- Pantops (Pop. 3,688)
- Belmont Estates (Pop. 1,329)
- Hayfield (Pop. 4,453)
- Kings Park (Pop. 4,687)
- Daleville (Pop. 3,180)
- Hampden-Sydney (Pop. 1,600)
- Ravensworth (Pop. 2,175)
- Bethel Manor (Pop. 4,181)
- Dayton (Pop. 1,633)
- Haymarket (Pop. 1,826)
Best Small Towns To Live In Virginia
- Greenbackville (Pop. 151)
- Lancaster (Pop. 139)
- Clifton (Pop. 219)
- Riner (Pop. 888)
- Washington (Pop. 140)
- Bobtown (Pop. 323)
- Free Union (Pop. 291)
- Round Hill (Pop. 570)
- New Kent (Pop. 345)
- Yorktown (Pop. 165)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Virginia:
- Emporia (Pop. 5,565)
- Petersburg (Pop. 31,997)
- Danville (Pop. 42,360)
For more Virginia reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Virginia
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Virginia
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Virginia
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Virginia
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