THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Virginia For 2020


These are the cream of the crop in the Commonwealth.

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

Where are the best places to live in Virginia?

Some might say wherever there's a college basketball team, a NASCAR track, a sunny beach, a snowy mountain, a pot of blue crab, or a hefty Brunswick Stew. When you stumble upon all, you might feel like you've won the Virginia Lottery. That's right, folks, Virginia is not only 'For Lovers,' it has some of the best cities on the East Coast. And lucky for you, HomeSnacks has calculated the top ten best places to live in Virginia for 2020.

All University of Virginia basketball and Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab aside, Virginia is the tenth oldest state in the country, so that's all the more reason that they should have the best cities. They've had some time to perfect them. And that's just what the Virginia cities on our top ten best cities list have done.

The Old Dominion cities that made our list average some of the highest median household incomes and boasts some of the most expensive homes. These cities have some of the most educated residents and safety is a priority.

So grab yourself some boiled peanuts, a shot of good 'ol Virginia whiskey, and read on.

What does the best place to live in the Birthplace of American Spirits look like? The best place to live in Virginia for 2020 is Vienna.

We are not at all surprised. Vienna is beautiful, quaint, safe, and bursting at the seams with great people.

However, the competition was fierce to say the least. To see Virginia's other best of the best cities, take a look below. And if you don't find your favorite city 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 Virginia reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Virginia For 2020

Vienna, VA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 16,488
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $711,100 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (7th best)
More on Vienna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Vienna comes in at a close 1st. They have the 7th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the highest median income as well, which means the people in Vienna are working and getting paid well.

Additionally, the median home value is the 2nd best in the state.

Falls Church, VA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 14,067
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $757,300 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (10th best)
More on Falls Church: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Falls Church might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.

The crime rate in Falls Church isn't amazing, but it's far below the state average. The homes are valued at $757,300 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Virginia.

If Falls Church can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (3.9%) is the 10th highest in the state.

Bridgewater, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 5,983
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $219,100 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (3rd best)
More on Bridgewater: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bridgewater is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 3rd best place in Virginia?

Homes are priced around $219,100 and residents have the 14th shortest commute in Virginia.

Purcellville, VA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 9,709
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $454,000 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (17th best)
More on Purcellville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Good things do come in small packages; it's true for Purcellville, which with a population of 9,709 makes it one of the smallest on this list.

Relatively low unemployment and relatively high adjusted income are just two blessings Purcellville residents enjoy.

The 3rd lowest crime rate in all of Virginia makes Purcellville one of the safest place on this list.

Leesburg, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 52,125
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $413,400 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (2nd best)
More on Leesburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's A LOT of demand to live in Leesburg.

Leesburg ranked impressively high for its crime rate (12th overall) and its short commute times (51st).

We think that's worth the price of admission.

Poquoson, VA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 12,039
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $325,000 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (25th best)
More on Poquoson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Poquoson ranks 6th on our list of best places to live in Virginia thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Virginia that we examined.

People have been flocking to Poquoson over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Lexington, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,110
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $203,600 (26th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (13th best)
More on Lexington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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

There's low crime in Lexington, and the residents here are gainfully employed (4.2% unemployment rate).

You can make Lexington your home for only $203,600 which won't be too hard on a $36,466 household salary.

Alexandria, VA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 156,505
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $557,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (6th best)
More on Alexandria: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Alexandria comes in 8th in our best places to live in Virginia analysis.

Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (6th overall) and crime rate (19th overall), Alexandria 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 Alexandria in our lists for years to come.

Virginia Beach, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 450,135
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $274,300 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (19th best)
More on Virginia Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Virginia Beach has the 19th lowest unemployment rate in Virginia. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Virginia Beach is higher than the national average and households make $74,186 per year.

We'd move to Virginia Beach if we could in a heart beat.

Fairfax, VA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 23,865
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $533,300 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (11th best)
More on Fairfax: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Fairfax, everyone loves to call Fairfax home! The median home value is the 4th highest in Virginia.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 11th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Old Dominion.

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

Mapping The Best And Worst 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 223,787 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 61 cities, 168 towns, and 156 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Virginia 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 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 61, 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
  • 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 Virginia? That would be Vienna.

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.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living 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 the best place to live in Virginia for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Virginia

  1. Pantops (Pop. 3,688)
  2. Belmont Estates (Pop. 1,329)
  3. Hayfield (Pop. 4,453)
  4. Kings Park (Pop. 4,687)
  5. Daleville (Pop. 3,180)
  6. Hampden-Sydney (Pop. 1,600)
  7. Ravensworth (Pop. 2,175)
  8. Dayton (Pop. 1,633)
  9. Haymarket (Pop. 1,826)
  10. Laymantown (Pop. 2,203)

Best Small Towns To Live In Virginia

  1. Riner (Pop. 888)
  2. Clifton (Pop. 219)
  3. Washington (Pop. 140)
  4. Round Hill (Pop. 570)
  5. Bobtown (Pop. 323)
  6. Free Union (Pop. 291)
  7. Mount Crawford (Pop. 419)
  8. Occoquan (Pop. 947)
  9. Hillsboro (Pop. 98)
  10. Irvington (Pop. 403)

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

  1. Petersburg (Pop. 31,827)
  2. Emporia (Pop. 5,381)
  3. Galax (Pop. 6,638)

For more Virginia reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Virginia?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Vienna 16,488 3.3% $711,100
2 Falls Church 14,067 3.9% $757,300
3 Bridgewater 5,983 2.9% $219,100
4 Purcellville 9,709 4.5% $454,000
5 Leesburg 52,125 2.7% $413,400
6 Poquoson 12,039 5.3% $325,000
7 Lexington 7,110 4.2% $203,600
8 Alexandria 156,505 3.3% $557,000
9 Virginia Beach 450,135 4.9% $274,300
10 Fairfax 23,865 4.0% $533,300

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.

One thought on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Virginia For 2020

  1. The list that you show with pictures has different town names than on the just the plain list of cities. For instance you show Herndon as #16 but the list with pictures #16 is Fredericksburg and on your plain list Fredericksburg is 26. What is going on? Plus Reston which has always been in the top 10 is not listed at all.

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