These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Virginia For 2018


These are the cream of the crop in the Commonwealth.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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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:

  1. Vienna (Photos)
  2. Bridgewater (Photos)
  3. Purcellville (Photos)
  4. Falls Church (Photos)
  5. Poquoson (Photos)
  6. Leesburg (Photos)
  7. Alexandria (Photos)
  8. Warrenton (Photos)
  9. Salem (Photos)
  10. Virginia Beach (Photos)

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Virginia.

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

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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’.

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.

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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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

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.

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1. Vienna

Vienna, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 16,378
Rank 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.

2. Bridgewater

Bridgewater, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,906
Rank 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.”

Enough said.

3. Purcellville

Purcellville, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,914
Rank 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

Falls Church, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,597
Rank 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.

5. Poquoson

Poquoson, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,068
Rank 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 🙂

6. Leesburg

Leesburg, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 49,401
Rank 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!

7. Alexandria

Alexandria, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 151,473
Rank 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.

8. Warrenton

Warrenton, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,880
Rank 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 🙂

9. Salem

Salem, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,290
Rank 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

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 449,733
Rank 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

  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. Bethel Manor (Pop. 4,181)
  9. Dayton (Pop. 1,633)
  10. Haymarket (Pop. 1,826)

Best Small Towns To Live In Virginia

  1. Greenbackville (Pop. 151)
  2. Lancaster (Pop. 139)
  3. Clifton (Pop. 219)
  4. Riner (Pop. 888)
  5. Washington (Pop. 140)
  6. Bobtown (Pop. 323)
  7. Free Union (Pop. 291)
  8. Round Hill (Pop. 570)
  9. New Kent (Pop. 345)
  10. Yorktown (Pop. 165)

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

  1. Emporia (Pop. 5,565)
  2. Petersburg (Pop. 31,997)
  3. Danville (Pop. 42,360)

For more Virginia reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Virginia

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Vienna 1 1 16,378 2.9% $662,200
Bridgewater 2 4 5,906 3.3% $209,200
Purcellville 3 3 8,914 4.7% $426,500
Falls Church 4 2 13,597 5.3% $724,000
Poquoson 5 5 12,068 3.2% $301,800
Leesburg 6 6 49,401 4.0% $387,100
Alexandria 7 9 151,473 4.0% $520,700
Warrenton 8 13 9,880 5.5% $320,900
Salem 9 12 25,290 5.0% $173,800
Virginia Beach 10 10 449,733 5.8% $262,200
Blacksburg 11 17 43,973 6.2% $276,500
Christiansburg 12 8 21,799 3.8% $178,100
Lexington 13 16 7,036 3.9% $230,500
Williamsburg 14 7 14,988 9.1% $319,500
Fairfax 15 14 23,620 5.5% $487,700
Herndon 16 11 24,415 5.8% $401,700
Manassas Park 17 18 15,827 4.6% $257,800
Charlottesville 18 15 45,538 3.9% $280,100
Strasburg 19 19 6,525 5.6% $183,000
Smithfield 20 26 8,304 9.3% $273,900
Staunton 21 21 24,234 5.0% $163,000
Chesapeake 22 23 233,194 6.3% $256,500
Manassas 23 24 41,149 6.0% $293,500
Harrisonburg 24 22 51,979 5.9% $197,400
Suffolk 25 28 87,061 7.3% $236,600
Fredericksburg 26 35 27,853 7.4% $321,500
Winchester 27 39 27,349 5.1% $218,600
Vinton 28 25 8,170 8.5% $143,600
Abingdon 29 20 8,117 7.2% $156,700
Waynesboro 30 34 21,366 5.1% $158,800
Hampton 31 29 136,789 8.9% $187,700
Ashland 32 40 7,406 3.0% $182,000
Colonial Heights 33 27 17,554 8.4% $166,800
Culpeper 34 31 17,565 7.0% $209,700
Lynchburg 35 33 78,755 7.2% $149,600
Newport News 36 36 181,606 8.3% $189,000
Dumfries 37 32 5,180 9.5% $166,600
Covington 38 49 5,650 5.2% $70,900
Radford 39 30 17,186 9.2% $153,900
Buena Vista 40 42 6,610 6.1% $112,400
Farmville 41 38 8,562 10.2% $160,300
Front Royal 42 43 15,006 8.5% $183,600
Norfolk 43 43 245,724 9.7% $193,100
Richmond 44 50 216,773 9.1% $199,300
Bluefield 45 37 5,254 4.9% $115,100
Woodstock 46 41 5,208 6.2% $193,800
Wytheville 47 46 8,167 9.4% $175,100
Bristol 48 47 17,340 8.7% $109,100
Big Stone Gap 49 52 5,462 9.0% $103,100
Roanoke 50 45 99,329 7.4% $133,000
Portsmouth 51 51 96,071 10.9% $169,400
Richlands 52 53 5,568 7.4% $86,900
Hopewell 53 54 22,332 10.8% $125,400
Franklin 54 57 8,413 14.6% $171,700
Marion 55 48 5,891 7.8% $107,800
Martinsville 56 58 13,551 10.0% $88,700
South Boston 57 56 8,000 7.4% $114,700
Galax 58 59 6,858 6.6% $101,600
Pulaski 59 55 8,918 11.3% $98,800
Danville 60 60 42,360 11.8% $90,800
Petersburg 61 61 31,997 13.7% $111,300
Emporia 62 62 5,565 18.8% $122,600

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