Ah Washington, home of Starbucks, Grunge music, soaring mountains and enough rain to make California extremely jealous.
But what makes the state really great is its down-to-earth people and the creative, friendly community.
While the whole place is downright lovely, some spots in the Evergreen State deserve special attention for standing out as truly extraordinary.
Analyzing 187 of the state’s most populous cities, we came up with this list of the top ten best places to live in Washington in 2015:
- Mercer Island (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sammamish (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Newcastle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Redmond (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Kirkland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Snoqualmie (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Brier (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mill Creek (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Duvall (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Woodinville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Well, it looks like you should check out Mercer Island if you’re thinking of moving to Washington — it’s the best the Evergreen State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Washington.
For more Washington reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Washington
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Washington
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Washington
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Washington
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Olympia with a population of 49,608 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 118 cities, 194 towns, and 169 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 5,000 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 Washington
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Washington across a number of criteria from one to 118, 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 Washington”.
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 Washington.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mercer Island at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Mercer Island ranks as the 1st best place in Washington for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
Mercer Island has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Mercer Island’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $129,348 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
The Town of Sammamish consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren’t any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?
Let’s see why Sammamish ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Sammamish are the 2nd most expensive in the state of Washington, with the average home worth a whopping $624,800. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Sammamish if they can afford it.
Other numbers that stand out: Sammamish residents have the 1st highest income in the state, and the 3rd lowest crime numbers in Washington.
Newcastle has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Washington. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Newcastle is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Newcastle residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Well, I guess technically 4.6% of Redmond residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 16th closest of any city in Washington.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Redmond also ranked well for crime (55th) and median income ($107,341).
Kirkland comes in 5th in our best places to live in Washington analysis.
Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (30th overall) and crime rate (32nd overall), Kirkland 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 Kirkland in our lists for years to come.
If you want to live in Washington, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Snoqualmie area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $131,453 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Snoqualmie as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Snoqualmie.
Brier has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Brier has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 3.8% and lowering. And the Brier police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 5th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Mill Creek is known for having a great education system and has the 104th shortest commute time.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Mill Creek is the 4th lowest in Washington and the median income is the 21st highest in the state.
If you don’t have a job in Duvall, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 5.9%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $125,123.
That’s actually not a bad idea…
Woodinville had the 4th lowest unemployment of any place in our research (3.6%) and the 53rd lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.
Woodinville is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Washington
If you’re looking at areas in Washington with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Mercer Island made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Washington
- Yarrow Point (Pop. 1,149)
- Medina (Pop. 3,169)
- Clyde Hill (Pop. 3,197)
- Woodway (Pop. 1,367)
- Walla Walla East (Pop. 1,729)
- Wilderness Rim (Pop. 1,332)
- Monroe North (Pop. 1,784)
- Chico (Pop. 2,463)
- Browns Point (Pop. 1,187)
- Canterwood (Pop. 3,409)
Best Small Towns To Live In Washington
- Raft Island (Pop. 342)
- Keyport (Pop. 442)
- Beaux Arts Village (Pop. 368)
- Hunts Point (Pop. 461)
- Colton (Pop. 418)
- Ruston (Pop. 969)
- Bay View (Pop. 700)
- Cherry Grove (Pop. 447)
- Uniontown (Pop. 377)
- Dollars Corner (Pop. 798)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Washington according to the data:
- Union Gap (Pop. 6,125)
- Kelso (Pop. 11,871)
- Shelton (Pop. 9,832)
For more Washington reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Washington
- 10 Safest Places In Washington
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Washington
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Washington
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