THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Washington For 2020

These are the cream of the crop in the Evergreen State.

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

Ah Washington, home of Starbucks, Grunge music, soaring mountains and enough rain to make California extremely jealous.

But what makes Washington really great is its down-to-earth people and creative, friendly communities. While the whole place is downright lovely, some spots in the Evergreen State deserve special attention for standing out as truly extraordinary. This is why HomeSnacks created a list of the top ten best places to live in Washington for 2020.

We are not surprised that Washington has a huge demand for people moving to it as it ranks in the top 20 states to live in America. So Mercer Island has a ton of people knocking down the door to get in.

After analyzing 120 of the state's most populous cities, we came up with this list of the top ten best places to live in Washington in 2020 based on crime, quality of life, and things to do.

What's the best place to live in Washington state? According to the most recent FBI and Census data, Mercer Island ranks as the best place to live in Washington for 2020.

To be fair, any place mentioned in the top ten would be a great place to call home, although some places are definitely on the pricer side of Seattle. But that's what you get for your money: a safe, awesome place to live.

Read on for a detailed take on the top ten and a thorough explanation of how we figured out where to live in Washington.

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 Washington reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Washington For 2020

Mercer Island, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,492
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,135,200 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (17th best)
More on Mercer Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Well, I guess technically 3.6% of Mercer Island residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 17th 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, Mercer Island also ranked well for crime (23rd) and median income ($142,413).

Sammamish, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 64,049
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $749,000 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (8th best)
More on Sammamish: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Perhaps what makes Sammamish 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 Sammamish great. They also have the highest median income and the 109th shortest commute time.

Brier, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,819
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $454,700 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (7th best)
More on Brier: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brier isn't just the nicest place to live in Washington - it's also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It's got the 7th lowest unemployment rate, the 6th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you're looking at science and data, Brier definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2020.

Snoqualmie, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,317
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $582,000 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (10th best)
More on Snoqualmie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Crime is something that doesn't happen very often in Snoqualmie. Statistically the 11th safest place in the state, there were only 3 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It's really beautiful in Snoqualmie, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $144,148 a year, and homes are valued at more than $582,000.

What else could you possibly want if you're someone who likes the good things in life?

Redmond, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 63,197
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $631,700 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (22nd best)
More on Redmond: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Redmond has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Redmond had the 5th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $123,449.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

Duvall, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,811
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $452,200 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (46th best)
More on Duvall: Real Estate | Data | Photos

There's two types of people who live in Duvall. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $452,200 home there.

Either way, you're set. Your kids go to great schools, there's a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Duvall is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Mill Creek, WA

Source: City Of Mill Creek
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,164
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $486,600 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (9th best)
More on Mill Creek: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mill Creek ranks 7th on our list of best places to live in Washington thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

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

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

Kirkland, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 88,079
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $607,800 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (19th best)
More on Kirkland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Kirkland, everyone loves to call Kirkland home! The median home value is the 7th highest in Washington.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 19th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Evergreen State.

Lake Forest Park, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,378
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $559,000 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (34th best)
More on Lake Forest Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you own a home in Lake Forest Park, you're aware that your home values are skyrocketing right now. That's a sign that things are going swimmingly. Most people there have good jobs, and the commute times are short.

The median home costs a cool $559,000 and households make $111,234 which is good for 10th in Washington.Lake Forest Park has a well deserved spot on this list.

Bellevue, WA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 142,242
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $737,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (25th best)
More on Bellevue: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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

The crime rate in Bellevue isn't amazing, but it's far below the state average. The homes are valued at $737,000 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Washington.

If Bellevue can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (4.0%) is the 25th highest in the state.

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 50,836 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 120 cities, 194 towns, and 169 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Washington 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 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 120, 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
  • 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 Washington? That would be Mercer Island.

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.

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 the best place to live in Washington for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Washington

  1. Yarrow Point (Pop. 1,149)
  2. Medina (Pop. 3,169)
  3. Clyde Hill (Pop. 3,197)
  4. Woodway (Pop. 1,367)
  5. Walla Walla East (Pop. 1,729)
  6. Wilderness Rim (Pop. 1,332)
  7. Monroe North (Pop. 1,784)
  8. Chico (Pop. 2,463)
  9. Browns Point (Pop. 1,187)
  10. Canterwood (Pop. 3,409)

Best Small Towns To Live In Washington

  1. Raft Island (Pop. 342)
  2. Keyport (Pop. 442)
  3. Beaux Arts Village (Pop. 368)
  4. Hunts Point (Pop. 461)
  5. Colton (Pop. 418)
  6. Ruston (Pop. 969)
  7. Bay View (Pop. 700)
  8. Cherry Grove (Pop. 447)
  9. Uniontown (Pop. 377)
  10. Dollars Corner (Pop. 798)

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

  1. Aberdeen (Pop. 16,359)
  2. Centralia (Pop. 16,932)
  3. Shelton (Pop. 9,996)

For more Washington reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Washington?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Mercer Island 25,492 3.6% $1,135,200
2 Sammamish 64,049 3.1% $749,000
3 Brier 6,819 3.1% $454,700
4 Snoqualmie 13,317 3.3% $582,000
5 Redmond 63,197 3.9% $631,700
6 Duvall 7,811 4.7% $452,200
7 Mill Creek 20,164 3.2% $486,600
8 Kirkland 88,079 3.6% $607,800
9 Lake Forest Park 13,378 4.3% $559,000
10 Bellevue 142,242 4.0% $737,000

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.

5 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Washington For 2020

  1. If tyis comment box is for the 10 Best places to live in Washington, you should redo this article. The majority of the best place you have listed also have some of the highest crine rates in Washington.
    Kirkland was ranked one of the best cities to live in, in the whole United States and you have it listed as 168th.
    Please check the facts and realities of our State before publishing.

  2. You are an idiot and obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. The top places you listed are almost universally accepted by wa residents and multiple surveys from professional publications as the worst places whereas sammamish, mercer island, Redmond, etc the best as you can tell by various metrics such as high home values as everyone wants to live in those places, high income, number of college educated professionals, very low crime. Walk down a city street in a place like chehalis versus any location in east king county (Redmond, sammamish, issaquah) and you’ll see. World of difference. Do your research stupid and don’t mislead people.

  3. So, “Newcastle only has 480.0% of its residents living in poverty.” That’s pretty amazing. Impossible, but amazing….

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