10 Best Places To Live In Indiana For 2020


We used science and data to determine which places in the Hoosier State are the cream of the crop.

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

Back Home Again in Indiana. Where the cities are some of the best in the country and the people are nice. And lucky for you, HomeSnacks is here to break down the top ten best cities in Indiana for Carmel.

Any good midwesterner knows that 'The Hoosier State' is not just any flyover state. There's a reason their state's motto is 'Crossroads of America' and that the state is constantly inviting people to 'wander' its backroads. Indiana has a lot to offer. You could get lost in its many idyllic towns, plush State Parks, and field after field of corn and soybeans.

Now, it wouldn't be right if we didn't mention Indiana's large cities like Indianapolis and Evansville. Not only are these cities the anchor to Indiana's rank as the 17th most populous state in the USA, they are the fastest growing in the state. And surprisingly folks, they did not make our top ten.

So, how did we determine the top ten best cities in Indiana for 2020?

Grab a fried tenderloin the size of your head, crank some John Mellencamp, and read on to see if your favorite Indiana city made the top ten.

Whether you're a Purdue Boilermaker fan or a Indiana University Hoosier fan, or just a fan of great cities, great weather, and great people, there's a city in Indiana for you.

And if you're into that midwest, middle of nowhere Indiana vibe, you're in luck. Most of Indiana's top ten best cities for 2020 are just that.

What's the best place to live in Indiana? Without further adieu, the best city in Indiana for 2020 is Carmel. We are not at all surprised. Carmel is beautiful, quaint, safe, and bursting at the seams with great people.

The competition was fierce to say the least. To see Indiana's other best of the best cities, take a look below.

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 Indiana reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Indiana For 2020

Carmel, IN

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 90,163
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $330,600 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (9th best)
More on Carmel: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Three of the top ten best places to live in Indiana scored a perfect 10/10 on our SnackAbility scale and the #1 best place, Carmel led the way. Carmel is no stranger to these lists as this city wears many hats: it's one of the richest places in The Hoosier State
and one of the safest.

Yes, it's pretty fancy in Carmel. In fact, if you live anywhere near Indianapolis, you hop on the I-465 and make the trek to Carmel if you want to shop at the "fancy" stores. And while we agree that shopping at the Clay Terrace outdoor shopping center is quite an experience with its first class stores and restaurants, a dog park, and a kid play area, if you're one of Carmel's 90,163 residents, you know that there's more to this city than a great pair of shoes. If you get the chance to live in Indiana's best of the best, just know that you will be amongst a bunch of hard-working 39-year-olds who make the 2nd highest household income in the state at $116,867/year. Their motto is "A Partnership for Tomorrow," and it seems to be working: Carmel has some of the best schools in Indiana.

Westfield, IN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 37,769
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $242,500 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (11th best)
More on Westfield: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Located just a stone's throw north of Carmel, up "the 31," is Indiana's 2nd best place to live, Westfield.

Westfield's low crime rate tells us a couple of things: one, this city in Hamilton County has the 12th lowest crime rate: it's over 60% below the state and national average. To put this in perspective, there were only 400 crimes committed here last year, and a majority of them were property related. And, two, the lack of crime inside "The Crossroads of Indiana" has allowed this city to focus their funds and attention on jobs and education, and it shows: Westfield has the 11th best unemployment rate in Indiana and the poverty rate here is well below the national average at 5.8%. In terms of education, Westfield spends close to $11,000/student and it shows as they have the 3rd lowest high school dropout rate in the state.

To get your hands on such a great place, you're going to have to make at least $93,002/year. And if you want to buy a home in Westfield, you'll be paying the 5th home price in the state, $242,500.

Zionsville, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 26,209
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $369,600 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (15th best)
More on Zionsville: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Zionsville consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Indiana. On our list, Zionsville moved up five places to score the title "The 3rd Best Place to live in Indiana for 2020." This small town of 26,209 residents has one of the most idyllic Main Streets in the Hoosier State and one of the best farmers' markets, too.

Quite frankly, you'd be pretty lucky to call Zionsville home, as the cost of living here is quite a bit higher than the national average. The homes in Zionsville are the most expensive in the Indiana, with the average home worth a whopping $369,600. 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 Zionsville if they can afford it. Zionsville is after all one of the fastest growing cities in Indiana. However if you want to live comfortably here, you're going to have to make $132,409/year.

Munster, IN

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 22,840
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $222,700 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (38th best)
More on Munster: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Indiana's 4th best place to live, Munster, is The Hoosier State's gateway to the north with Chicago to the west, Gary to the east, and Lake Michigan in the distance. Indiana's "movers and shakers" live in Munster: the median age here is 45--one of the oldest populations in the state. So, when we discovered that Munster is also one of the top places for singles, we were not only surprised, we were impressed.

So we asked ourselves: what, besides location, makes Munster so great? Well, for one, the crime rate in Munster is 32% below the state average. The homes here are valued at $222,700 and you only have to make the median household income of $81,234/year if you want to meet the city's cost of living head on. The schools in this small town of 22,840 residents get some of the most funding in Indiana and the high school dropout rate here is the 6th lowest in the state.

Dyer, IN

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 16,006
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $208,400 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (75th best)
More on Dyer: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Go ahead and "Wander Indiana," but when your done, Dyer will still be the 5th best place to live in the state and one of the best places to buy your forever home if you make $84,375/year. And word on the street, you can find a real estate deal in the $200,000 range in one of the new subdivisions off of Towle Street.

And when you're not busy making Indiana's 8th highest income in one of the safest places in Indiana, a quick Saturday trip to South Bend to watch one of Indiana's treasures, Notre Dame's Fighting Irish or a weekend beach trip to Michigan City is not only super easy, it's super fun.

The only downside to this great place in Lake County, the unemployment rate here is 6.5%: the 75th highest in the state. If Dyer can get some more of their residents to work, things could be better.

St. John, IN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 16,839
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $283,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (25th best)
More on St. John: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Located off U.S. Route 41 in Northern Indiana, St. John is the 6th best place to live in the state. It is also the third city to score a perfect 10/10 on our SnackAbility scale with high marks in jobs, safety, and education.

This city in Lake County is no stranger to accolades and badges. In fact, CNN once ranked St. John one of the top 100 places to live in the United States; and, here they are again, in our headlines. This is why: St. John has the 3rd highest home price in the state. Economically speaking, higher home prices generally mean higher incomes which, in turn, trickles down to better schools and safer streets. Folks, the household median income in St. John is the 3rd highest in Indiana at $105,198/year. This median income combined with hard working school officials has helped produce one of the lowest high school dropout rates in the state. And parents, you can also rest easy knowing that your family is safe in St. John as the crime rate here is 75% below the state and national level making it one of the safest places in Hoosier-land.

Yes, they take safety pretty seriously. In fact, if we could give you one piece of advice in regards to living in St. John, don't speed on their main thoroughfare, U.S. Route 41......

Whitestown, IN

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,220
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 12)
Median Home Value: $217,300 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (13th best)
More on Whitestown: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Not only is Whitestown the 7th best place to live in Indiana, it has continuously ranked one of the fastest growing cities in The Hoosier State. People can't get enough of Whitestown and it's because of numbers like its has the 13th best unemployment rate at 2.9% and the crime rate here is 56% below the national average that are keeping this city of 7,220 residents front and center.

What's there to do in this small town at the Crossroads of America? Well, Whitestown is only 25 minutes from Downtown Indy, so you get all of the day activities and the night-life that the capital city has to offer. And if you don't feel like venturing to the "big city," Whitestown has multiple parks and the quintessential Indiana Main Street with a brewery and a quaint cafe. But, all of this Norman Rockwell-esque type living comes with a price. In fact, the cost of living in Whitestown is slightly higher than the state average and homes here are the 8th most expensive in the state with the median home price $217,300.

Crown Point, IN

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 29,368
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $185,200 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (23rd best)
More on Crown Point: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

If you very much dislike writing that check to your mortgage lender and your utility companies every month, just know that you will be writing it for less in Indiana's 8th best place to live, Crown Point, as the cost of living here is well below the national average.

Another Northern Indiana gem to make our top ten list, Crown Point makes it easy to enjoy the things that matter in life because they've taken care of the hard stuff. When it comes to low crime, Crown Point is getting the job done: the crime rate here is 55% below the state and national average. There were only 341 crimes reported this past year and 335 were property related. Now, it wouldn't be right if we didn't mention the outstanding education system in this small town of 29,368 residents: Crown Point has one of Indiana's 111 Blue Ribbon Schools, Dwight D Eisenhower Elementary and the rest of the city's great schools show no signs of slowing down. At this rate, we're pretty sure that the only thing that could possibly make Crown Point better would be a Portillos like the one in your sister city, Merrillville.

Noblesville, IN

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 61,558
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $194,800 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (19th best)
More on Noblesville: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

If you didn't grow up heading to Deer Creek to hear the latest music in Indiana's 9th best place to live, Noblesville, you missed out. And while Noblesville might be home to Indiana's largest amphitheater and some pretty amazing, smart midwesterners, it's the numbers that really make this noble gem shine.

First off, over half the city's 61,558 residents have some type of college degree. To keep up with the nobility and the city's cost of living, you're going to have to make a median household income of $77,717/year because homes here cost $194,800. Noblesville is after all, one of the richest places in Indiana.

But, if you're not ready to go all in, rent in Noblesville is below the state average at $1,038/month and this is a great way to get your feet wet without breaking your bank. And speaking of banks, you and your money will be safe here. Nobleville's crime rate is 60% below the national average.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 5,955
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $95,500 (68th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (12th best)
More on New Whiteland: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

No need to be an armchair detective to determine Indiana's 10th best place to live, we've done the work for you.

Located 30 minutes southeast of Indianapolis, New Whiteland is the first place on our list to hail from this area, but not the first place to receive outstanding SnackAbility scores for jobs, safety, amenities and overall cost of living.

Yes, the unemployment rate in this small town of 5,955 residents is the 12th in the state at 2.8% and its poverty rate is well below the national average at 5.5%. And, you're going to want a good job so that you can take advantage of the fun stuff to do in New Whiteland. We think that the best day in New Whiteland might go something like this: grab the family and spend the day fishing and biking at Proctor Park and the evening exploring the city's downtown. Just know that however you decide to spend your best day in New Whiteland, you will be safe. Not only is New Whiteland one of the safest places in Indiana, the crime rate here is 72% below the national average.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Indiana

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Indianapolis with a population of 857,637 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 111 cities, 213 towns, and 301 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Indiana 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 Indiana

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Indiana across a number of criteria from one to 111, 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 Indiana".

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 Indiana? That would be Carmel.

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 Indiana.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Carmel at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Indiana

If you're looking at areas in Indiana with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Carmel made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Indiana for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Indiana

  1. Highland (Pop. 4,256)
  2. Battle Ground (Pop. 1,568)
  3. Haubstadt (Pop. 1,615)
  4. Meridian Hills (Pop. 1,762)
  5. Aberdeen (Pop. 1,771)
  6. Melody Hill (Pop. 3,623)
  7. Leo-Cedarville (Pop. 3,721)
  8. Taylorsville (Pop. 1,058)
  9. Trail Creek (Pop. 2,037)
  10. Georgetown (Pop. 3,152)

Best Small Towns To Live In Indiana

  1. Ulen (Pop. 139)
  2. Buck Creek (Pop. 154)
  3. Pottawattamie Park (Pop. 253)
  4. Woodlawn Heights (Pop. 67)
  5. Williams Creek (Pop. 373)
  6. Homecroft (Pop. 695)
  7. Country Club Heights (Pop. 115)
  8. River Forest (Pop. 29)
  9. New Goshen (Pop. 434)
  10. Spring Hill (Pop. 77)

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

  1. Anderson (Pop. 54,788)
  2. East Chicago (Pop. 28,448)
  3. Gary (Pop. 76,677)

For more Indiana reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Indiana?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Carmel 90,163 2.3% $330,600
2 Westfield 37,769 2.7% $242,500
3 Zionsville 26,209 3.1% $369,600
4 Munster 22,840 4.6% $222,700
5 Dyer 16,006 6.5% $208,400
6 St. John 16,839 3.7% $283,000
7 Whitestown 7,220 2.9% $217,300
8 Crown Point 29,368 3.5% $185,200
9 Noblesville 61,558 3.5% $194,800
10 New Whiteland 5,955 2.8% $95,500

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.

0 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Live In Indiana For 2020

  1. Just an FYI, Munster has a ton of stay at home moms. That may skew the data points. It has top rated schools. Very close drive to Chicago, I’ve never been to gary. Huge hospital which is nationally ranked. Most residents are hospital workers or make the commute to Chicago.

  2. As someone who recently evaluated both Fishers and Carmel in a recent home search, I believe you have some incorrect data when stating that the average home value in Carmel is valued far less than that of Fishers. While both are great areas to live, Fishers is MUCH CHEAPER than Carmel for any comparable homes.

  3. Having lived in NWI all my life, I disagree with Valparaiso ranking lower than Lowell. Valparaiso has a private college, an airport, a new hospital, a high ranking school system, and a downtown with an amphitheater, farmers market and ice skating rink. Also, it’s a short drive to the Indiana Lakeshore and not far from Chicago. So many people from Chicago choose to live here because it’s a great place to raise a family, bring educated people with money to the town. I’m not sure what Lowell has over that.

    1. I agree. I don’t live in valpo but I love to shop there. So close to the beach with greats schools. Definitely should have been higher ranked.

  4. I believe your right about new castle besides it should be in top five worst place to live. I call it the oldest youngest town in the world. Think about it for a sec and you might understand.

  5. Best town to live in Indiana: Hobart. Best town to raise children in Indiana: Hobart. Most progressive and forward-looking town in Indiana: Hobart. Most honest and transparent administration for a town in Indiana: Hobart.

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