Do you like chili dogs? What about Tony Packo’s famous chili dogs? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream anyone?
Only if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the best places in Ohio!
If you’re looking to relocate, look no further than Ohio. The Buckeye State may be known as a flyover state, but did you know that it houses some of the best places in America to call home? Did we mention that this state also houses a boatload of fun midwestern facts and a gigantic number of fun things to do and see?
When Ohians aren’t kicking back with a chili dog and a bowl of ice cream, they are exploring places like the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toledo, riding the rails at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, or feeding the penguins at the Cincinnati Zoo. There’s a reason their license plates sport the slogan “So Much to Discover”.
Long summer nights by the lake, idyllic winter jaunts through the woods, or just hangin’ with the good ‘ol people of The Buckeye State, Ohio is the best. Needless to say, it was very difficult to narrow down the top ten best places to live in Ohio.
In order to determine the best places to live in Ohio, we took a look at cities with low cost of living, gold star schools, affordable housing, and low crime. Drum roll… .Upper Arlington came out on top!
Read on to see what other Ohio cities made the top ten list.
We took a look at 248 Ohio cities with a population of more than 5,000 to determine which cities are the best to call home. While most of our top ten cities make many of our top ten lists like our Best Places to raise a Family and Best Places to Retire articles, there are some surprises.
What city is the best place to live in Ohio for 2021? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Upper Arlington is the best place to live in Ohio if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.
For more Ohio reading, check out:
The 10 Best Places To Live In Ohio For 2021
Next up on our trip to the best places in Ohio is Upper Arlington, a Columbus suburb of 35,299 and the most populous city on this list. Homes are quite costly in Upper Arlington, but residents can handle it seeing as the median household income here is $123,548/year, the 8th highest in the state.
The success of Upper Arlington is no coincidence. Over three quarters of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, which has a tremendous impact on earning potential. Speaking of potential, Upper Arlington makes sure that its student population lives up to theirs. How do we know? Well, Upper Arlington High School has received a College Success Award from GreatSchools for the past two years, with an emphasis on top-ranking test scores and a perfect 10/10 for students’ college readiness.
Upper Arlington is also close to Columbus’ German Village, a historic district with old, three-story maximum architecture and brick streets that’s as good for a wholesome day out as it is for an exciting night on the town.
Montgomery is an affluent Cincinnati suburb of 10,782. While home prices in Montgomery are among the highest in the state, people here are paid enough to shoulder the burden. In fact, at $131,111/year, Montgomery residents enjoy the 6th highest median household income in Ohio.
Don’t think that Montgomery only caters to the 1% either. With a 2.6% poverty level and 99.4% of people covered by health insurance, everyone here can get by (and then some). Not to mention that, with a 10/10 SnackAbility score for education, Montgomery’s youth gets access to some of the best schools in the state.
And with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden a short drive away, you’ve always got the perfect family (or date) activity right in your backyard. Even if you cap off your day with a walk around Smale Riverfront Park, you can still be back in Montgomery before dinnertime.
Let’s start our tour of the best places to live in Ohio with Grandview Heights, a suburb just minutes from downtown Columbus. Thanks to Grandview Heights’ proximity to the Ohio’s capital city, it ranks as the 13th most densely populated and has the 26th shortest commute (17 minutes) in the whole state. Both of which are the best of cities included on this list.
Besides being in the middle of the action, Grandview Heights has a lot going for it. Like a super smart population where over 30% of people have at least a master’s degree. And a poverty level and unemployment rate at 2.8% and 2.0% respectively, both among the lowest in Ohio. This rock solid economy with highly educated workers translates into big salaries, because the median household income in Grandview Heights is $101,100/year.
While there’s plenty to do in Grandview Heights itself, we think it’s extra cool that you can be at a Buckeyes’ game at Ohio Stadium with 100,000 of your closest friends in just ten minutes. Just be sure to make your move to Grandview Heights quickly, because the secret is out and its one of the fastest growing cities in Ohio.
We’ll take a short drive west to another Cincy suburb to arrive at our 4th best city in Ohio, Wyoming. As one of the richest places in Ohio, with a median household income of $124,963/year, Wyoming has an unshakeable economy. And with the 8th lowest poverty level in Ohio, 2.2%, you can feel secure in knowing that all Wyoming’s residents are along for the ride. Add to that the 5th highest rate of health insurance coverage in the state, and you’ve got a city where unwelcome surprises are much less devastating.
Wyoming also has a crime rate about 60% below the national average, so the sound of police sirens should rarely be a part of your day-to-day life here.
Baseball fans might consider going in on season tickets, because from Wyoming, you can be at a Reds Game in just 20 minutes.
Clocking in as the 5th best place to call home in Ohio is Powell, one of Columbus’ best suburbs. You don’t have to worry about finding fun things to do in Powell because this city of 13,141 is chock full of exciting amenities.
Powell is home to the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay, a waterpark. Both are big hits with families, which makes sense considering that 54.51% of Powell’s households have kids. For nature lovers, there’s also the Emily Traphagen Preserve, where you can spot several types of birds.
GreatSchools gave Powell’s school district an average score of 8/10, most public schools score in the top 5% statewide, and the city has achieved the 4th lowest high school dropout rate in Ohio. No wonder Powell is one of Ohio’s fastest-growing cities.
Additionally, Powell has the lowest poverty rate and 7th highest rate of health-insured residents in Ohio, so everybody gets a piece of the pie here. The median household income in Powell is $157,149, the 3rd highest in Ohio. The median home value in Powell is the 8th highest statewide at $372,700.
Situated southeast of Dayton, Bellbrook ranks as Ohio’s 6th best place to live. For starters, Bellbrook achieved a sub-1% unemployment rate; the lowest rate in all of Ohio.
And since folks with jobs don’t have as much reason to commit crimes, it makes sense that Bellbrook’s overall crime rate is about 70% below the national average.
So what’s there to do in Bellbrook? Well, each year, the city hosts two festivals — one dedicated to Sugar Maple and another to Lions. On top of that, for a community of 7,212 people, Bellbrook has some excellent dining options.
The best part is how affordable Bellbrook is. It got an overall cost of living score of 97, where the national average is 100. Homes in Bellbrook have a median price tag of $180,300, and the median household income is $84,130.
We’re heading south of Dayton to reach Ohio’s 7th best place to call home, Springboro. This city of 18,196 is incredibly safe — in fact, Springboro was near the top of our list of the safest places in Ohio, with an overall crime rate 80% lower than your typical American city.
Springboro is also a great place to raise a family. 45.2% of households have kids, and GreatSchools gave the local high school a College Success Award for three years straight. Not to mention kids love having Friesinger’s Candy Factory right in their neighborhood. Additionally, Springboro has a relatively young median age of 36, so there’s plenty of energy to go around.
As for amenities, there’s a little something for everyone in Springboro. If you need a pint after a long day at work, the Crooked Handle Brewing Co. is a local favorite. Or if you want a meal with some entertainment on the side, check out La Comedia Dinner Theatre. Golfers will also be delighted to have the Heatherwoode Golf Club in their backyard.
The cost of living in Springboro isn’t too high. The median home price is $227,600, and your typical Springboro household brings home $107,225 each year.
Located 15 miles southwest of Toledo, Waterville ranks as the 8th best place to call home in the Buckeye State. With a median home price of $196,400 and a median household income of $92,038/year, Waterville actually has the lowest cost of living among cities listed here. Waterville also has an insanely low poverty level of just 2.5%, the 12th lowest in Ohio. Add to that the 3rd highest rate of health insurance coverage in the state, 99.2%, and you’ve got a blueprint for a successful city.
Waterville’s educational system is also top notch, with GreatSchools giving local schools a 9/10 rating. And you won’t have to worry about your kiddos safety here either, because Waterville ranks as one of the safest places in Ohio.
As a nice bonus, you won’t lack for high culture in Waterville, because the Toledo Museum of Art is right in your neighborhood.
Worthington is a city of 14,621 located just north of Columbus. A suburb with a whole lot of charm, Worthington is worthy of your attention if you’re planning on moving to the Columbus area. Art enthusiasts will be delighted to have the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center around, while historical buffs will get a kick out of the Ohio Railway Museum.
Everyone loves Worthington’s Village Green and the many events that take place here over the year. That’s just one great thing for families — Worthington’s public schools also score higher than the statewide average on standardized tests, and the city spends more per student than your typical Ohio city.
Poverty, unemployment, and crime rates are all super low. While the overall cost of living is above average for Ohio, it’s mostly because of housing costs — the cost of things like groceries, utilities, and health care are right on par with the rest of the state.
The median home price in Worthington is $285,300 and the median income is $104,362. Even better, those numbers are up 4% from last year, so you can expect Worthington to keep getting better.
Wrapping up our list of best places to call home in Ohio is Pepper Pike, an eastern suburb of Cleveland. While homes in Pepper Pike are the 2nd priciest in the state, residents are also compensated with the 2nd highest paychecks as well. The median household income in Pepper Pike is $190,682/year and 99.5% of people living here have health insurance, the highest rate of coverage in Ohio.
Another thing to note about Pepper Pike is the educational prowess of the population. Over 40% of people here have a master’s, PhD, or professional degree, so definitely study up before a pub quiz night here if you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons. And the schools for the young-uns? Well, we think the 10/10 education score Pepper Pike got on our SnackAbility scale speaks for itself.
Since smarter people tend to eat better, we think Pepper Pikers are willing to make the half hour drive to Cleveland’s West Side Market for the freshest food in town. Even if you’re not there for groceries, wandering around the 100+ stalls is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Ohio
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Columbus with a population of 878,553 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 248 cities, 385 towns, and 482 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Ohio 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 Cities To Live In Ohio
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Ohio across a number of criteria from one to 248, 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 Ohio”.
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
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Ohio? That would be Upper Arlington.
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 Ohio.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Upper Arlington at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Ohio
If you’re looking at areas in Ohio with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Upper Arlington made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Ohio for 2021.
Best Towns To Live In Ohio
- Ottawa Hills (Pop. 4,497)
- Silver Lake (Pop. 2,452)
- Mariemont (Pop. 3,400)
- Wetherington (Pop. 1,527)
- Fort Loramie (Pop. 1,375)
- Five Points (Pop. 1,905)
- Minster (Pop. 2,898)
- Four Bridges (Pop. 3,359)
- Sixteen Mile Stand (Pop. 3,185)
- Chagrin Falls (Pop. 4,056)
Best Small Towns To Live In Ohio
- Parkman (Pop. 71)
- Concorde Hills (Pop. 681)
- Riverlea (Pop. 583)
- Marble Cliff (Pop. 556)
- Shawnee Hills (Pop. 775)
- Burkettsville (Pop. 267)
- Ottoville (Pop. 923)
- New Knoxville (Pop. 942)
- Miamiville (Pop. 75)
- Chickasaw (Pop. 344)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Ohio according to the data:
- Cleveland (Pop. 385,282)
- Wellston (Pop. 5,520)
- Trotwood (Pop. 24,375)
For more Ohio reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Ohio
- Richest Cities In Ohio
- Safest Places In Ohio
- Worst Places To Live In Ohio
Where Are The Best Places To Live In Ohio?