The 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia For 2024

The best places to live in West Virginia for 2024 are Bridgeport, Vienna, and Hurricane. Find out where your city or town ranks.

West Virginia is home to amazingly awesome pepperoni rolls, fried ravioli, and great places to live.

But what city or town is the best place to live in West Virginia? Is it simply the biggest? Or the one with the lowest crime rate?

Well, today we’ll take you on a tour of some of the places you should place high on your list if you want to live the good life in West Virginia. We compared the Census, FBI, and Zillow data on factors like safety, home prices, and incomes. After researching over 24 places in West Virginia, this set of top ten emerged.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia For 2024

  1. Bridgeport
  2. Vienna
  3. Hurricane
  4. St. Albans
  5. New Martinsville
  6. Buckhannon
  7. Dunbar
  8. Princeton
  9. Charleston
  10. Morgantown

What’s the best place to live in West Virginia? The best place to live in West Virginia is Bridgeport.

Many of the towns in the top ten have low crime, affordable housing, and good schools, making them a great place to put down roots as a family.

And now you’ll have to excuse us; after reading about West Virginia culture, we must try a pepperoni roll.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In West Virginia For 2024

Best Places To Live In West Virginia Map

Bridgeport, WV

Source: Wikipedia User JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ M.D. | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Bridgeport West Virginia
Population 9,255 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $269,583 $157,498
Median Income $96,063 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 1.6% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0139 0.0175

More on Bridgeport: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We bet that the mountains and the hollers won’t be the only attributes that define West Virginia after you read about the #1 best place to live in the state. Yes, Bridgeport, has an impressive history for a place of just over 9,255 people. Originally chartered in 1816, Bridgeport has continued to grow and prosper throughout the centuries all while keeping its cost of living affordable and its unemployment rate one of the lowest in the state. It’s now home to several aerospace companies and many oil and gas companies; so, when you see that $269,583 price tag for a home here, don’t shed a tear, the median income in Bridgeport is $96,063/year.

Bridgeport has some pretty great schools, too. Bridgeport High School and Middle School and Johnson Elementary have all been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools. Smart and wealthy, folks? We call that West Virginia win.

Vienna, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Snoopywv | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Vienna West Virginia
Population 10,642 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $174,695 $157,498
Median Income $62,979 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 5.8% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0376 0.0175

More on Vienna: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We can thank West Virginia for the “Golden Delicious” apple and the 2nd best place to live, Vienna. The city’s home prices, low cost of living, and low crime rate are as sweet as an apple, too. In fact, you can get a nice single family home in Vienna for the 5th best median home price in the state, $174,695.

The crime rate here is so low, it’s virtually non-existent. To put this in perspective, there were only 400 recorded at the time of this report. And, Vienna’s low hanging fruit does disappoint either. Living expenses like groceries, transportation, and utilities are right on point with the rest of the state and quite a bit lower than the national average.

Hurricane, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
Stat Hurricane West Virginia
Population 6,908 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $240,660 $157,498
Median Income $70,861 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 3.1% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0034 0.0175

More on Hurricane: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

With over 70% of West Virginia covered in forest and mountains, we realize that anywhere you move to in the Mountain State will be amazing, but we think that you should definitely give the state’s 3rd best place to live, Hurricane, a hard look.

This small city of 6,908 residents in Putnam County has the 3rd lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.1%. Hurricane’s cost of living is affordable (0.9x lower than the national index of 100) and living expenses like utilities and health services are well below both the state and national levels. And when you’re not busy making the city’s median income of $70,861/year, there’s tons of fun to be had here. In fact, we hear that a day trip to the historic Mud River Covered Bridge is a must!

St. Albans, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Acroterion | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat St. Albans West Virginia
Population 10,753 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $138,016 $157,498
Median Income $60,524 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 6.2% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0290 0.0175

More on St. Albans: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

There’s a lot more to West Virginia than rural highways and byways; matter of fact, where the WV Byway 25 meets the WV Highway 60 is the 4th best place to live in the state, St. Albans. And, yes, for most, St. Albans is one of the best because it is located along the Kanawha River, but for those looking for a sweet ‘ol West Virginia deal, this city is affordable, safe, and the amenities here are top notch.

Home prices in St. Albans are the 12th best in the state, and you only have to make $60,524/year to afford St. Albans’s cost of living. In fact, St. Albans’s living expenses like transportation and utilities won’t break your bank.

New Martinsville, WV

Source: Wikipedia User MyName (Bwsmith84 (talk)) | CC BY 3.0
Stat New Martinsville West Virginia
Population 5,210 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 7
Median Home Value $135,488 $157,498
Median Income $50,235 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 6.7% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0027 0.0175

More on New Martinsville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

New Martinsville is located in northwestern West Virginia, along the Ohio River, right across from the state of the same name. The town of 5,210 people offers more than a pleasant view, however. It also stands as the number 5 top spot to live in the state.

The town’s median income comes in at $50,235, the 10th highest amount in the state. And you can stretch those dollars pretty far in New Martinsville. The cost of living is about 80% the national average. Meanwhile, the median home value sits at $135,488. The unemployment rate in the region is 6.7%.

New Martinsville sits in a relatively rural region. Still, if you want a taste of city life, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is less than two hours away. Or take a scenic drive 45-minutes north to Wheeling, West Virginia.

Buckhannon, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
Stat Buckhannon West Virginia
Population 5,201 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $152,327 $157,498
Median Income $43,621 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 6.1% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0171 0.0175

More on Buckhannon: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Buckhannon, located in Upshur County, West Virginia, is the number 6 best place to live in the state.

Buckhannon is home to West Virginia Wesleyan College, which brings a vibrant college-town atmosphere. Additionally, Buckhannon hosts the annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival, an event held every May.

Buckhannon is 60 miles southwest of Morgantown and 115 miles northeast of Charleston, offering day-trip access to larger cities.

Dunbar, WV

Source: Flickr User | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Dunbar West Virginia
Population 7,418 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $114,878 $157,498
Median Income $48,396 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 1.5% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0334 0.0175

More on Dunbar: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We’re pretty sure that John Denver was singing about West Virginia’s 7th best place to live, Dunbar, in his song “Almost Heaven,” and this is because Dunbar offers an impressive amount to do while maintaining its small town charm.

The unemployment rate sits as the lowest in West Virginia at 1.5% and incomes are the 12th highest. The cost of living in Dunbar is extremely manageable (1.0x lower than the state average) and homes are affordable. If you want to buy a home in Dunbar, the median home price here is the 2best in the state at $114,878. And the word on Dunbar’s street, if you don’t check out Shawnee Park, you will be missing out.

Princeton, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
Stat Princeton West Virginia
Population 5,833 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 14
Median Home Value $151,800 $157,498
Median Income $41,782 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 5.2% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0074 0.0175

More on Princeton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Princeton, the county seat of Mercer County in West Virginia, ranks as the 8th best place to live for 2024. As a small city with a population of 5,833, it provides a community atmosphere while offering affordable living options, including a $151,800 median home value and $720 median rent costs.

The local economy, historically based on coal and railroads, now celebrates this heritage at the Princeton Railroad Museum. Connectivity through major highways and cultural venues like the Chuck Mathena Center for Arts and Entertainment contribute to Princeton’s ranking.

Charleston, WV

Source: Wikipedia User Andreas Faessler | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Charleston West Virginia
Population 48,415 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 10
Median Home Value $154,944 $157,498
Median Income $58,902 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 5.8% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0464 0.0175

More on Charleston: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Charleston, located in Kanawha County, is known for its low cost of living and is ranked as the 9th best place to live in West Virginia. With a median home price of $154,944 and a median rent of $870, Charleston offers affordable housing options for residents. The city also boasts a variety of attractions and activities for its residents to enjoy.

Charleston offers a vibrant cultural scene with museums, art galleries, and theaters. You can enjoy performances at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences or visit the West Virginia State Museum to learn about the state’s rich history. The city also hosts festivals and events throughout the year, including the famous West Virginia Dance Festival and the Vandalia Gathering. You can also easily explore other parts of West Virginia from Charleston, such as the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and the scenic New River Gorge.

Morgantown, WV

Source: Public domain
Stat Morgantown West Virginia
Population 30,220 1,792,967
Rank Last Year 11
Median Home Value $267,332 $157,498
Median Income $41,103 $55,217
Unemployment Rate 9.9% 6.1%
Crime Per Capita 0.0264 0.0175

More on Morgantown: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Whether you’re a fan of the West Virginia University Mountaineers, a fan of Morgantown’s Personal Rapid Transit System, or you just want to live in one of the state’s best cities, Morgantown is for you.

However, if you’re thinking about moving to West Virginia’s 10th best city, you shouldn’t wait as this city of 30,220 residents is one of the fastest growing places in the state. Morgantown also has the youngest population 23; and not surprising, it’s one of the best places in the Mountain State for singles.

We can’t blame the youngsters as the cost of living here is 0.9x lower than the national average, the unemployment rate is the 23rd lowest in the state, and the median income is $41,103/year.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in West Virginia

Best Places To Live In West Virginia Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in West Virginia, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Charleston, with a population of 48,415, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best 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 filter left 24 cities, 127 towns, and 176 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in West Virginia have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In West Virginia

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

We ranked each place in West Virginia across a number of criteria from one to 24, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In West Virginia.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking West Virginia’s best places to live.

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

Summary: The Best Places In West Virginia

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

The best places to live in West Virginia are Bridgeport, Vienna, Hurricane, St. Albans, New Martinsville, Buckhannon, Dunbar, Princeton, Charleston, and Morgantown.

Bridgeport made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in West Virginia for 2024.

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

  1. Bluefield (Pop. 9,619)
  2. Clarksburg (Pop. 15,977)
  3. Huntington (Pop. 46,637)

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In West Virginia Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Bridgeport 9,255 1.6% $269,583 $96,063 $1,195 0.0139
2 Vienna 10,642 5.8% $174,695 $62,979 $819 0.0376
3 Hurricane 6,908 3.1% $240,660 $70,861 $856 0.0034
4 St. Albans 10,753 6.2% $138,016 $60,524 $931 0.0290
5 New Martinsville 5,210 6.7% $135,488 $50,235 $706 0.0027
6 Buckhannon 5,201 6.1% $152,327 $43,621 $712 0.0171
7 Dunbar 7,418 1.5% $114,878 $48,396 $911 0.0334
8 Princeton 5,833 5.2% $151,800 $41,782 $720 0.0074
9 Charleston 48,415 5.8% $154,944 $58,902 $870 0.0464
10 Morgantown 30,220 9.9% $267,332 $41,103 $901 0.0264
11 South Charleston 13,527 6.9% $153,555 $58,756 $832 0.0512
12 Weirton 18,971 7.8% $130,867 $57,373 $699 0.0046
13 Fairmont 18,402 7.9% $157,592 $55,084 $860 0.0175
14 Moundsville 8,056 5.5% $117,602 $46,070 $831 0.0178
15 Wheeling 26,900 6.2% $133,839 $46,516 $748 0.0355
16 Elkins 6,935 11.2% $142,726 $39,875 $812 0.0297
17 Nitro 6,540 8.3% $121,752 $49,742 $834 0.0413
18 Martinsburg 18,678 9.1% $275,161 $55,240 $1,046 0.0297
19 Oak Hill 8,157 8.3% $127,514 $48,050 $776 0.0022
20 Parkersburg 29,685 6.9% $134,004 $41,921 $758 0.0384
21 Beckley 17,132 4.7% $113,834 $41,277 $862 0.0830
22 Bluefield 9,619 6.4% $101,761 $45,854 $854 0.0145
23 Clarksburg 15,977 5.9% $103,032 $46,595 $748 0.0404
24 Huntington 46,637 7.8% $115,258 $39,066 $841 0.0335

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.