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It's got more culture in its pinky than America has in its hand.
The residents are very likeable, and there's a lot of history and beauty throughout the state that makes it the envy of the South.
Our goal in this post is to use science to determine which of Louisiana's cities are the best. It isn't a knock on other places there, but, when it's all said and done, statistically, this gives the cities at the top a lot of bragging rights.
We looked at data from the FBI on crime, the Census for things like home prices and education, and the best schools to determine the best places to live in Louisiana.
After analyzing the largest 60 cities, we came up with this list as the ten best places in Louisiana. Grab yourself some crawfish and a beignet from Cafe Du Monde and get ready for the best Louisiana has to offer.
What's the best place to live in Louisiana? According to the most recent FBI and Census data, Harahan ranks as the best place to live in Louisiana for 2021 -- quite the catch if you can afford to live here.
If you're analyzing places in Louisiana with the best economic situations, where there's low crime and there's a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Louisiana
- Cheapest Places To Live In Louisiana
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Louisiana
The 10 Best Places To Live In Louisiana For 2021
King Louis XIV would be super proud of Louisiana's #1 best place to live in the state, Harahan, because this city is pretty great.
While Harahan is the middle point between Baton Rouge and Gulfport, Mississippi, there's nothing middle of the road about this small town of 9,304 residents 25 minutes directly west of New Orleans
in Jefferson Parish. The crime rate in Harahan is below the state average--it is one of the top safest places in the Bayou State.
Harahan's cost of living numbers aren't too shabby, either. The median home price here is the 2nd highest in the state at $240,300, but people here make good money--$66,741/year and the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state at 3.6%.
What started as a vacation destination in the early 19th Century for Louisiana's middle and upper class to escape the heat of the bayou, is now the 2nd best place to live in the state.
So, if you guessed that the cost of living here is slightly higher than the rest of the state, you guessed right. The median home price in Mandeville is the highest in the state at $288,900 and everyday living expenses like transportation and utilities are also slightly higher. Mandeville is after all one of the richest in the state so we were not surprised to find that the 12,448 residents who live here earn a median income of $72,989/year. But, since most of these are second homes, we were surprised to find that the job market in Mandeville was holding strong and that the unemployment rate here is the 3rd lowest in the state at 2.7%. (Someone has to cater to Louisiana's wealthy, right?)
The crime rate in Mandeville was definitely lower than the rest of the state (there were only 242 crimes recorded last year)--wealthy people don't tend to scrimp on security and they don't scrimp on entertainment, either. In fact, Mandeville scored an 8.5/10 for amenities on our SnackAbility scale; and the word on the street, you won't be considered a Mandeville local until you've spent a weekend exploring Fontainebleau State Park.
Located along the shore of the Mississippi River, Addis, Louisiana, might seem like a rustic Southern town. Actually, it provides a charming mixture of old and new, offering residents excellent access to the region's most important population centers. A scenic spot with a great location, Addis ranks as the number 3 best place to live in the state.
The state capital of Baton Rouge is just 15 minutes to the north, while an hour-and-half drive down I-10 will get you to New Orleans. This makes Addis an excellent home town for commuters. More than that, the community also represents an outstanding place to raise a family, with good schools and friendly neighborhoods.
Given these advantages, it's no wonder 43.98% of households in town have kids. The economy in Addis is strong as well. The median income in the area comes in at $77,819, while the median home value hovers at $205,100. The unemployment rate sits at 3.7%.
Originally founded as a key railroad intersection (initially going by the name Baton Rouge Junction), Addis offers some old-town charm. Check out the town museum, located inside a historic former bank and post office.
Hop on the causeway and head west from Mandeville and you will run right smack dab into Louisiana's 4th best place to live, Youngsville.
This is why Youngsville is Louisiana's best of the best: this city of 13,407 residents in Lafayette Parish are pretty smart. The number of people with a high school diploma is close to 25% and the number of people with a degree is upwards of 45%--that's over half the population, folks. In fact, Youngsville earned one of the highest scores on our SnackAbility Scale--a 9/10 for best city indicators like jobs, safety, and education.
Youngsville's job market is also strong: the current unemployment rate here is the 15th in the state at 4.6% and the city's average combined household income is $89,038/year. And you're going to need a job if you choose to buy a home here instead of rent as the median home price in Youngsville is the 6th highest in the state at $222,800.
The cost of living here is slightly higher than the rest of the state, but can you really put a dollar amount on happiness? We don't think so. In fact, we're pretty sure that if you asked any Youngsville-ite, they will tell you that Youngsville is one of the happiest places to live, work, and raise a family in the state. Yes, life truly is sweeter in "young village."
There might be remnants of Civil War battles on this soil, but the only battle being fought now in Louisiana's 5th best place to live, Covington, is the battle to keep the city's cost of living down and its criminals at bay. And, folks, it seems to be working as Covington scored an 8/10 for housing on our SnackAbility scale. Incidentally, Covington has the 3rd best median home price at $232,900 and living expenses like groceries, health and transportation services are well below the state and national average. The same can be said for the crime rate here. Not only is Covington one of the safest places in Louisiana, there were only 322 committed here last year.
We bet that you didn't know that Covington is in a region referred to as the Ozona belt--basically, this small town in St. Tammany Parish has some of the best air and water quality in the state. So, there's no excuse to get out and about in this town, and we recommend you start at one corner of the 80,000 acres that have been set aside for city parks and wildlife refuge areas. And if that doesn't suit your fancy, the city itself is located where the Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte River meet. In fact, We hear that the annual Three Rivers Art Festival is a must see.
There are two types of people who live in the 6th best place to live in Louisiana, Zachary: either the veteran holdouts who have lived here forever and are watching their home values skyrocket as the median home price here is the 5th highest or those who make well over the city's median income of $84,795 and can afford to buy a home at $224,500. Zachary is after all one of the richest places in the states.
Either way, if you choose to buy your forever home in Zachary, you will be set. Your kids will get to go to great schools, there are a ton of job opportunities here (the unemployment rate is the 13th lowest in the state at 4.4% and the city's cost of living is manageable if you work hard like the rest of Zachary's 17,283 residents.
Zachary did score rather low on our SnackAbility scale for crime. At the time of this report, there were 714 crimes reported; but in all fairness, a majority of them were property related. To put it in perspective, you have a 1 in 162.6 chance of being a victim of a crime, so just be smart so that you can win at the adult version of the game of LIFE.
Although Patterson has a history of patriots fighting pirates to defend the city's limits, what we're about to say is not just some Louisiana Pirate Lore: Patterson really is the 7th best place to live in the Pelican State for 2021 and the following numbers prove it.
Patterson's cost of living numbers are some of the lowest in the state. You can buy a home here for $101,000 and living expenses like groceries, transportation, and utilities are comparable to or slightly below the state average. Patterson's residents make a decent salary at $40,574/year and it seems like everyone who can work does as the city's unemployment rate is the 6th lowest in the state at 3.1%.
Yes, the crime rate here is a bit higher than the rest of the state. And while you don't have to worry about Peg Leg Pete anymore, you do need to make sure you lock your doors as a majority of the crimes reported this past year were property related.
Located just minutes from the "Crawfish Capital of the World" (Breaux Bridge) is the 8th best place to live in Louisiana, Lafayette. And the following is a guide to navigate the cost of living waters in the "The Heart of Cajun Country".
Yes, if you want to buy a home here, you will be paying the 10th best median home price in the state--a single-family home will cost you $195,400. You won't have trouble finding a job here as the unemployment rate is the 20th lowest in the state at 5.1%. And just so you know, the combined household income in Lafayette is $51,264/year. And while this salary is doable, you're going to want to choose a job wisely--we hear swamp tour operators and crawfish and shrimp fishing are pretty popular industries and always looking for help.
And because Lafayette is so centrally located, the commute times here are next to nothing. In fact, Lafayette scored an 8/10 on our SnackAbility scale for commute times as well as jobs, housing, and education. Lafayette also had high marks for diversity and amenities. Yes, if you didn't already know, Lafayette has a large French and Cajun population that not only enhance Lafayette's flair, but they create some of the best cuisine.
If you need to live close to Louis Armstrong International Airport and you appreciate a good deal, then Louisiana's 9th best place to live, Kenner, is meant for you. But those aren't the only reasons that Kenner is so great. The largest city in Jefferson Parish has the 11th best price for homes in the state ($182,100) and the residents here do quite well for themselves pulling in a combined median household income of $54,975/year.
And, if you want all the bells and whistles of a big city, but you don't want to have to worry about your safety, Kenner is not only one of the safest places in the state, there were only 2,104 committed here this past year. Not to mention, they must have their teenagers on lockdown as they have one of the highest graduation rates.
Basically, we can't think of one reason that you shouldn't consider Kenner as your home. And if you hurry, you can catch Louisiana festival season.
Slidell, Louisiana, represents a crossroads town, an important link between Louisiana's biggest city and the world beyond. This provides the community's central economic draw and helps makes it one of the best places in the state to put down roots.
Founded in the 1800s, Slidell became an economic powerhouse in 20th century thanks to a booming chemical industry. It got a boost in the 1960s when NASA opened a facility in the area. Slidell continues to have a robust economy, with a median income of $54,906 and a median home value of $161,700.
Slidell is located across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, the state's largest city. Situated along I-10, one of the Louisiana's crucial transportation arteries, it also acts as a gateway to the wider world, with easy highway access to Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and beyond.
More than its commercial importance, Slidell offers natural beauty as well. It sits in the middle of some of Louisiana's most gorgeous landscapes. You can visit the shores of Lake Pontchartrain or take a quick drive to the wider Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, numerous nature centers (like the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area) are nearby.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Louisiana
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Baton Rouge with a population of 224,149 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 60 cities, 163 towns, and 161 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Louisiana 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 Louisiana
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Louisiana across a number of criteria from one to 60, 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 Louisiana".
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 Louisiana? That would be Harahan.
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 Louisiana.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Harahan at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Louisiana
If you're looking at areas in Louisiana with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Harahan made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Louisiana for 2021.
Best Towns To Live In Louisiana
- Bayou Country Club (Pop. 1,429)
- Westminster (Pop. 3,103)
- Elmwood (Pop. 4,658)
- Presquille (Pop. 1,659)
- Blanchard (Pop. 2,973)
- Brusly (Pop. 2,675)
- Milton (Pop. 3,027)
- Lakeshore (Pop. 1,755)
- Addis (Pop. 4,420)
- Eastwood (Pop. 4,649)
Best Small Towns To Live In Louisiana
- Oak Ridge (Pop. 137)
- Hester (Pop. 373)
- Watson (Pop. 925)
- Quitman (Pop. 156)
- Madisonville (Pop. 769)
- Prospect (Pop. 651)
- Gilliam (Pop. 102)
- Belmont (Pop. 373)
- Port Vincent (Pop. 919)
- Parks (Pop. 836)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Louisiana according to the data:
- Ville Platte (Pop. 7,159)
- Bogalusa (Pop. 11,673)
- Bastrop (Pop. 10,311)
For more Louisiana reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Louisiana
- Richest Cities In Louisiana
- Safest Places In Louisiana
- Worst Places To Live In Louisiana