West Virginia Department of Commerce Living in West Virginia

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Living in West Virginia

Livable West Virginia

West Virginia is conducive to family life. Residents appreciate its friendly atmosphere, relaxed pace and five-minute rush hour. Residents enjoy a low cost of living, which translates into lower costs for housing, property taxes, electricity and services.

Cost of Living:

West Virginia’s cost of living is 94.4, or 5.6 percent below the national average, based on the Council for Community and Economic Research’s 2010 ACCRA Cost of Living Index.

Housing Costs:

West Virginia’s price for an average home is 38.5 percent below the national average and one third the price of homes in the Washington, D.C., area. (You may be able to buy three times the home and land by moving to the Mountain State!) A typical 2,200-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 2-bath home in West Virginia costs about $208,571, compared to $292,491 in Pennsylvania or $381,314 in Maryland.  This is according to the 2011 Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index for housing costs, which compares single-family homes suitable for middle management transferees.

Homeownership Rates:

West Virginia’s 2009 home ownership rate was 78.7 percent – the highest rate in the nation. This may be due to the state’s low property taxes and low job turn-over rates. West Virginia also offers generous exemptions for military retirees for personal income tax.

Low Crime Rate:

West Virginia has among the lowest crime rates in the country. According to the latest available stats from the FBI, the state is the 12th-lowest in the nation for violent crime.

Energy Costs:

West Virginia remains a leader in low-cost electricity, with rates one-third lower than the national average. The state’s industrial rates are second lowest among states east of the Mississippi River, according to the U.S. Energy Administration.


West Virginia is within 500 miles of more than half of the U.S. population – and a third of the Canadian population. An excellent interstate system lets residents live where they want, within easy access of larger metro areas of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Meanwhile, West Virginia doesn’t have the traffic and congestion. It doesn’t take an hour to commute 10 miles home, leaving you more time for family, hobbies and life!