There’s no doubt that Ohio has a lot to offer its residents. As the most affordable state, Ohio allows people from all walks of life to create a successful and satisfying lifestyle. Ohio has four seasons, each of which provides different natural beauties. From snow-capped winters and blossoming springs to vibrant autumn colors and warm summers, Ohio can give you a little bit of everything.
Although Ohio has so much potential, you want to make sure you are living in an area of the state that will put your dreams within your reach, if you are considering a move to Ohio, you probably want to know, “What are the best places to live in Ohio?” Using statistics related to crime, education, demographics, culture, job opportunities, and more, 10 cities have been chosen as standouts. We’ve also included 3 places you might want to avoid if you want to live in Ohio.
If you’re curious about some of the best areas in Ohio, read on to learn why these areas stand out and discover some well-known favorites along with some hidden gems that most people outside Ohio may miss. “The Buckeye State” is waiting for you!
10 Best Places to Live in Ohio
Whether you’re looking for city living or a quieter pace, Ohio offers both urban and rural opportunities that can please any type of person. Most of these places offer amazing costs of living, noteworthy educational opportunities, good career outcomes, and unique cultural environments. No city is perfect, but each one offers pros that more than outweigh its cons.
The biggest city on the list is Columbus, which is not only Ohio’s largest city, but it is also the state capital. As home to nearly 12 million people, Columbus is the seventh most populous city in the whole United States. It’s no wonder that so many people flock to live in Columbus. Ranked as #69 in places to live and in places to retire, Columbus remains a prominent place to move.
Columbus offers big-city amenities with a relatively low cost of living. If you’re in Columbus, be ready to embrace the Ohio State Buckeyes because Columbus natives are quite loyal to college teams, especially football teams. Attractions like the Columbus Zoo, Columbus Museum of Art, or one of many parks add cultural and entertainment value.
Columbus is pretty safe, too. Despite being a big city, Columbus has a lower crime rate than the U.S. average. With a 312.9 per 100,000 violent crime rate, Columbus is relatively safe even if it is not the safest city in Ohio.
With views of Lake Erie, Cleveland is one of the most beautiful areas of Ohio. This city began as a hub for immigrants who became an essential part of the budding industry in the area; however, in recent years, it has become home to more Young Urban Professionals and their families. The evolving nature of Cleveland’s economy has allowed it to maintain its living standard.
Cleveland has been named as one of the best places to visit by National Geographic Traveler From award-winning restaurants, art museums, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to natural beauties like Lake Erie and walking trails, Cleveland offers a nice blend of urban infrastructure and nature. You rarely find waterfront views this affordably!
When compared to similarly sized cities, Cleveland is quite affordable and with housing costs of around $125K, you can get a home well below the national average in Cleveland. With more diversity than many Ohio cities, good schools, and top-ranked hospitals, Cleveland shouldn’t be overlooked.
With a big library system, hundreds of schools, and cultural sites, Cincinnati offers both excitement and stability, which is why it is one of the big three “C-Cities” in Ohio. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Cincinnati as the top place in 50th Ohio to live. It is also ranked as the 50th best place to live in the United States and the 34th best place to retire.
Being home to Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and Kroger, Cincinnati has plenty of job opportunities, and its prominent industries include business, healthcare, science, and the arts. Thus, a range of professionals call Cincinnati their home. Although Cincinnati has a slightly lower average salary than the national average, its low cost of living ensures that residents can live just as comfortably or even more comfortably.
If you’re worried about city crime, Cincinnati’s crime rate is promising and has a 222.6 per 100,000 violent crime rate, which is significantly lower than the national average and is lower than other Ohio areas like Columbus. Compared to other cities of its size, Cincinnati offers plenty of safety so that residents can thrive.
Akron has been nicknamed the City of Invention, which evokes its drive to inspire and use ingenuity to create a better future. With cultural landmarks like an exotic zoo or fantastic Tudor-style homes, Akron combines budding industries with intrigue and respect for its storied past.
While Akron is its own urban area, it is very interconnected with Columbus because of Urban sprawl. Akron has its own media, but it also benefits from also having easy connection to Cleveland news and radio stations. For more exploration, trips to Cleveland make what Akron has to offer even bigger.
Although Akron began manufacturing oatmeal, tires, and pottery, it has become a place for developing tech. It is also home to Fortunate 1000 companies that bring career opportunities and growth opportunities. With 200,000 residents, Akron may not be the largest city on the list, but it certainly has plenty of minds and bodies to make it one of the best places in Ohio.
If you want a taste of New England in Ohio, there’s no better to look than Granville, which offers quaint charm on the edge of the Appalachian Plateau. Granville is much smaller than many of the cities on this list with a population of only about 6,000, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. It’s home to Denison University and has many historic buildings that make for unique homes and attractions.
Residents love the peace and tranquility of Granville, and it’s the sort of town that builds tight community bonds, but it still has urban perks because it is part of the Greater Columbus area and is only about half an hour away from Ohio’s capital.
Residents love the local shops and serene natural environment, and the student population keeps a youthful vigor in an otherwise sleep area.
Athens, Ohio, prides itself on its cultural vibrancy. It calls itself, “A place to belong.” Athens encourages a lot of cultural development, such as fine dining, community activities, and a little magic in everyday life. Whether you love partying or quiet nights at home, Athens offers a range of experiences.
It’s no wonder that Athens get a strong Niche rating, based on data analysis and user input. Athens has relatively good public schools and crime and safety scores. While the cost of living is less affordable than some other places in Ohio, it is still better than many places in the United States, and those who like nightlife will benefit from Athens’ high-energy atmosphere.
A gem of Southeast Ohio, Marietta is nestled by the Ohio River and was established in the 18th century and would become Ohio’s first city settled by pioneers. The history comes alive when you visit Marietta and while outsiders may not know of this town, it is an important part of Ohio’s past and remains a crucial part of its future.
There are many opportunities for economic development, and Marietta encourages ventures including tourism, small business development, business expansion, and downtown revitalization to keep the town’s place as one of the best places in Ohio.
According to Best Places, the cost of living in Marietta is 22.7% lower than the national average, making it a highly affordable place to live. Additionally, the crime rate is low, making Marietta a safe place. For entertainment, you can check out the Campus Martius Museum or attend festivals like the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, which occurs each September.
On the West end of Lake Erie, Toledo is an often forgotten but pleasant city, and it is the fourth-most populous city in Ohio. If you’re looking for cool architecture or arts and culture, Toledo will give you a lot of food for thought.
Toledo was once know as the Glass City because of its part in the glass industry, Toledo has expanded since those days, but old warehouses are still part of the city landscape, and it’s common to see renovated lofts that have been created to give new life to old buildings.
With close proximity to museums, science centers, and outdoor venues, Toledo has kept up with the times, but it also remains an affordable place to live. While families often love this location, Toledo is also great for older folks and has been ranked #23 in retirement places. For those looking to look beyond one of the “C-cities,” Toledo is the place for you.
Home to 13,000 people, the city of Wickliffe isn’t a huge place, but residents love this town in suburban Cleveland for its parks and historical buildings. Many families love to call this area home because of the stability and slower pace of life it offers.
Wickliffe has a good livability rating because it has an affordable cost of living, low violent crime rate, low poverty, and good schools. These factors all enable Wickliffe to operate smoothly and continue to thrive. While Wickliffe may be a little quiet for those used to the city, it still offers plenty to do and easy access to Cincinnati.
If you are looking for a suburban option, Westerville is only fifteen minutes away from central Columbus, and offers many of the perks of places like Powell but at a more affordable price. With 40 parks and thousands of attractions, there’s plenty to do in Westerville for individuals and families.
You can see a range of cultural influences in Westerville, which have shaped the development of the city. Native Americans lived in the area for thousands of years before it was influenced by Dutch design. There are also Antebellum houses, which were sometimes part of the Underground Railroad.
Niche ranks Westerville with an overall A ranking, and this ranking makes it one of the best Columbus suburbs in Ohio. It is ranked especially highly when it comes to public schools, families, jobs, health and fitness, outdoor activities, and nightlife. Westerville blends a lot of desirable areas to make an overall strong community.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Place to Live in Ohio
Ohio is known as the “Heart of it all” because it is in a special position of being surrounded because of more than its central geography. Ohio combines different lifestyles and identities all under one state. Each state has its unique qualities, but they all unite in making Ohio an exciting and dynamic place to live. While Ohio is beloved by many of its residents, it’s not for everyone. Consider the following before choosing to live in Ohio.
- Ohio’s job market is growing, allowing people already established in industries to make an easy move and even accomplish career advancement.
- Ohioans have midwestern charm and are often inviting to newcomers and love to share their sensibilities and neighborly love.
- With an extensive park system, it’s easy to enjoy the natural wonders of Ohio.
- Affordable homes in most areas mean that you don’t have to be rich to find the right home for you and home ownership is a reachable goal for most people.
- A low cost of living means that you can invest more time, energy, and money into things that offer you more joy.
- While Ohio does offer urban areas, even in Urban areas, Ohio often feels more rural.
- Ohio’s weather isn’t too drastic, it does have humid summers and cold, sometimes snowy, winters. Some areas of Ohio may experience the lake effect from the Great Lakes and can get lots of snow.
- If you want a happy medium, Ohio gives a little bit of everything, but it may lack certain features you’re looking for, such as strong public transit, high diversity, and it has some areas that struggle with poverty and crime.
Prioritize what is most important to you when determining if a move is the right decision for you and your family. Ohio is a beloved state, but there are certain features that may be dealbreakers based on your needs and wants.
3 Places in Ohio You Should Avoid
While there are many nice locations to call home in Ohio, there are certain areas that you may want to avoid based on a few key characteristics. These areas are not inherently bad and can have very nice areas, but they are known for having concerning crime rates, poverty, or other issues that you will want to be aware of before you make a move to Ohio.
Youngstown, Ohio, is a quintessential example of a city that faced decline as a result of steel mills shutting down. While it has made strides to adjust to the changes, it is hard to overcome the decline that has already happened.
As one of the poorest places in the USA, around 38% of the population is below the poverty line. Youngstown also has a startling murder rate and other crimes, which are related to the economic hardship the city faces. Other issues like addiction is a common problem in this area, which is another hurdle to repairing the damage that has been done to Youngstown.
Dayton has many of the same problems as Youngstown. Industry changes transformed people’s abilities to make a good living. Economic hardships lead to issues such as addiction, poverty, and crime. While Dayton does have some hope for the future, right now, it is still struggling.
Though Dayton is known as the birthplace of Aviation and the home of the Wright Brothers, it has not been soaring like it once did. Once a hub for innovation, Dayton must transition from its past if it wants to rise again. For now, it has ways to go before it becomes a place full of vibrant development.
Canton’s appalling crime rate alone is enough to make people think twice before moving to this area. With a crime rate 168.2% higher than the national average and nearly 200% higher than Ohio’s state average, the crime rate speaks loudly.
Even more concerning is the violent crime rate, which is 362.8% higher than Ohio’s average and 268.5% higher than the national average. All this crime makes it hard for industries to boom and the whole city’s social and economic metrics struggle as a result.
If you’re wondering if you want to settle down in Ohio and where to settle down, parsing through all the information about different popular areas can be overwhelming. The following frequently asked questions can help you gain some clarity and understand some of the key concerns other people have when considering living in Ohio.
Overall, Ohio is a great place to live. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but it combines a lot of desirable features. People often love it because it can give you most of what you want without breaking the bank. It doesn’t have the biggest cities in the United States, but its cities are big enough to offer opportunities for all Ohioans.
There are plenty of reasons people choose to make Ohio their home, but one of the top reasons is that Ohio has such a low cost of living while still offering good schools, job opportunities, and a good shot at the American dream.
There’s no single location in Ohio that’s the prettiest, and what is prettiest will depend on what kind of natural or man-made features you prefer. If you’re looking for urban beauty, both Cincinnati and Cleveland are known for architectural feats and gorgeous skylines that are sure to captivate you. Natural beauty can be found all around but parks like the Cuyahoga Valley National Park or Hocking Hills State Park should be at the top of your list.
Ohio is known for being cheap because its cost of living is lower than average compared to other states in the United States. It offers a combined median income and average housing price that ensures residents can live more easily.
Each city has its own metrics that may make it more livable than the other. For example, as Ohio’s biggest city, Columbus offers a lot of job opportunities compared to smaller areas, while Cleveland is known particularly for having great schools and a wonderful park system. It depends on what you value the most that will determine which city is most livable for you, but all the cities listed offer a good combination of factors that make them livable.
The average salary in Ohio is around $48,000, according to Zip Recruiter, but people who live in more expensive areas will want to have a higher salary to accommodate their living costs, so you’ll want to consider your lifestyle and the area you want to live to determine what a suitable salary will be. Fortunately, Ohio’s low cost of living means you can stretch your money far.
There are many affordable areas in Ohio. The most affordable areas don’t always correlate with the places you’d most want to live. For example, Youngstown is an inexpensive option, but it is affordable because it has a lot of socioeconomic challenges. Other cheap areas include Gahanna, Bexley, Lancaster, Heath. Most areas of Ohio are affordable, so it is advisable to prioritize other features like schools and crime rates when choosing where to reside.
Ohio is a great place to raise a family and has a family-driven atmosphere. Of course, having a low cost of living means that raising kids doesn’t have to be quite so expensive. However, you’ll want to make sure that you choose an area with high-ranked schools and low crime rates if you plan on bringing your family to Ohio.
Kids will likely have a blast in Ohio. Not only does Ohio offer many communities where kids can make friends with little ones their own age, but there are also many attractions that appeal to kids. The Cleveland Children’s Museum, Dig for Dinosaurs Fun Park, and Tuscora Park are all examples of places children are sure to love. Big kids and little kids alike have a lot to love in Ohio.