17 Reasons To Move To Charleston, West Virginia (Voted By Locals!)

Charleston, West Virginia, USA skyline on the Kanawha River at dusk.

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and while being the capital it is still a smaller city with just 48,051 residents. Despite being smaller there is still plenty for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the city.

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Your Commute Is Going To Be Short

While you are able to drive to just about anywhere you want, the average commute time that most people are having to make each morning is just 17 minutes. This will be great as it means you are going to have more time before you have to leave for work and more time to enjoy doing whatever you want afterward. Along with that, a shorter commute also means less gas you have to purchase. And the majority of the commutes are throughout Charleston, and other small surrounding cities, which are easy drives down a typically non-traffic-jammed highway. Along with that, you can always use public transportation instead of driving yourself, however, public transportation did not make this list.

2. The Citizenship Rates Are High

Another positive that likely won’t affect you too much is the fact that the citizenship rates are extremely high. The national average citizenship rate comes in at 93.4% of the population, however, in a city of 48,000 people, Charleston has an outstanding percentage of the population being citizens with 98.3% of the population being United States citizens. This means that there are just 900 people who aren’t a citizen. It has also been shown that the number of people in Charleston who are citizens has been steady at 98.5% for the past several years.

3. Wage Growth Is Also High

Another great feature that you are going to get to enjoy when it comes to working in Charleston is the growth of the average income. I have already covered how Charleston has less poverty than many other cities in the United States, however, along with this the average wage is going to grow quickly. The wage growth over the past few years has averaged out to 14.8% growth each year.

4. Home Ownership Rates Are Great

Another positive that likely won’t affect you too much is the fact that the homeownership rates are extremely high. The state average ownership rate comes in at 57.5% of the population, however, in the city of 48,000 people, Charleston has an outstanding percentage of the population being homeowners with 60.7% of the population being fully owning their homes. It has also been shown that the number of people in Charleston who are owning their homes has been steady at 60% for the past several years.

5. The Cost Of Homes Are Low

Small blue gray mobile home with a front and side porch. It has a white porch railing out in the country on land shared by a larger siding house.

When it comes to getting a house in Charleston, you are going to be looking at houses that are a fair bit below the national average. The current average price of a home within the city is $157,121, a whopping $325,600 under the national average. One of the major reasons for this is due to the natural beauty of the area surrounding you and you can get an amazing home with a great location far beneath the national average. Although with this the price of homes in Charleston is also quickly getting more expensive. In just the past year the average price of homes has increased by 12.7% and shows little sign of slowing down.

6. And So Is The Cost Of Living

While the costs of homes are above the national average, you, fortunately, aren’t going to have to worry about the cost of either health services or utilities as these are both below the national average. The cost of health services comes in at just 98.5, meaning that visits to the hospital or the cost of products like medication are going to cost far less than most places in the nation. Along with that, utilities cost just 86.4 meaning that things like electricity, water, and power are going to be costing you less. This can help make up for the extra you had to pay for the home by paying less for the utilities. You also will be able to save some of the money for the much higher price of homes that you are going to have to deal with in Charleston.

7. Schools Are Great

If you are a parent, then this is going to be some very good news as the public schools both in West Virginia and in Charleston are great and are above average in their proficiency in math and reading. West Virginia schools come in with an average proficiency of 41%, with a high proficiency in reading at 46% and proficiency in math at just 36%.

Meanwhile, Charleston’s schools perform just as well if not better, coming in at a total proficiency of 46%, with 43% in math and a great average of 48% in reading. When it comes to school spending, the schools are already spending higher than both the national and state average per student, and it is this willingness to spend more that has helped Charleston Schools to be so successful in recent years.

8. You Are Surrounded By Nature

Charleston is located in a beautiful area. The average view in the morning in Charleston is a site that you will want to just stop and enjoy as it is a gorgeous and amazing look. As you stare towards the nearby Allegheny Mountains, you can see it in vivid detail with the sun rising nearby, along with the valley separating you from the mountain filled with fog obscuring the valley’s forest, with some of the evergreens reaching through the fog and enjoying the sun. This is a view that isn’t just a once-in-a-lifetime view, but rather a view that is very common, especially in late fall and early winter.

9. The Locals Are Friendly

This is one of the largest factors that help give the city its small-town feel. While in many larger cities people will tend to be very cold and avoid interactions at all costs, people in Charleston tend to be very nice and often are trying to help each other. This includes locals performing all sorts of services to keep the city looking nice, which often includes keeping the many parks clean and well-maintained so that both locals and visitors can enjoy their time there. Along with this, most interactions I have had with residents there left me with a smile and feeling a bit better as people just do nice things and seem to care about each other.

10. The Food Is Great

A large part of many different cultures is their variety of food. People from all around the world bring their culture and favorite foods with them, and from that restaurants and stores have opened that allow you to be able to experience that same variety of food. There is a wide variety of Hispanic food here as there are lots of people from varying different Central and South American countries, however, Hispanic cuisine is not the only food represented as you can find just about every option you can think of ranging from European food to a variety of Asian cuisine.

11. You Have A Small Town Feel

Despite having a population of 48,000, which certainly qualifies itself to be considered a large or even a major city, however, according to many of the locals the city still has a small-town feel. This is highly beneficial as it allows for locals to have a less busy environment and also gives the city a much more relaxed nature. This is one of the main reasons that there also is very little traffic and why the city is also considered by locals to be super family-friendly. These feelings of a small town are due to a variety of reasons, but many include being in a more rural location, popular activities like the farmers market, and many music concerts, which I will talk about more later.

12. There Are Lots For You To Do

Along with having a great environment and views all around you, you have a variety of different options of activities for you to be able to do. You have options for a variety of different options for activities for you to enjoy if you decide to move here. You can make the quick drive out of the city to enjoy a hike, and even do some swimming at one of the many surrounding rivers, or you can instead go for a hike at one of the many different mountains which are located throughout the state. Both of these are very fun, and along with these, you have a variety of other options for activities in the surrounding area as there is much to explore and do.

13. The Weather Is Nice

That’s right, despite most of the Northeast being known for constant rain and cold weather, in Charleston you are going to have plenty of beautiful days to get outside and enjoy the nature you are surrounded by. The winters in Charleston can get cold dropping to below freezing, however, from late May to early October, the vast majority of the days are going to be sunny and will be around 70 degrees. You also aren’t going to have to worry about snow as this isn’t very common. During these same summer months, rainfall will drop from about 32% each day to just 5% meaning there will be plenty of suns for you to enjoy.

14. You Are Close To Large Cities

Charleston is a city that is located just outside of many large cities like Colombus and Lexington. This is going to give a ton of different positives, many of which I will mention throughout the rest of the article. However, there are a few negatives to being next to such a large city, however, the vast majority of aspects are positive. The first major positive is the fact that it offers a massive amount of jobs, and this shows in the fact that the unemployment rate of Charleston is just 4.7% compared to the United States’ rate of 5.9%. Along with that, by far the largest industry is the technological industry. And there are also lots of musicians that can come in and gain popularity throughout the many large cities around the surrounding cities.

15. It Is A Music City

Charleston is a massive music city. Along with having tons of different concerts that are plenty large and have lots of different selections when it comes to finding a genre to listen to, the downtown area of Charleston also has lots of different music stores for those who enjoy music. In fact, in the downtown area, there are 5 different music stores for anyone to go to and enjoy. Along with this, Charleston is also the home of Bluegrass music, which is a type of country music that has more and more popular in recent years. It has become so popular that the city holds a large yearly festival with some of the best bluegrass artists coming to participate.

16. You Don’t Have To Worry About Traffic

While you are going even to have to be worrying about driving too much each day, even if you are driving into Charleston to work, you are also fortunate that you aren’t going to have to worry about dealing with traffic until you actually get into the city. The streets in and highways near Charleston as wide enough so that you don’t have to traffic. Along with that, West Virginia is home to safer drivers, ranking at 5 as the home to the safest drivers. So, you aren’t going to have to worry about accidents causing traffic either, so when you have to drive, you won’t have to worry about any traffic.

17. There Is Lots Of History

The east coast is rich with a vast number of historical sights and many different landmarks. From both the revolutionary war and the civil war, there are going to be plenty of different sights and landmarks that you can visit. Along with that, there are tons of different museums that you can visit both in Charleston and there are even more if you make the quick trip to Washington D.C. to even more famous museums like the Smithsonian, or the Washington Monument.

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