The five best suburban communities in which to live in Virginia are all located in Northern Virginia, if you believe the methodology employed by Caldwell Banker in a national survey of “Suburbanites Best Places to Live.”
Wolf Trap took the top honors, sufficient to rank it No. 5 in the entire country, followed by Great Falls, McLean, Franklin Farm and Mantua. The rest of Virginia, cry your eyes out.
The areas analyzed include U.S. Census designated places, incorporated places and county subdivisions. The survey incorporated a wide variety of elements such as disposable income, percentage of home ownership, length of commute, gas affordability, quality of schools, prevalence of crime, and access to amenities such as coffee shops, grocery stores, banks, outdoor resources and cultural activities.
Wolf Trap ranked a 969 score (our of 1,000) for “suburbanite” attributes but only a 553 score for “social seeker” attributes. Social seekers place a higher value on such amenities as public transportation, multicultural food options, a lively nightlife and a variety of housing alternatives such as rentals, condos and co-ops.
The best suburban place in Virginia for social seekers are Arlington, Huntington and Tysons Corner. Indeed, of the 25 top “social seeker” places to live all 25 but two are in Northern Virginia. The only two exceptions were Blacksburg and Pantops (Charlottesville).
Question to readers: Do Northern Virginia really offer a vastly higher quality of life than other Virginia communities? Or are they just wealthier?