Best counties to live in New York

Written by:
June 17, 2021
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Best counties to live in New York

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in New York using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

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Gbklyn // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Warren County

- Population: 64,276
- Median home value: $196,500 (71% own)
- Median rent: $929 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $61,024
- Top public schools: Queensbury Elementary School (A), Queensbury Middle School (A), Lake George Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Mary-St. Alphonsus Catholic School (unavailable), The Langan School at Prospect Center (unavailable), Childtime of Queensbury (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Glens Falls (B+), West Glens Falls (B), Queensbury (A)
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Benjamin D. Esham (bdesham) // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Livingston County

- Population: 63,591
- Median home value: $129,400 (75% own)
- Median rent: $798 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $59,510
- Top public schools: Avon High School (A), Caledonia-Mumford Elementary School (B+), Livonia Senior High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Lima Christian School (A), St. Agnes Elementary School (unavailable), Genesee Country Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Dansville (B), Geneseo (A), Lima (A)
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#22. Otsego County

- Population: 59,972
- Median home value: $146,400 (72% own)
- Median rent: $833 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $54,028
- Top public schools: Cooperstown Elementary School (A), Cooperstown Junior/Senior High School (B+), Oneonta Senior High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Oneonta Community Christian School (unavailable), Lighthouse Christian Academy (unavailable), The Brookwood School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Oneonta (B+), West End (B+), Cooperstown (A)
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#21. Oneida County

- Population: 229,959
- Median home value: $127,700 (67% own)
- Median rent: $766 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $56,027
- Top public schools: New Hartford Senior High School (A), Perry Junior High School (A), Robert L. Bradley Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School (A), Holy Cross Academy (B), Notre Dame Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Clinton (A+), Washington Mills (A), Whitesboro (B+)
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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Columbia County

- Population: 60,371
- Median home value: $233,600 (74% own)
- Median rent: $928 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $66,787
- Top public schools: Ichabod Crane Senior High School (A), Chatham High School (A), Ichabod Crane Primary School (B+)
- Top private schools: The Darrow School (A+), Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School (A), Mountain Road School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Niverville (A), Valatie (B), Hudson (B)
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Fred Hsu // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Ulster County

- Population: 178,665
- Median home value: $230,500 (68% own)
- Median rent: $1,112 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $64,304
- Top public schools: New Paltz Senior High School (A), Onteora High School (A), New Paltz Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Woodstock Day School (A), Mountain Laurel Waldorf School (A), Kingston Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Hurley (A), Tillson (B+), West Hurley (B+)
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#18. Niagara County

- Population: 210,820
- Median home value: $125,600 (71% own)
- Median rent: $703 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $55,522
- Top public schools: Primary Education Center (A), Starpoint Middle School (A), Lewiston Porter Senior High School (A)
- Top private schools: Christian Academy of Western New York (B), St. John Lutheran School (A), DeSales Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Youngstown (A), Rapids (B+), North Tonawanda (B)
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Matt H. Wade // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Rensselaer County

- Population: 159,185
- Median home value: $188,700 (63% own)
- Median rent: $973 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $68,991
- Top public schools: Red Mill School (A), Green Meadow School (A), Bell Top School (A)
- Top private schools: Emma Willard School (A+), Hoosac School (A+), The Doane Stuart School (A+)
- Top places to live: West Sand Lake (A), Averill Park (B+), Hampton Manor (B+)
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#16. Broome County

- Population: 193,188
- Median home value: $117,000 (65% own)
- Median rent: $776 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $52,226
- Top public schools: Vestal Senior High School (A), African Road Elementary School (A), Vestal Hills Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Seton Catholic Central High School (A), Ross Corners Christian Academy (B), Central Baptist Christian Academy (C+)
- Top places to live: Endwell (A), Port Dickinson (A), Chenango Bridge (B+)
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Mwanner // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Orange County

- Population: 380,085
- Median home value: $271,200 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,259 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $79,944
- Top public schools: George Grant Mason Elementary School (A), Willow Avenue Elementary School (A), Cornwall Central High School (A)
- Top private schools: The Storm King School (A+), New York Military Academy (A), Chapel Field Christian Schools (A)
- Top places to live: Cornwall-on-Hudson (A), Highland Falls (A), Beaver Dam Lake (A)
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Tim Hettler from New York, NY, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Suffolk County

- Population: 1,483,832
- Median home value: $397,400 (81% own)
- Median rent: $1,742 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $101,031
- Top public schools: Half Hollow Hills High School West (A+), Half Hollow Hills High School East (A+), Ward Melville Senior High School (A+)
- Top private schools: The Stony Brook School (A+), Ross School (A+), The Knox School (A+)
- Top places to live: Cold Spring Harbor (A+), Stony Brook (A+), Dix Hills (A+)
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#13. Putnam County

- Population: 98,787
- Median home value: $358,500 (82% own)
- Median rent: $1,453 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $104,486
- Top public schools: Carmel High School (A), Garrison School (A), Putnam Valley Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. James the Apostle School (unavailable), Green Chimneys School (unavailable), Creative Kids Childcare Centers - Brewster (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Cold Spring (A), Peach Lake (B+), Putnam Lake (B)
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UpstateNYer // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Schenectady County

- Population: 154,859
- Median home value: $169,600 (66% own)
- Median rent: $945 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $65,499
- Top public schools: Niskayuna High School (A+), Rosendale School (A+), Hillside Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School (B+), Mekeel Christian Academy (B), St. Helens School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Northside (A), Union Street (A), East Glenville (B+)
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Daniel Case // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Ontario County

- Population: 109,511
- Median home value: $161,800 (74% own)
- Median rent: $896 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $64,944
- Top public schools: Victor Senior High School (A+), Canandaigua Academy (A), Victor Junior High School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Mary School (unavailable), St. Francis de Sales-St. Stephen School (unavailable), Canandaigua Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Canandaigua (A), Geneva (B), Shortsville (B)
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#10. Rockland County

- Population: 324,422
- Median home value: $443,400 (68% own)
- Median rent: $1,504 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $93,024
- Top public schools: Tappan Zee High School (A+), Laurel Plains Elementary School (A+), Clarkstown South Senior High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Green Meadow Waldorf School (A), Albertus Magnus High School (A), Yeshiva Avir Yakov (B+)
- Top places to live: Piermont (A+), Upper Nyack (A+), Bardonia (A+)
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#9. Dutchess County

- Population: 293,754
- Median home value: $282,000 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,220 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $81,219
- Top public schools: Spackenkill High School (A), Arlington High School (A), Orville A. Todd Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Trinity-Pawling School (A+), Millbrook School (A+), Oakwood Friends School (A)
- Top places to live: Spackenkill (A), Arlington (A), Crown Heights (A)
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#8. Erie County

- Population: 919,355
- Median home value: $153,400 (65% own)
- Median rent: $829 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $58,121
- Top public schools: Williamsville East High School (A+), P.S. 195 - City Honors School (A+), Dodge Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Nichols School (A+), Canisius High School (A+), Buffalo Seminary (A+)
- Top places to live: Williamsville (A+), Eggertsville (A+), Clarence Center (A+)
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#7. Onondaga County

- Population: 462,872
- Median home value: $145,400 (65% own)
- Median rent: $872 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $61,359
- Top public schools: Fayetteville-Manlius Senior High School (A+), Jamesville-Dewitt High School (A+), Enders Road Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Manlius Pebble Hill School (A+), Christian Brothers Academy (A+), Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School (A)
- Top places to live: Fayetteville (A+), Liverpool (A), Westvale (A)
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#6. Saratoga County

- Population: 228,502
- Median home value: $258,300 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,138 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $84,291
- Top public schools: Francis L. Stevens Elementary School (A), Tesago Elementary School (A), Charlton Heights Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Kings School (B+), Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs (B+), Saratoga Central Catholic School (B+)
- Top places to live: Country Knolls (A+), Saratoga Springs (A), Ballston Spa (B+)
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#5. Monroe County

- Population: 743,341
- Median home value: $148,400 (64% own)
- Median rent: $927 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $60,075
- Top public schools: Pittsford-Mendon High School (A+), Brighton High School (A+), Pittsford Sutherland High School (A+)
- Top private schools: The Harley School (A+), Allendale Columbia School (A+), McQuaid Jesuit Preparatory School (A)
- Top places to live: Brighton (A+), Honeoye Falls (A), Fairport (A)
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#4. Albany County

- Population: 306,968
- Median home value: $222,500 (56% own)
- Median rent: $1,022 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $66,252
- Top public schools: Shaker High School (A+), Bethlehem Central Senior High School (A+), Southgate School (A)
- Top private schools: The Albany Academies (A+), Academy of the Holy Names (A), Christian Brothers Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Menands (A+), Center Square (A+), Westmere (A)
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#3. Westchester County

- Population: 968,890
- Median home value: $540,600 (61% own)
- Median rent: $1,537 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $96,610
- Top public schools: Scarsdale Senior High School (A+), Horace Greeley High School (A+), Pelham Memorial High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Rye Country Day School (A+), Hackley School (A+), French-American School of New York (A+)
- Top places to live: Greenville (A+), Chappaqua (A+), Ardsley (A+)
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#2. Tompkins County

- Population: 102,642
- Median home value: $204,600 (55% own)
- Median rent: $1,164 (45% rent)
- Median household income: $60,240
- Top public schools: Ithaca Senior High School (A+), Lansing High School (A), DeWitt Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Cascadilla School (A+), Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School (unavailable), Namaste Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Cayuga Heights (A+), East Ithaca (A+), Lansing (A+)
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#1. Nassau County

- Population: 1,356,509
- Median home value: $493,500 (81% own)
- Median rent: $1,772 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $116,100
- Top public schools: Jericho Senior High School (A+), Great Neck South High School (A+), Syosset Senior High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Friends Academy (A+), Portledge School (A+), The Waldorf School of Garden City (A+)
- Top places to live: Great Neck Plaza (A+), Jericho (A+), Great Neck Gardens (A+)

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