Population and Social Characteristics

Ohio's Best Counties to Live In

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Every year in the United States, tens of millions of Americans move to a new home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the bulk of these moves are motivated by personal circumstances, often relating to housing, family, or employment. But when it comes to deciding on a place to live, it can also be helpful to weigh other, less subjective factors.

As a means of gauging and comparing degrees of development between countries — beyond standard measures like gross domestic product and economic growth — the United Nations created the Human Development Index. By accounting for factors related to health and well-being, educational attainment, and standards of living, the HDI offers an assessment of overall quality of life at the individual level within a given geography.

When applied to communities within the United States, the core principles of the HDI reveal that some parts of the country are far better places to live than others.

Using an index inspired by the HDI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the best counties in Ohio to live in. Counties are ranked on a combination of three measures – average life expectancy at birth, the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the poverty rate. Of the 88 counties in Ohio, we ranked the 30 with the highest HDI score.

Across all of Ohio, average life expectancy at birth is 76.5 years. Additionally, 13.3% of the population live below the poverty line and 30.4% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of the 30 counties on this list, 10 compare favorably to the state as a whole in each of these metrics.

Among these 30 Ohio counties, average life expectancy at birth ranges from 76.2 years to 81.7 years. Meanwhile, poverty rates vary between 4.5% and 16.5%, and bachelor’s degree attainment rates range from about 18% to over 50%.

Data used to calculate rankings are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. All ACS data are five-year averages.

Why It Matters

Source: Darren415 / iStock via Getty Images

Many of the most commonly cited economic indicators — including unemployment, GDP, and industrial output — are useful gauges of prosperity and productive capacity in a given area. But when it comes to measuring overall quality of life, any single metric inevitably falls short. To address these shortcomings, the HDI combines three key social and economic measures into a single index score, allowing for objective comparisons between communities across the United States.

30. Madison County

Source: Public Domain
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.2%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 20.4%
  • Median household income: $77,062
  • Population: 43,961

29. Fulton County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.6 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 18.3%
  • Median household income: $71,453
  • Population: 42,602

28. Knox County

Source: Oralleff / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.1 years
  • Poverty rate: 12.9%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 23.7%
  • Median household income: $71,246
  • Population: 62,657

27. Lorain County

Source: dypics / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 13.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 27.2%
  • Median household income: $67,272
  • Population: 313,101

26. Erie County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.2 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.5%
  • Median household income: $65,171
  • Population: 75,299

25. Wyandot County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 6.9%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 21.2%
  • Median household income: $68,552
  • Population: 21,818

24. Cuyahoga County

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 16.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 35.2%
  • Median household income: $60,074
  • Population: 1,256,620

23. Wayne County

Source: dougtone / Flickr

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 24.0%
  • Median household income: $70,320
  • Population: 116,680

22. Auglaize County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.9 years
  • Poverty rate: 6.6%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 20.7%
  • Median household income: $75,231
  • Population: 46,263

21. Miami County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 24.7%
  • Median household income: $71,440
  • Population: 108,818

20. Mercer County

Source: Public Domain
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 6.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 20.4%
  • Median household income: $73,278
  • Population: 42,321

19. Butler County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.9%
  • Median household income: $77,062
  • Population: 388,327

18. Hancock County

Source: Oralleff / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 28.5%
  • Median household income: $67,006
  • Population: 75,072

17. Ottawa County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.9%
  • Median household income: $69,515
  • Population: 40,367

16. Licking County

Source: davidwilson1949 / Flickr

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.1 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.5%
  • Median household income: $78,505
  • Population: 178,844

15. Summit County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 12.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.6%
  • Median household income: $68,360
  • Population: 539,361

14. Portage County

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.3%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.7%
  • Median household income: $69,796
  • Population: 161,217

13. Hamilton County

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 14.9%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.3%
  • Median household income: $68,249
  • Population: 827,671

12. Clermont County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.2%
  • Median household income: $79,573
  • Population: 208,851

11. Fairfield County

Source: Jacqueline Nix / Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.7%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.1%
  • Median household income: $82,969
  • Population: 159,371

10. Putnam County

Source: Nyttend / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 79.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 6.6%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 25.9%
  • Median household income: $79,453
  • Population: 34,400

9. Lake County

Source: benkrut / iStock via Getty Images

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.2 years
  • Poverty rate: 7.6%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.9%
  • Median household income: $76,835
  • Population: 232,236

8. Franklin County

Source: TraceRouda / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 76.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 14.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.7%
  • Median household income: $71,070
  • Population: 1,318,149

7. Wood County

Source: smontgom65 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 12.9%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 37.5%
  • Median household income: $70,537
  • Population: 131,564

6. Greene County

Source: Oralleff / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.6%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.2%
  • Median household income: $81,243
  • Population: 167,567

5. Medina County

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.0 years
  • Poverty rate: 6.0%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 35.9%
  • Median household income: $89,968
  • Population: 182,347

4. Union County

Source: NSA Digital Archive / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.9 years
  • Poverty rate: 5.2%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.3%
  • Median household income: $104,496
  • Population: 63,411

3. Geauga County

Source: bilbowden / iStock via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.9 years
  • Poverty rate: 5.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.4%
  • Median household income: $97,162
  • Population: 95,455

2. Warren County

Source: Chris Pansing / 500px / 500px via Getty Images
  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 79.2 years
  • Poverty rate: 5.1%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 44.7%
  • Median household income: $103,128
  • Population: 243,189

1. Delaware County

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 4.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 57.4%
  • Median household income: $123,995
  • Population: 216,074
Rank County Avg. life expectancy at birth (yrs.) Adults with a bachelor’s degree (%) Poverty rate (%) Population
1 Delaware, Ohio 81.7 57.4 4.5 216,074
2 Warren, Ohio 79.2 44.7 5.1 243,189
3 Geauga, Ohio 80.9 39.4 5.8 95,455
4 Union, Ohio 78.9 39.3 5.2 63,411
5 Medina, Ohio 80.0 35.9 6.0 182,347
6 Greene, Ohio 78.5 41.2 10.6 167,567
7 Wood, Ohio 78.3 37.5 12.9 131,564
8 Franklin, Ohio 76.7 41.7 14.5 1,318,149
9 Lake, Ohio 78.2 29.9 7.6 232,236
10 Putnam, Ohio 79.8 25.9 6.6 34,400
11 Fairfield, Ohio 77.7 31.1 8.7 159,371
12 Clermont, Ohio 77.5 30.2 8.4 208,851
13 Hamilton, Ohio 76.4 40.3 14.9 827,671
14 Portage, Ohio 77.8 31.7 11.3 161,217
15 Summit, Ohio 76.8 34.6 12.4 539,361
16 Licking, Ohio 77.1 29.5 9.8 178,844
17 Ottawa, Ohio 77.8 26.9 8.8 40,367
18 Hancock, Ohio 77.5 28.5 10.5 75,072
19 Butler, Ohio 76.4 31.9 11.8 388,327
20 Mercer, Ohio 78.5 20.4 6.4 42,321
21 Miami, Ohio 77.4 24.7 8.5 108,818
22 Auglaize, Ohio 77.9 20.7 6.6 46,263
23 Wayne, Ohio 77.5 24.0 8.8 116,680
24 Cuyahoga, Ohio 76.5 35.2 16.5 1,256,620
25 Wyandot, Ohio 76.7 21.2 6.9 21,818
26 Erie, Ohio 76.2 26.5 11.5 75,299
27 Lorain, Ohio 77.5 27.2 13.5 313,101
28 Knox, Ohio 78.1 23.7 12.9 62,657
29 Fulton, Ohio 77.6 18.3 8.5 42,602
30 Madison, Ohio 77.5 20.4 10.2 43,961

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