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Can You Guess Which Hudson Valley County Is the Best?

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Dunderberg from Peekskill / Wikimedia Commons / Copperhead7

While a number of Hudson River counties rank highly in Niche’s list of the best counties in New York, only one tops the chart.

Maybe we’re biased, but we’re pretty sure the Hudson Valley is the best place to live.

With its panoramic landscapes filled with everything from the snow-capped Hunter and Windham Mountains to the great Hudson River, it’s a region that never fails to inspire and impress. From Albany to Yonkers, the Valley is studded with charming communities that captivate with their colorful storefronts and enticing eateries. And, as a walk down any of the top Main Streets in the area reveals, the Hudson Valley is precisely the sort of place that’s all too easy to fall in love with and never leave.

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That’s why we were delighted, but not too surprised to find that a number of Hudson Valley counties ranked highly on Niche’s list of the best counties to live in New York in 2020. While we’d award them all the number one slot, Niche places one Hudson Valley county above all others and near the very top of the statewide lineup.

To formulate its list, Niche analyzed factors like cost of living, job opportunities, local amenities, and public schools using data from sources like the U.S. Census, BLS, and CDC. After taking a close look at all 62 counties in New York State, it came up with a comprehensive report that touches upon everything from diversity and family to affordability and education.

Can you guess which Hudson Valley county claims the top spot?

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It’s Westchester!

Coming in at number three on Niche’s list, Westchester County ranks just below Tompkins and Nassau Counties. It earns an A+ for its noteworthy public school systems and family-friendly atmosphere and an A for its diversity and nightlife. Westchester is the most populated county in the Valley, with a total of 968,815 residents. Its median home value rests quite a bit above the national average of $184,700 at $528,300, while the median rent cost is $1,493.

Westchester may have earned the top spot for the Hudson Valley, but the region’s other counties garnered impressive standings, too. Here’s how the remaining nine counties fared.

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5 – Albany County

Grade: A
Best for: Commute, diversity, health and fitness, families, nightlife, outdoor activities, public schools
Population: 307,426
Median home value: $218,100
Median rent: $993

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9 – Rockland County

Grade: A-
Best for: Diversity, families, health and fitness, nightlife, outdoor activities, public schools
Population: 323,686
Median home population: $434,000
Median rent: $1,463

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10 – Dutchess County

Grade: A-
Best for: Diversity, families, health and fitness, nightlife, outdoor activities, public schools
Population: 293,894
Median home value: $278,100
Median rent: $1,194

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12 – Putnam County

Grade: A-
Best for: Families, health and fitness, nightlife, outdoor activities, public schools
Population: 99,070
Median home value: $356,300
Media rent: $1,387

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15 – Orange County

Grade: B+
Best for: Diversity, families, health and fitness, nightlife, outdoor activities, public schools
Population: 378,227
Median home value: 263,700
Median rent: $1,223

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18 – Rensselaer County

Grade: B
Best for: Families, nightlife, outdoor activities
Population: 159,431
Median home value: $185,100
Median rent: $945

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19 – Ulster County

Grade: B
Best for: Health and fitness, nightlife, outdoor activities
Population: 179,303
Median home value: $225,500
Median rent: $1,086

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22 – Columbia County

Grade: B
Best for: Health and fitness, nightlife, outdoor activities
Population: 60,9191
Median home value: $231,100
Median rent: $931

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46 – Greene County

Grade: C+
Best for: Nightlife, outdoor activities
Population: 47,617
Median home value: $174,700
Median rent: $906

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