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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.

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?

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.

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

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

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

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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Happy Friday, Hudson Valley! What's on your bucket list this weekend? We're thinking…⠀ ⠀ 1. A walk outside to practice our photo skills (we'd love to capture a #rainbowgram as magnificent as this one by @christinemcmichael!)⠀ 2. A visit to @boxerdonut for fresh-made donuts and coffee (link in bio)⠀ 3. A trip to @art_omi for sky-high sculptures (P.S. The Ghent sculpture park is open for limited visits with restricted parking! Link in bio for more info)⠀ ⠀ Reposting @christinemcmichael:⠀ ⠀ 🌈🌦✌🏻❤️⠀ #blackdirt⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #orangecounty #ny #hudsonvalley #rainbow #storm #summer #country #life #love #lawofattraction #landscape #farm #beautiful #hudsonvalleyny #hvlocal #livelocal #upstateny #blackdirtregion #hudsonvalleyfarm #hudsonvalleyfarms #hudsonvalleyfarmer #lovewhereyoulive

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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

18 – Rensselaer County

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

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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BRB, camping out in front of @eatculturecream's rainbow ice cream stand @backbar_hudson. The shop is a must for fermented, probiotic-backed ice cream!⠀ ⠀ Want to learn more about the too-cool company? Check out the link in our bio!⠀ ⠀ Reposting @eatculturecream:⠀ ⠀ Day 1: Rainy, but my friends do it with style @peekkeep. Had to rewrite the chalk signs three times, my scooping arm is out of shape, but laughs were heard down Warren St. See you today for day 2 🌈 ❤️ 🍦 thanks for camera 📸 @annngeliicaa (pic 1) and @peekkeep (pic 2/3)⠀ ⠀ #holisticnutrition #commitedtowellness #probiotics #integrativenutrition #healthandwellness #healthlovepurpose #foodasmedicine #plantbased #healthylifestyle #natureheals #culturecream #icecream #kombucha #liveicecream #kefir #kefirmilk #guthealth #fermentedfood #fermentation #summerstreets #ferment #catskills #smallbusiness #eeeeeats #hudsonvalley #lifeandthyme #hudson #kojicreatescommunity #hvmag #hudsonvalleyny

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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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Looking good, @stewarthouseny! Who's dined waterside at the Athens hotel & restaurant before?⠀ ⠀ Reposting @stewarthouseny:⠀ ⠀ We’d like to take a moment to thank those of you who have come out to support the SH since we reopened our doors a couple weeks ago. These have been challenging, uncertain and even scary times for everyone. It has always been our “shtick” to make your surroundings and experience as beautiful and comfortable as possible. This has proven to be frustrating and difficult with the ever changing DOH regulations. Safety is our priority now but you can still come sit under the willows by the River, watch the boats go by, eat Bob’s delicious bbq and drink craft beer and cocktails. Not too shabby. Happy 4th and beyond, love Team Stewie. ⠀ ⠀ 📷@del_higgins⠀ ⠀ #hudsonvalley #hudsonvalleyny #hvlocal #livelocal #athensny #stewarthouse #rivergrill #upstateny #nature #naturegram #livelocal #hudsonvalleylocal #hvlocal #hudsonriver #outdoordining

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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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