WINCHESTER — A recently published study by a national wealth-management company lists Winchester as the 10th most affordable place to live in the United States.

According to The Ascent, a financial services firm affiliated with the national Motley Fool investment advisory group of Alexandria, the average median household income in Winchester is $76,583 per year, while average annual per-household expenses are $61,082. That translates to an average income-to-expense ratio of 1.254 per year.

“The higher this ratio, the lower expenses are relative to income and the more money a resident with average income and expenses would be left with after covering the basics,” financial and legal writer Christy Bieber of The Ascent wrote in a survey overview published on Jan. 19.

In other words, an average household in Winchester would have a surplus of $15,501 each year after paying bills and standard living expenses like groceries and gas.

Of course, not every home in Winchester brings in annual earnings of $76,583. That is a median number that sits between the higher-end salaries paid to skilled specialists at facilities such as Valley Health and the lower-end and part-time incomes earned by residents employed by the city’s retail, dining and lodging facilities.

“Winchester’s median income is 11.5% above the national median, and its cost of living is 3.1% below the national average,” Bieber wrote. “Add an unemployment rate [of 3.5%] that’s rather low for this area of the country and a small population [of 27,800 residents] and Winchester becomes a very attractive city to live in for people seeking a less metropolitan feel.”

A major perk of Winchester’s geographic location is its close proximity to the metropolitan Washington area, allowing residents to live in a smaller community while still having easy access to major airports, entertainment and cultural venues, high-end shopping and more.

Those who would prefer to live in the midst of a large, bustling city could simply move an hour or so to the east, but they’ll have to pay more for the privilege. According to the national Council for Community and Economic Research, nearby Arlington and Washington, D.C., were among the 10 most expensive cities to live in the United States during the fourth quarter of 2020.

The council based its findings on each city’s cost-of-living index — 159.5 for Washington, 150.0 for Arlington. Since the nationwide cost-of-living index average is 100.0, that made Washington the fifth most-expensive city in the country and Arlington the ninth most-expensive.

According to The Ascent, Winchester’s cost-of-living index is 96.9, more than 3 points lower than the national average.

“The index measures the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services,” Bieber wrote. “We combined this information with expenditure data from the [United States] Bureau of Labor Statistics and income figures from the U.S. Census Bureau for over 200 cities to create this ranking.”

To learn more about The Ascent’s findings, visit

— Contact Brian Brehm at

(4) comments


Winchester is a great town!! I saw that Reston, VA was named a top place to live in the nation. I think Winchester is better than Reston. Everyone is friendly--so many communities divided politically but I don't see it here. Folks get along. We have a walkable town, gorgeous public spaces like the library, JHHS and the downtown mall. Our apple orchards are fabulous and we are in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Can't complain about the weather or the traffic either. Compared to Gilbert, AZ where our family lived for many years, Winchester is tops!!

Steve Cunningham

Too bad you have to drive at least 50 miles away from Winchester to make that median $76,000+ income


You're right. Normal people do not make that much. You have to have a title or be a doctor or lawyer to make $76,000 or more.


76k is the HOUSEHOLD income. Did you read the article?

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