10 Best Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020

These are the cream of the crop when it comes to the Bluegrass State.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Kentucky.

Where are the best places in the Kentucky? They are the places that have awesome economies. They're also the places where people have the best jobs, where residents are happily married, and where the sun shines the most.

And certainly, since crime is really low, everyone wants to be there. It's literally all sunshine and rainbows in this flyover state.

And these places offer the most rainbow and sunshine when it comes to living in Kentucky - we would say they are the best places to live in Kentucky.

How you might ask? We looked at the 75 most populated cities in the Bluegrass State for this study to see which ones have the best quality of life, low crime, and booming economies.

The cities at the top are places where things are going swimmingly right now, at least according to data.

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it's hard to argue against. We had more than ten million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.

So, we know what we're talking about.

What city is the best place to live in Kentucky for 2020? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Fort Thomas is the best place to live in Kentucky if you care about a good education, low crime, and a high quality of life.

Looking more at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Fort Thomas is the most desirable, according to science and data.

But as most Kentucky residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020

Fort Thomas, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 16,313
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $226,300 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (13th best)
More on Fort Thomas: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

If you're looking to live in Kentucky, there's no better time than the present and there's no better place than the state's best place to live, Fort Thomas. In a nutshell, this is because there are a bunch of hard-working Kentuckians in Fort Thomas. The unemployment rate here is the lowest in the state at 3.2%. Needless to say, we were not surprised to find that this city is one of the richest cities in the state as well.

Located along the Ohio River along the Ohio River just over the bridge from Cincinnati, Fort Thomas is a city of rich history that will accommodate every stage of life--great schools and safe parks for kids, multiple distilleries and breweries for parents after the kids are put to bed.

If you're a young professional, a href="https://www.newportonthelevee.com/">Newport on the Levee in downtown Fort Thomas has cool co-working spaces and electric night-life, and if you're ready to retire, the cost of living here will allow you to stretch your retirement budget much further.

Edgewood, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,723
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $222,300 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (5th best)
More on Edgewood: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

What's new and exciting in Edgewood? Funny you should ask: this city has the 6th best home price and the 5th best unemployment rate making it the 2nd best place to live in The Bluegrass State.

But, don't get it confused--you will need to make at least $99,183/year to afford the median home price of $222,300 and the overall higher cost of living in this small town of 8,723 residents.

And if you don't have a job yet, don't fret: you'll be amongst people who know the value of work and it shows with the city's 2.6% unemployment rate and a poverty rate well below the national average at 4.6%. They really do look out for each other in this little corner of Kenton County. The crime rate here is over 70% below the national average making it one of the safest cities in Kentucky. Simply put, folks, there were only 67 crimes committed at the time of this report, and 90% of them were property related.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,410
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $220,500 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (28th best)
More on Villa Hills: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Villa Hills: some call it The South's Wonderland, we call it Kentucky's 3rd best place to live for 2020.

Villa Hills is the second Ohio River city to grace our list and it just so happens that it has the second highest SnackAbility score as well. Yes, Villa Hills scored a 9.5/10 for high marks in overall cost of living, safety, and education. You know what's even better than that--if you make the city's household median income of $89,393/year, you can score a sweet real estate deal considering Villa Hills has the 7th at $220,500.

A competitive median income to complement the city's cost of living only means that you'll have the extra cash to take your kids out to celebrate the report cards they get from some of the best schools in the state.

You'll also have the funds to enjoy the fun things that people who have life figured out in Villa Hills like to do: for example, biking around Embshoff Woods or spending an entire day getting your hat "Pinterest ready" for the annual Kentucky Derby.

Fort Mitchell, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,237
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $258,500 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.4% (1st best)
More on Fort Mitchell: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Hey y'all, raise a cheer for the 4th best place to live in Kentucky, Fort Mitchell.

The second "Fort" to make our list, Fort Mitchell should be re-named Fort Knox 2.0 as it's super safe--one of the safest places in the state. To put this in perspective, the crime rate here is close to 70% below the national average.

But if you know anything about this Northern Kentucky Goldenrod, it's the good 'ol fashioned southern hospitality of the 8,237 residents that live in this small town that draws people to this place, and it's the town's overall cost of living that makes them stay. And while it might be slightly higher than the state and national average, the excess has funded great schools and great communities. So, while you might have to pay the 2nd highest home median price in the state ($258,500), know that you are funding the city's future.

Wilmore, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,299
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $158,900 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.4% (4th best)
More on Wilmore: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

If you are looking for "more," you will definitely find "more" in Kentucky's 5th best place to live, Wil-More.

Yep, the "Kindest town in Kentucky the United States" has it goin' on! It scored one of the top five highest SnackAbility scores on our list with an emphasis on safety, education, amenities, and commute times. Not to mention, Wilmore's low cost of living has made it one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and Kentucky's youngsters are starting to take notice. Wilmore has the youngest population at 26 and we're wondering why this city of 6,299 residents in Jessamine County is not one of the best places for singles in the state?

But, sometimes "less" is "more," especially when it comes to crime. And, folks, Wilmore is safe. We're not saying leave your front doors unlocked, but if you choose to buy your forever home here, just know that the town's crime rate crime rate is one of the lowest in the state. In fact, there were only 60 crimes committed here last year and most of them were property related.

Fort Wright, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,724
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $195,800 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (2nd best)
More on Fort Wright: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

There are currently 5,724 Kentucky residents that are living their best life where Route 1072 meets Route 17 in the 6th best place to live in the Bluegrass State, Fort Wright.

How and why are things easy peasy in Fort Wright? Well, for one they have the 2nd in the state at 1.9%. The SnackAbility indicators that stood out in this small town in Kenton County at the time of our report were affordability, safety, and education. But, you will need to make at least $74,798/year to pay the $195,800 price tag for a home.

However, when we brokedown Fort Wright's cost of living, we found that you will pay much less for your utilities compared to the state average--so, you can rest easy every time you take that 20 minute shower. We also discovered that you will feel comfortable and confident in your surroundings as the cost of living in Fort Wright is well below the state and national average--there were only 74 crimes reported here.

Cold Spring, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,319
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $195,600 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (7th best)
More on Cold Spring: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Get ready to roll out the red carpet Cold Spring--you are Kentucky's 7th best place to live.

Cold Spring takes the old phrase "stick with what you know--stick with what you're good at" and upped the ante. Basically, if you want to play in the big leagues, you're going to have to have the SnackAbility scores like Cold Spring.

Cold Springs may have dropped a rank on our list, but they are first in the hearts of its 6,319 residents for many reasons. And those reasons are the following: the city's unemployment rate is the 7th best in the state at 2.9%. The cost of living in Cold Spring is also super affordable. (You'll be happy to know that groceries and utilities are less expensive in Cold Spring than the state and national average combined.)

However, if you choose to buy a home here instead of renting first, get ready to pay the 10th highest home price in the state at $195,600. But, the best thing about Cold Spring is that it is super safe. In fact, the crime rate here is quite a bit lower than the state and national average.

Bellevue, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,828
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $130,900 (35th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (17th best)
More on Bellevue: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Welcome to the big dance, Bellevue. We knew it wouldn't be long before you joined the ranks of the rest of Kentucky's best places to live. Up ten spots from last year, Bellevue has recently racked up accolades for being the 8th best place to live in Kentucky as well as one of the most affordable in terms of cost of living.

You can get a home in Bellevue for $130,900 making it one of the cheapest places to live in Kentucky. However, the residents here are some of the highest earning Kentuckians in the state with the household median income at $58,750/year. So, we were not at all surprised to find that Bellevue is one of the richest places in the state as well.

The third leg to this Triple Crown is Bellevue's low crime rate. In fact, when we pulled Bellevue's numbers, there were only 84 crimes recorded and most of them were property related.

Jeffersontown, KY

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 28,178
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $176,000 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (18th best)
More on Jeffersontown: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Is Jeffersontown Kentucky's the best place to live in the country? We can't answer that here, but what we can tell you is that it is the 9th best place to live in the Bluegrass State for 2020. More importantly, we can't deny that Jeffersontown has earned this spot with its low cost of living, low crime rate, and large amounts of fun "Jeffersontown" stuff to do.

In fact, Jeffersontown scored a 9/10 for amenities on our SnackAbility scale and this is why: you can spend your day kayaking Floyd's Park, biking Skyview Park, or your evenings enjoying Jeffersontown's nightlife. For the more adventurous type, with 25 minutes to spare, you can hop on over to Louisville to explore their nightlife options as it's a pretty happening city as well.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,702
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $244,700 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (12th best)
More on Douglass Hills: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Widen your horizons and give Kentucky's 10th best place to live, Douglass Hills, a chance--you'll be happy that you did. Not only do home prices clock in at $244,700 making Douglass Hills the 3rd best place in terms of home price to income level ($64,882) and overall cost of living, it has the 12th lowest unemployment rate at 3.2%. The city's low poverty rate also proves that whatever Douglass Hills is doing is working. (It also doesn't hurt Douglass Hills' cause that they have some of the smartest residents in the state--if you don't have your Bachelor's or Master's Degree, consider yourself behind the game.)

And when you're not putting your nose to the grindstone in this southern gem, there are a lot of ways to blow off some steam. You can choose to play in Douglass Hills' backyard for the day at Warren Walker Park or Running Creek Park or you can take advantage of Douglass Hills' proximity to everything the Bluegrass State has to offer: exciting day trips that showcase that good, clean Kentucky bluegrass livin' are mere 22 minutes away in Louisville.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Kentucky

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Frankfort with a population of 27,582 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 75 cities, 156 towns, and 250 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Kentucky have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Kentucky

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Kentucky across a number of criteria from one to 75, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Kentucky".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Kentucky? That would be Fort Thomas.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Kentucky.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Fort Thomas at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Kentucky

If you're looking at areas in Kentucky with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Fort Thomas made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Kentucky for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Kentucky

  1. Indian Hills (Pop. 2,953)
  2. Audubon Park (Pop. 1,449)
  3. Windy Hills (Pop. 2,203)
  4. Hurstbourne (Pop. 4,343)
  5. Beechwood Village (Pop. 1,368)
  6. St. Regis Park (Pop. 1,453)
  7. Orchard Grass Hills (Pop. 1,787)
  8. Barbourmeade (Pop. 1,391)
  9. Crestview Hills (Pop. 3,327)
  10. Lakeside Park (Pop. 2,762)

Best Small Towns To Live In Kentucky

  1. Thornhill (Pop. 281)
  2. Norbourne Estates (Pop. 374)
  3. Maryhill Estates (Pop. 184)
  4. Strathmoor Manor (Pop. 374)
  5. Crossgate (Pop. 278)
  6. Glenview Hills (Pop. 450)
  7. Mockingbird Valley (Pop. 134)
  8. Bellewood (Pop. 300)
  9. Rolling Fields (Pop. 801)
  10. Riverwood (Pop. 525)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Kentucky according to the data:

  1. Russellville (Pop. 7,008)
  2. Lebanon (Pop. 5,621)
  3. Mayfield (Pop. 9,940)

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Kentucky?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Fort Thomas 16,313 3.2% $226,300
2 Edgewood 8,723 2.6% $222,300
3 Villa Hills 7,410 4.7% $220,500
4 Fort Mitchell 8,237 0.4% $258,500
5 Wilmore 6,299 2.4% $158,900
6 Fort Wright 5,724 1.9% $195,800
7 Cold Spring 6,319 2.9% $195,600
8 Bellevue 5,828 3.6% $130,900
9 Jeffersontown 28,178 3.6% $176,000
10 Douglass Hills 5,702 3.2% $244,700

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

3 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020

  1. Thanks for the article as we are looking to get out of Illinois and still be close to our grandchildren that still live in Illinois. Would like to find a town in northwest Kentucky, any suggestions. We are retired military so a base near us would be a great help.

  2. No bias on these list nearly everything good in in the Golden Triangle and everything bad is outside of it … if you are not in Louisville, Lexington or Covington/Newport you’d might as well been living in the third world country according to these putz’s..

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