Where are the best places in the Kentucky? They are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places where people have the best jobs, and 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.
We looked at the 83 most populated cities in the Bluegrass State for this study. The cities at the top are places where things are going swimmingly right now, at least according to data, which measures the good things that people say they want in a city.
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 10 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.
Here are the 10 best places to live in Kentucky:
- Villa Hills
- Cold Spring
- Fort Wright
- Douglass Hills
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, ‘friendly people’ and community involvement), these are the best options in Kentucky for making a place home.
The worst city to live in Kentucky? Monticello. More on that later.
How do you decide if a place is amazeballs or not?
In order to rank Kentucky’s best cities, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, good weather, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers for Kentucky
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Strong schools
- Low unemployment rates
- High incomes
- High home prices
- Lots of sunny days a year
- Low crime
- Low cost of living
If you’d like to see the complete list of cities in Kentucky, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set.
Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. This list is based on data, and is entirely unbiased.
1. Villa Hills
Crime Index: 2nd lowest
Cost Of Living Index: 2% higher than average
When you look at it from a scientific perspective, Villa Hills is the best place you can live in Kentucky. Here’s why:
It’s really safe in this city along the Ohio River, right outside of Cincinnati. Plus, the cost of living makes it really affordable. Often, ‘great’ places to live are way outside most people’s budget. Not so in Villa Hills.
There are plenty of jobs nearby, as evident by the 5.5% unemployment rate, which is in the bottom 15% of the state. Folks also earn great salaries.
Cincinnati Magazine called Villa Hills one of the most liveable neighborhoods in the region for good reason.
Crime Index: 51
Cost Of Living Index: Right at the national average.
Edgewood isn’t too far away from Villa Hills. Crime is a little higher, but far, far below the state average. And it’s very affordable as well.
Plus, like Villa Hills, there’s plenty to do in the region, since you’re so close to downtown Cincinnati.
3. Cold Spring
Crime Index: Bottom 15% in KY
Cost Of Living Index: 6% below national average.
It’s beginning to look like the greater Cincinnati area is the best place to live in the state. Is that a surprise?
Here in Cold Spring, families earn about $62,000 a year, and the cost of living makes it cheaper than the average American city, meaning your money goes a long way here. Crime is in the lowest 15% in the state, and the schools rank in the top 10% in terms of student spending and teacher-student ratios.
Crime Index: 10th safest in KY
Cost Of Living Index: 7% above national average
Also in the greater Cincinnati area, Union has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Perhaps that’s because it’s a bit or a longer drive into Cincinnati. Union’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $100,000 a year.
The knock? Schools are much less funded than they are for the cities higher up on this list.
Crime Index: Bottom 10%
Cost Of Living Index: 3% below national average
Alexandria is a short drive from the general Cincy area as well. The city’s motto is, “Where the city meets country,” meaning, you have some more open spaces on this part of the metro area.
6. Fort Wright
Crime Index: Top 10%
Cost Of Living Index: 3% below national average
The only knock on Fort Wright is the far higher crime rate than normal. This small city may suffer from being too close to Cincinnati, so while you are within a short bike ride from the Ohio River, you have a much higher chance of being robbed.
That said, there are plenty of jobs in the area, families command large salaries, and the schools that Fort Wright kids attend are above average.
Crime Index: 5th safest in KY
Cost Of Living Index: Right at the national average
If you don’t mind living right next to a major airport, Francisville has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s the 5th safest place you can live. And it would be hard to find another city where people earn higher salaries than in Francisville.
Only 5% of the population is out of work. The only knock? The schools are in the bottom 15% for teacher-student ratios.
Crime Index: Bottom 30%
Cost Of Living Index: 9% below the state average
On the flip side, Jeffersontown is located next to Louisville, making it a great place to live for people who don’t want to live in the greater Cincinnati area.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the cost of living is significantly lower than the national average. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Crime Index: 12th lowest
Cost Of Living Index: 7% below the national average
Independence is a large, sprawling city on the southern fringes of the greater Cincinnati metro area. Being so far away from the big city means the crime and cost of living are substantially lower than in most parts of the state.
Families here earn an average of $66,000 a year, which is one of the highest in Kentucky.
There’s a reason Independence is one of the fastest growing cities in the Commonwealth.
10. Douglass Hills
Crime Index: Bottom 30%
Cost Of Living Index: 3% above national average.
Douglass Hills is a cute little city just outside of Louisville where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.
There You Have It
Looking at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Villa Hills is the most desirable, according to science and data. But as most Kentucky residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.
Other notable cities:
3rd Worst: Campbellsville
2nd Worst: Mayfield
Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green all trend middle of the road.
Detailed List Of Best Places To Live In Kentucky
|fort campbell north||77|