THE 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

10
/10

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 | Data | Photos

Fort Thomas ranks 1st on our list of best places to live in Kentucky thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Kentucky that we examined.

People have been flocking to Fort Thomas over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Edgewood, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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 | Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

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 | Data

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 4.7% 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 livable neighborhoods in the region for good reason.

Fort Mitchell, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

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 | Data | Photos

Fort Mitchell has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Fort Mitchell had the 10th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $66,754.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

Wilmore, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

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 | Data | Photos

It's obvious why Wilmore ranks 5th in the state for best places to live: they have the 4th lowest unemployment rate and the 23rd highest home values.

Plus, they're known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Wilmore a great place to live.

Fort Wright, KY

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

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 | Data | Photos

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.

Cold Spring, KY

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

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 | Data

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$64,479 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 26th lowest in the state, and the schools rank in the top 10% in terms of student spending and teacher-student ratios.

Bellevue, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

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 | Data | Photos

Bellevue has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Kentucky. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Bellevue is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Bellevue residents to work is significantly higher than average.

Jeffersontown, KY

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

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 | Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

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 | Data

Douglass Hills is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it's affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $244,700 and households earn a median salary of $64,882. One could get used to that.

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 “THE 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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