These Are The 10 Absolute Best Places To Live In Kentucky


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

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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:

  1. Villa Hills
  2. Edgewood
  3. Cold Spring
  4. Union
  5. Alexandria
  6. Fort Wright
  7. Francisville
  8. Jeffersontown
  9. Independence
  10. 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.

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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.

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1. Villa Hills

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,417
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.

2. Edgewood

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,651
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

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,864
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.

4. Union

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,357
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.

5. Alexandria

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,494
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

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,698
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.

7. Francisville

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,742
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.

8. Jeffersontown

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 26,694
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.

9. Independence

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,586
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

Best Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,512
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
Worst: Monticello

Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green all trend middle of the road.

Detailed List Of Best Places To Live In Kentucky

City Rank Population Crime Index Cost Of Living Index
villa hills 1 7,417 24 102
edgewood 2 8,651 51 101
cold spring 3 5,864 80 94
union 4 5,357 29 107
alexandria 5 8,494 56 97
fort wright 6 5,698 127 97
francisville 7 8,742 39 99
jeffersontown 8 26,694 81 91
independence 9 24,586 51 93
douglass hills 10 5,512 78 103
fort mitchell 11 8,198 61 104
middletown 12 7,164 84 96
oakbrook 13 8,812 43 96
lexington-fayette 14 296,766 116 95
fort thomas 15 16,207 49 96
hebron 16 5,896 69 94
shelbyville 17 14,081 95 91
taylor mill 18 6,647 45 89
burlington 19 16,298 83 93
buckner 20 5,558 29 120
st. matthews 21 17,529 92 95
erlanger 22 18,084 90 86
lyndon 23 10,992 137 90
florence 24 30,201 112 89
highland heights 25 6,888 91 83
frankfort 26 26,745 101 88
bellevue 27 5,959 98 83
berea 28 13,651 83 88
owensboro 29 57,361 100 84
la grange 30 8,067 73 102
georgetown 31 29,016 122 94
elsmere 32 8,430 73 83
ashland 33 21,611 128 82
louisville 34 741,285 109 91
nicholasville 35 27,865 100 92
fort knox 36 10,919 161 89
versailles 37 8,678 134 91
mount washington 38 9,181 54 92
newport 39 15,398 138 81
lawrenceburg 40 10,711 54 87
bowling green 41 58,632 109 89
elizabethtown 42 28,254 98 89
danville 43 16,212 104 89
radcliff 44 22,064 120 85
paris 45 9,298 92 87
richmond 46 31,508 122 89
hillview 47 8,839 80 86
shively 48 15,282 119 79
dayton 49 5,364 78 78
madisonville 50 19,745 103 82
shepherdsville 51 11,209 88 85
covington 52 40,776 135 80
princeton 53 6,331 98 77
morehead 54 6,898 86 88
winchester 55 18,314 121 88
henderson 56 28,728 82 82
hazard 57 5,117 122 85
bardstown 58 12,291 89 81
central city 59 5,955 59 80
franklin 60 8,431 101 83
murray 61 17,706 93 87
maysville 62 9,018 111 84
flatwoods 63 7,465 54 80
harrodsburg 64 8,323 74 81
pikeville 65 6,864 112 94
lebanon 66 5,571 82 83
paducah 67 25,081 115 81
hopkinsville 68 31,798 110 86
williamsburg 69 5,258 86 79
russellville 70 6,979 106 79
cynthiana 71 6,406 109 83
glasgow 72 14,026 77 82
mount sterling 73 6,915 128 88
oak grove 74 7,427 95 85
london 75 6,797 106 87
corbin 76 7,010 111 82
fort campbell north 77 13,761 178 68
somerset 78 11,254 116 83
middlesborough 79 10,235 122 79
leitchfield 80 6,721 80 80
campbellsville 81 10,138 95 81
mayfield 82 10,048 98 77
monticello 83 6,197 91 79

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