When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Kansas.
But where exactly in Kansas? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Kansas that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Lansing don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Sunflower State to retire for 2018:
- Lansing (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Leavenworth (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Atchison (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Great Bend (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Parsons (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Overland Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Leawood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Shawnee (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ottawa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- El Dorado (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Sunflower State
To create our list of the best places in Kansas to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Sunflower State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 23 places from across the state.
For these 23, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 23, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Lansing, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
Population: 11,706Median Rent: $980
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,247
More on Lansing: Homes For Sale | Data
Lansing is named for James Lansing, a pioneer settler. Formerly William Lansing Taylor, James changed his name upon his enlistment in 1862 as a hospital steward in the 7th Kansas Cavalry. Following the Civil War, he earned a position at the new state penitentiary in Kansas as a hospital steward. He later resigned and opened a general mercantile store, which held the post office and an apothecary business, in the area called ?Town of Progress?. ?Doc Lansing?, as he became known, and his friend John C. Schmidt became co-owners of 90 acres (360,000 m2) of land that was platted into town lots in 1878; they named the area ?Town of Lansing?. Lansing did not become an incorporated city until 1959.
Population: 35,948Median Rent: $906
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 650
More on Leavenworth: Homes For Sale | Data
Leavenworth, founded in 1854, was the first city incorporated in the territory of Kansas. The city developed south of Fort Leavenworth, which was established as Cantonment Leavenworth in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth. Its location on the Missouri River made it a destination for refugee African-American slaves seeking freedom from the slave state of Missouri in the antebellum years. Abolition supporters helped them find refuge. In the years before the American Civil War, Leavenworth was a hotbed of anti-slavery and pro-slavery agitation, often leading to open physical confrontations on the street and in public meetings.
Population: 10,798Median Rent: $576
Distance to Closest Airport: 29 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,880
More on Atchison: Homes For Sale | Data
Atchison was founded in 1854 and named in honor of Senator David Rice Atchison, who, when Kansas was opened for settlement, interested some of his friends in the scheme of forming a city in the new territory. Senator Atchison was interested in ensuring that the population of the new Kansas Territory would be majority pro-slavery, as he had been a prominent promoter of both slavery and the idea of popular sovereignty over the issue in the new lands. However, it seems that all were not agreed upon the location he had selected, and on July 20, 1854, Dr. John H. Stringfellow, Ira Norris, Leonidas Oldham, James B. Martin and Neal Owens left Platte City, Missouri, to decide definitely upon a site. They found a site that was the natural outlet of a remarkably rich agricultural region just open to settlement. George M. Million and Samuel Dickson had staked claims near the river; Dr. Stringfellow staked a tract north of Million’s. Million sold his claim for $1,000?an exorbitant price. Eighteen persons were present when the town company was formally organized by electing Peter T. Abell, president; James Burns, treasurer; and Dr. Stringfellow, secretary. The site was divided into 100 shares by the company, of which each member retained five shares, the remainder being reserved for common benefit of all. By September 20, 1854, Henry Kuhn had surveyed the 480 acres (1.9 km²) and made a plat, and the next day was fixed for the sale of lots, an event of great importance as it had become understood that Senator Atchison would make a speech upon the political question of the day, hence the sale would be of political as well as business significance. At his meeting on the 21st, two public institutions of vital interest to a new community were planned for?a hotel and a newspaper. Each share of stock in the town company was assessed $25, the proceeds to be used to build the National Hotel, which was completed in the spring of 1855, and $400 was donated to Dr. Stringfellow and Robert S. Kelley to erect a printing office.
4. Great Bend
Population: 15,741Median Rent: $613
Distance to Closest Airport: 218 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,199
More on Great Bend: Homes For Sale | Data
Prior to American settlement of the area, the site of Great Bend was located in the northern reaches of Kiowa territory. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it lay within the area organized by the U.S. as Kansas Territory in 1854. Kansas became a state in 1861, and the state government delineated the surrounding area as Barton County in 1867.
Population: 10,111Median Rent: $572
Distance to Closest Airport: 85 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,360
More on Parsons: Homes For Sale | Data
Parsons was named after Levi Parsons, president of the Missouri?Kansas?Texas Railroad. The town was founded in 1870 and incorporated the following year. It soon became a major hub for several railroads including the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad, Parsons & Pacific Railroad, Kansas City & Pacific Railroad, and the Memphis, Kansas & Colorado Railroad. During World War II it was home to the Kansas Ordnance Plant, which later operated for some years as the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. In Spring of 2005, the munitions plant was placed on the BRAC list for closure. The community has rallied behind the current plant operator, Day and Zimmerman, to keep the company on the grounds after closure and to keep those jobs and more in the Parsons area. (See link to ‘Great Plains Industrial Park’ in ‘External Links’, below) Parsons is also home to the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center, which has been in operation since 1903 when it was opened as the Kansas State Hospital for Epileptics.
6. Overland Park
Population: 183,775Median Rent: $1,040
Distance to Closest Airport: 28 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,729
More on Overland Park: Homes For Sale | Data
The city traces its roots to 1905, with the arrival of its founder, William B. Strang Jr., who plotted subdivisions along a military roadway on 600 acres (240 ha) he purchased that are now part of the old downtown area. One of those subdivisions was named Overland Park, and was the site for the first airplane flight west of the Mississippi with shows by the Wright brothers, sponsored by Strang, on December 24, 1909.
The city was incorporated as a ‘first class city’ on May 20, 1960. Its initial population was 28,085 and was bounded by Antioch Road (west), 107th Street (south), Chadwick (east) and I-35 (north) with 13 square miles (33.7 km2) incorporated. By 1990 the population was 111,790 and in 1995 the incorporated land area was 56.6 square miles (146.6 km2). Since 1995, the population has grown to 173,250 in 2008 with 75.33 square miles (195.10 km2) of land area. Overland Park is now the second most populous city in Kansas. (Wichita is the largest.)
Population: 33,763Median Rent: $1,235
Distance to Closest Airport: 27 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,261
More on Leawood: Homes For Sale | Data
Leawood was named for Oscar G. Lee, an original owner of the town site.
Population: 64,444Median Rent: $882
Distance to Closest Airport: 19 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,029
More on Shawnee: Homes For Sale | Data
A Shawnee Indian mission had been established at the present site of Shawnee in 1831. Shawnee was laid out as a town in 1857.
Population: 12,433Median Rent: $754
Distance to Closest Airport: 56 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,120
More on Ottawa: Homes For Sale | Data
The name derives from the Ottawa tribe of Indians, on whose reservation the city was laid out. In the spring of 1864, title to the land was obtained from the tribe through treaty connected to the founding of Ottawa University, the Ottawa having donated 20,000 acres of land to establish and fund a school for the education of Indians and non-Indians alike. The word Ottawa itself means ?to trade?. In 1867, the Ottawa tribe sold their remaining land in Kansas and moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
10. El Dorado
Population: 13,102Median Rent: $677
Distance to Closest Airport: 124 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,816
More on El Dorado: Homes For Sale | Data
El Dorado was laid out and platted in 1868. The name is of Spanish origin meaning ‘golden land’. El Dorado was incorporated in 1870.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Kansas goes to Lansing.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
For more Kansas reading , check out:
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Kansas
- 10 Most Dangerous Places In Kansas
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Kansas
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Kansas