These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Kentucky


We analyzed over 73 places in Kentucky to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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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 Kentucky.

But where exactly in Kentucky? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Kentucky 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 Elsmere don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Bluegrass State to retire:

  1. Elsmere
  2. Highland Heights
  3. Flatwoods (Photos)
  4. Bellevue (Photos)
  5. Dayton (Photos)
  6. Covington (Photos)
  7. Erlanger
  8. Fort Thomas (Photos)
  9. Villa Hills
  10. Newport (Photos)

Why did Elsmere take the top spot? And where are Bowling Green and Owensboro?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Kentucky.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Bluegrass State

To create our list of the best places in Kentucky to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Bluegrass State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 73 places from across the state.

For these 73, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 73, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Elsmere, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Elsmere


Population: 8,488
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,273
Elsmere ranked 1st overall thanks to it’s 24th place rank for cost of living and it’s 23rd place safety rank.

2. Highland Heights

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,136
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,051
Highland Heights ranked 2nd overall thanks to it’s 24th place rank for cost of living and it’s 8th place safety rank.

3. Flatwoods

Flatwoods, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,358
Cost Of Living: 80
Distance to Closest Airport: 89 miles
Crime Per 100k: 502
Flatwoods ranked 3rd overall thanks to it’s 9th place rank for cost of living and it’s 1st place safety rank.

4. Bellevue

Bellevue, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,879
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,401
Bellevue ranked 4th overall thanks to it’s 24th place rank for cost of living and it’s 41st place safety rank.

5. Dayton

Dayton, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,385
Cost Of Living: 78
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,753
Dayton ranked 5th overall thanks to it’s 3rd place rank for cost of living and it’s 62nd place safety rank.

6. Covington

Covington, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 40,766
Cost Of Living: 80
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,628
Covington ranked 6th overall thanks to it’s 9th place rank for cost of living and it’s 61st place safety rank.

7. Erlanger


Population: 18,565
Cost Of Living: 86
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,930
Erlanger ranked 7th overall thanks to it’s 35th place rank for cost of living and it’s 32nd place safety rank.

8. Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 16,317
Cost Of Living: 96
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 753
Fort Thomas ranked 8th overall thanks to it’s 67th place rank for cost of living and it’s 2nd place safety rank.

9. Villa Hills


Population: 7,404
Cost Of Living: 102
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 796
Villa Hills ranked 9th overall thanks to it’s 71st place rank for cost of living and it’s 3rd place safety rank.

10. Newport

Newport, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,321
Cost Of Living: 81
Distance to Closest Airport: 9 miles
Crime Per 100k: 6,637
Newport ranked 10th overall thanks to it’s 13th place rank for cost of living and it’s 72nd place safety rank.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Kentucky goes to Elsmere.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Pikeville
  • Hazard
  • Somerset

For more Kentucky reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Kentucky

City Rank Population Cost Of Living Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Elsmere 1 8,488 83 5 2,273
Highland Heights 2 7,136 83 11 1,051
Flatwoods 3 7,358 80 89 502
Bellevue 4 5,879 83 10 3,401
Dayton 5 5,385 78 11 4,753
Covington 6 40,766 80 8 4,628
Erlanger 7 18,565 86 3 2,930
Fort Thomas 8 16,317 96 11 753
Villa Hills 9 7,404 102 3 796
Newport 10 15,321 81 9 6,637
Fort Mitchell 11 8,245 104 5 1,552
Lawrenceburg 12 11,081 87 71 821
Hillview 13 8,688 86 88 1,899
Wilmore 14 6,181 91 81 1,116
Edgewood 15 8,703 101 6 1,700
Shively 16 15,625 79 85 4,467
Independence 17 26,317 93 9 820
Mayfield 18 10,078 77 89 2,956
Taylor Mill 19 6,719 89 9 1,012
Jeffersontown 20 27,395 91 75 2,453
Florence 21 31,735 89 4 4,858
Cynthiana 22 6,376 83 50 3,811
Paris 23 9,836 87 62 2,612
Russellville 24 6,998 79 50 3,115
Shelbyville 25 15,039 91 65 2,028
Williamsburg 26 5,263 79 145 1,463
Bardstown 27 13,026 81 95 2,863
Madisonville 28 19,615 82 95 2,100
Campbellsville 29 11,329 81 111 3,583
Harrodsburg 30 8,409 81 88 3,365
Mount Washington 31 14,088 92 84 858
Monticello 32 6,116 79 112 2,223
Fort Wright 33 5,732 97 7 3,244
Cold Spring 34 6,168 94 12 2,545
Radcliff 35 22,806 85 109 2,573
Alexandria 36 8,878 97 16 2,117
Princeton 37 6,215 77 95 2,864
Georgetown 38 31,708 94 57 3,147
Glasgow 39 14,338 82 73 3,333
Henderson 40 28,870 82 112 3,623
Frankfort 41 27,598 88 59 4,043
Franklin 42 8,706 83 41 3,675
Lebanon 43 5,604 83 107 2,016
Shepherdsville 44 11,869 85 92 2,856
La Grange 45 8,481 102 58 1,580
Winchester 46 18,395 88 76 4,767
Ashland 47 21,294 82 94 5,283
Owensboro 48 58,685 84 115 4,045
St. Matthews 49 17,930 95 76 4,021
Murray 50 18,726 87 97 3,102
Hopkinsville 51 32,442 86 66 3,461
Vine Grove 52 5,680 87 110 1,390
Elizabethtown 53 29,835 89 47 3,720
Nicholasville 54 29,249 92 80 3,839
Georgetown 55 31,708 94 86 3,147
Morehead 56 7,615 88 88 2,087
Maysville 57 8,883 84 54 3,973
Versailles 58 9,091 91 69 4,916
Oak Grove 59 7,487 85 56 4,006
Bowling Green 60 62,824 89 59 4,996
Paducah 61 25,010 81 105 5,749
Mount Sterling 62 7,136 88 78 5,128
Leitchfield 63 6,850 80 96 3,795
Berea 64 14,667 88 102 2,249
Danville 65 16,645 89 97 2,793
Corbin 66 7,306 82 149 3,572
Richmond 67 33,583 89 93 4,064
Elizabethtown 68 29,835 89 113 3,720
Elizabethtown 69 29,835 89 128 3,720
London 70 8,111 87 136 3,513
Somerset 71 11,415 83 132 5,965
Hazard 72 5,383 85 146 6,390
Pikeville 73 7,266 94 158 8,023

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