Best Places To Retire In Kentucky For 2020


We analyzed over 35 places in Kentucky to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to retire in Kentucky.

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So you've deposited your last paycheck and you're looking for a place to retire in the Bluegrass State. We at Homesnacks are here to help by telling you the absolute best places in Kentucky for retirement.

Why would anyone want to retire in Kentucky? We're glad you asked! From a practical standpoint, rent in Kentucky is 30% less than national average and it's among the safest states in America. On the fun side...now that every day is essentially the weekend, you'll be able to sample all of Kentucky's world-famous bourbon distilleries any day of the week. If you like bluegrass music, then Kentucky's going to be heaven for you. And if you're looking for a bit of income in your retirement, you'd better start following all the horses that race at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We just hope you're not too committed to another college basketball team, because folks in Kentucky are pretty serious about supporting the Wildcats. We're sure the locals will have you wearing white and blue in no time.

So where are the best places to retire in Kentucky? There are options in every corner of the state, from the Cincinnati suburb of Fort Thomas in the north to Mayfield in the far southwest. There aren't too many cities on this list that are super close to Louisville, with Lawrenceburg being the only place within an hour of the state's biggest city. There are great cities for retirement around Bowling Green, with Glasgow being the best of the bunch.

Get ready to wash back your Kentucky fried chicken with some moonshine, without having to worry about work in the morning, because we're heading to the best places in Kentucky to retire.

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

These Kentucky cities are the cream of the crop for retirees. If you're worried Kentucky is too far from your family, be sure to show them that half the cities on this list are also among the best places to raise a family in the state.

Now to the nitty-gritty: what's the scientific process behind our choices? We only looked at the 33 cities in Kentucky with populations of at least 11,000 people in order to weed out some anomalies that pop up in the data with super small communities. Then we pulled data from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights in order to find the places with higher median age, good weather, low crime, low cost of living, and easy access to things that'll keep you entertained in your retirement. Which city performed the best based on these metrics? According to the data, Somerset is the best place to retire in Kentucky for 2020.

How'd the rest of Kentucky's 33 cities of 11,000 people or more do? Check out the full list below to find out.

For more Kentucky state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Kentucky For 2020

Somerset, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 11,376
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $641
Distance to Closest Airport: 132 miles
More on Somerset: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Somerset is a home rule-class city in Pulaski County, Kentucky, United States. The city population was 11,196 according to the 2010 census.

Ashland, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 20,822
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $633
Distance to Closest Airport: 94 miles
More on Ashland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ashland is a home rule-class city in Boyd County, Kentucky, in the United States. Ashland, the largest city in Boyd County, is located upon the southern bank of the Ohio River. The population was 21,684 at the 2010 census. Ashland is a part of the Huntington-Ashland metropolitan area; with a population of 363,000. Ashland is the second-largest city within the MSA, after Huntington, West Virginia. Ashland serves as an important economic and medical center for northeast Kentucky and is part of the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Kentucky.

Danville, KY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,685
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $692
Distance to Closest Airport: 97 miles
More on Danville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Danville is a home rule-class city in Boyle County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 16,690 at the 2015 Census. Danville is the principal city of the Danville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boyle and Lincoln counties.

Bardstown, KY

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 13,042
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 7)
Median Rent: $663
Distance to Closest Airport: 95 miles
More on Bardstown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bardstown is a home rule-class city in Nelson County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was recorded as 11,700 by the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Nelson County. It is named for the pioneering Bard brothers. David Bard obtained a 1,000 acres land grant in 1785 in what was then Jefferson County, Virginia from Governor Patrick Henry. William Bard surveyed and platted the town. It was originally chartered as Baird's Town.

Review Of Bardstown by HomeSnacks User

Crime was not bad but the schools were pretty sorry. I took AP Calculus in high school only to find out when I went to college that they covered the same material as Pre-calc in most other states.

It is a beautiful city with much to see if you like bourbon. Lots of neat tours of the distilleries available and even some free tasting sessions!

Paducah, KY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 24,879
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $651
Distance to Closest Airport: 105 miles
More on Paducah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Paducah is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of McCracken County, Kentucky, United States. The largest city in the Jackson Purchase region, it is located at the confluence of the Tennessee and the Ohio Rivers, halfway between St. Louis, Missouri, to the northwest and Nashville, Tennessee, to the southeast. The population was 24,864 in 2015, down from 25,024 during the 2010 U.S. Census. Twenty blocks of the city's downtown have been designated as a historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Glasgow, KY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 14,370
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $703
Distance to Closest Airport: 73 miles
More on Glasgow: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glasgow is a home rule-class city in Barren County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 14,028 at the 2010 U.S. census. The city is well known for its annual Scottish Highland Games. In 2007, Barren County was named the number one rural place to live by The Progressive Farmer magazine. Glasgow is the principal city of the Glasgow micropolitan area, which comprises Barren and Metcalfe counties.

Fort Thomas, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 16,313
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $882
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
More on Fort Thomas: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Thomas is a home rule-class city in Campbell County, Kentucky, United States, on the southern bank of the Ohio River and the site of an 1890 US Army post. The population was 16,325 at the 2010 census, making it the largest city in Campbell County and it is officially part of the Cincinnati - Northern Kentucky metropolitan area.

Lawrenceburg, KY

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,272
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $697
Distance to Closest Airport: 71 miles
More on Lawrenceburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lawrenceburg is a home rule-class city in Anderson County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 10,505 at the 2010 census. It is the seat of its county. Lawrenceburg is part of the Frankfort, Kentucky, micropolitan statistical area.

Shelbyville, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,660
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Median Rent: $779
Distance to Closest Airport: 65 miles
More on Shelbyville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Shelbyville is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Shelby County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 14,045 at the 2010 census.

Frankfort, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 27,582
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Rent: $727
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
More on Frankfort: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Frankfort is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the seat of Franklin County. It is a home rule-class city in Kentucky; the population was 25,527 at the 2010 census. Located along the Kentucky River, Frankfort is the principal city of the Frankfort, Kentucky Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Franklin and Anderson counties.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Bluegrass State for 2020

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 -- 520 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 11,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 33 places from across the state.

For these 33, 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 33, with the lowest number being the best.

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

Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In Kentucky Yet...

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

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

  1. Radcliff
  2. St. Matthews
  3. Berea

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Kentucky?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Somerset 11,376 $641
2 Ashland 20,822 $633
3 Danville 16,685 $692
4 Bardstown 13,042 $663
5 Paducah 24,879 $651
6 Glasgow 14,370 $703
7 Fort Thomas 16,313 $882
8 Lawrenceburg 11,272 $697
9 Shelbyville 15,660 $779
10 Frankfort 27,582 $727

How Is The Area 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.