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What do 2.9 million Kansas residents know that we don't? Well, besides how cool it is that Cawker City owns the biggest ball of twine and how much fun can be had at the Big Brutus Polka Fest in West Mineral, Kansans know that The Sunflower State has some of the most affordable places to live in America.
And lucky for you, HomeSnacks is here to unravel Kansas' most affordable places for 2020.
The competition was fierce to say the least. Many of Kansas' top ten most affordable places boast great home prices, safe neighborhoods, and good jobs. Any one of these Kansas places would be a great place to enjoy life while saving money. Not only does living in Kansas' most affordable places free up cash for a better home, a safer community, and just your overall cost of living, it provides extra money for the fun 'Kansas' things to do and see. Like, catching a Kansas City Royals game or taking a road trip to Louisburg's Dancefestopia Music Festival.
And it just so happens that some of Kansas' most affordable are also on our top ten best places to live in The Jayhawker State. So, living in many of our most affordable places will make you feel like you've won the Kansas Lottery. Want to know more? We suggest you crank some Kansas, head to the top of Mount Sunflower in Wallace County, and read on.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Kansas
What's the cheapest place to live in Kansas according to the most recent census data? There can be only one most affordable place in Kansas for 2020, and that would be Pratt.
So, if you care about home values and affordability, take a look at the list below to see where your Kansas dollar will go the furthest. And if you don't find your favorite there, head to the bottom.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Kansas and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Kansas For 2020
In terms of affordability, there's nowhere better in Kansas than Pratt, a small city 80 miles west of Wichita. Pratt has the tenth cheapest homes on the market in Kansas, with a median price tag of $85,300. Even more importantly, Pratt residents pay the sixth smallest percentage of their income on homes statewide. Which means there's plenty of money left over to experience Pratt's high culture at both its art museum and history museum. Or if you're trying to keep things cheap, Pratt's got you covered with 270 acres of parks.
The median household income in Pratt comes in at $50,771 and the median home value is $85,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.0%.
You probably won't have a hard time believing that you're living in one of the cheapest states in America if you settle down in Ulysses, the second most affordable city in Kansas. Ulysses's affordability really shines in terms of rent; at a median rent of $651 and a median income of $52,986, Ulysses has the ninth best rent to income ratio statewide. That makes it a great place to try Kansas out without committing to a mortgage. And don't worry that you're sacrificing safety for affordability, because Ulysses is among the safest places to live in Kansas.
Ulysses is located in Grant County, in southwestern Kansas.
The median household income in Ulysses comes in at $52,986 and the median home value is $101,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.1%.
There's good news and bad news when it comes to Parsons, our third most affordable city in Kansas. The good news is that Parsons has the fourth cheapest homes for sale statewide at a median price of $69,000 and residents have the fourth easiest time paying off their mortgage. The bad news is that Parsons population has been steadily dwindling in recent years, and not without reason. Parsons ranks as one of the worst places to live in Kansas, due to a 20%+ poverty rate and a crime rate 75% over the national average.
Parsons is the second most populous city in southeastern Kansas.
The median household income in Parsons comes in at $41,653 and the median home value is $69,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.6%.
Located in the Smoky Hills region of North Central Kansas, Concordia ranks as the fourth cheapest place to live in Kansas. The city home to Camp Concordia, a WWII German POW camp that's a definite must-see for any history buff in the area. Homes in Concordia go for about $74,700, the seventh lowest in Kansas. And with residents earning a median income of $41,074, Concordia has the eighth best home price to income ratio in the state.
The median household income in Concordia comes in at $41,074 and the median home value is $74,700 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 6.3%.
A suburb of Wichita, Mulvane is the fifth least expensive city in Kansas. Mulvane scored an 8.5/10 on our overall Snackability scale, meaning the city has good schools, safe streets, a steady job market, and, of course, affordable housing.
Renting in Mulvane is absurdly cheap, with the median rent being $616/month. That's about 60% less than the average rent in Kansas, which is already much lower than the national average. And coupled with a median income of $64,388, Mulvane has the most affordable rent in Kansas. Seeing as you're already pretty lucky to live in such a great place for such a low price, consider letting your luck ride at the Kansas Star Casino.
The median household income in Mulvane comes in at $64,388 and the median home value is $126,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.4%.
Ranking as the sixth most affordable place in Kansas is Wellington, a city about 30 miles south of Wichita. Homes in Wellington go for around $74,000, the sixth cheapest in the state. Having a median income of $44,688 gives Wellington the third best home price to income ratio in Kansas. And don't worry that living in such an affordable place must be boring; between three museums, a golf course, and a water park, there's plenty to do in Wellington.
The median household income in Wellington comes in at $44,688 and the median home value is $74,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.7%.
The first thing to know when you show up in Arkansas City -- pronounce the "s" at the end of Arkansas, or you'll surely be put down as a carpetbagger. Once you've got that down and you're ready to buy a home, you're in luck, because Arkansas City has the third least expensive homes for sale in Kansas at a median price of $66,500. Even more importantly, residents of Arkansas City pay the second lowest proportion of their income on homes statewide. With all these awesome statistics, why isn't Arkansas City ranked higher? Unfortunately, it's the least affordable place for renters on this list. Regardless of your housing situation, everyone will appreciate the gorgeous trails and excellent fishing opportunities at Cowley Lake Waterfall.
The median household income in Arkansas City comes in at $40,573 and the median home value is $66,500 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.0%.
When you first look at the numbers, you might be confused as to why the Wichita suburb of Bel Aire ranks as the eighth cheapest place to live in Kansas. After all, with a median home price of $157,900 and a median rent of $1,158, Bel Aire has the priciest housing on this list by a wide margin. However, because Bel Aire is the richest place in Kansas, with residents earning a median income of $95,250, folks have no trouble at all getting their mortgage or rent paid.
Bel Aire is also the only city on this list to score a 9/10 on our overall Snackability scale, thanks to having excellent schools, safe streets, a booming jobs market, and plenty to do. Maybe that's why we named it one of the best places to live in Kansas.
The median household income in Bel Aire comes in at $95,250 and the median home value is $157,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 0.8%.
Located 45 miles northwest of Kansas City, Atchison ranks as the ninth cheapest place in Kansas. Atchison is one of the most history-rich cities in Kansas, complete with an art gallery and four museums (one of which is also the birthplace of Amelia Earhart). Living in such a hub of history doesn't cost much, because the median home price in Atchison is only $86,200 (the 12th cheapest in the state). Rent is also quite cheap in Atchison, with a median price tag of $631, so regardless of your housing situation, Atchison's got a good deal for you.
The median household income in Atchison comes in at $43,604 and the median home value is $86,200 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 6.6%.
Rounding out our list of most affordable places to live in Kansas is Park City, yet another suburb of Wichita (the fourth on this list, for those keeping count). Park City has a particularly strong economy, with an unemployment rate under 3% and a median income of $69,921. Even with home prices slightly higher than most places on this list at $123,700, Park City still has the seventh best home price to income ratio in Kansas. Which is good, because you'll have extra cash for a concert or Wichita Wings game at Hartman Arena.
The median household income in Park City comes in at $69,921 and the median home value is $123,700 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 2.4%.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Sunflower State For 2020
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Kansas to figure out which is the least expensive.
What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 61 places in Kansas that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Kansas according to the data is Pratt. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Kansas Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Kansas, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Kansas for 2020.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Kansas according to the data:
- Prairie Village
For more Kansas reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Kansas