Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020


We used data and science to determine which places in Kentucky go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Kentucky.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

People in Kentucky are some of the happiest people in the country according to the Happiness Research Institute. They also have reason to smile because they have some of the most affordable places to live.

How did we determine the most affordable places to live in Kentucky for 2020? We consulted the latest Census data on cost of living.

Most people think that the Bluegrass State is filled with a bunch of horse ranches, silly hat wearing Kentucky Derby-ites, and University of Kentucky Wildcat super fans. And while all this might be true for most places in Kentucky, the trick is to find all of this goodness in the most affordable places to live in Kentucky. While many parts of Kentucky are above the national average for unemployment, there are places that are trying to keep the Bluegrass State in the black. Kentucky companies like Jif Peanut Butter and Post-it Notes provide good jobs for this flyover state's residents. Coincidentally, we can thank Kentucky's education institutions like the University of Louisville for producing smart, hard-working Kentuckians who want to make Kentucky available and affordable for all.

So, want to know where you can find a safe, affordable Kentucky home and a job that pays the bills? Keep reading.

It's simple economics, folks. Good jobs increase median incomes which translates to most people being able to live in our most affordable Kentucky places. This is a good thing because Kentucky has a lot to offer. They have hip millennial cities like Des Moines and cool college cities like Lexington.

What's the cheapest place to live in kentucky? Unfortunately there can be only one place that takes the mantle of the most affordable place in Kentucky for 2020, and that would be Princeton.

So, if you care about home values and affordability, take a look at the list below to see where your Kentucky 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 Kentucky and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020

Princeton, KY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,157
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 82.3x (9th cheapest)
More On Princeton: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Princeton is a home rule-class city in Caldwell County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is the seat of its county. The population was 6,329 during the 2010 U.S. Census.

The median income in Princeton comes in at $44,430 and the median home value is $79,000 for 2020.

Central City, KY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,822
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.5x (22nd cheapest)
More On Central City: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Central City is a home rule-class city in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 5,978 at the 2010 census. It is also the largest city in the county and the principal community in the Central City Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Muhlenberg County.

The median income in Central City comes in at $40,590 and the median home value is $75,900 for 2020.

Flatwoods, KY

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,186
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.9x (35th cheapest)
More On Flatwoods: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Flatwoods is a home rule-class city in Greenup County, Kentucky, United States. Flatwoods is considered a suburb of nearby Ashland, although Ashland itself is located in neighboring Boyd County. The population of Flatwoods was 7,423 at the 2010 census, making Flatwoods the largest city in Greenup County. Flatwoods is a part of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH, Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 287,702.

The median income in Flatwoods comes in at $48,563 and the median home value is $93,100 for 2020.

Bellevue, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,828
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.5x (12th cheapest)
More On Bellevue: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Bellevue is a home rule-class city in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is located along the southern bank of the Ohio River. The population was 5,955 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Bellevue comes in at $58,750 and the median home value is $130,900 for 2020.

Bardstown, KY

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 13,042
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (16th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.6x (11th cheapest)
More On Bardstown: Homes For Sale | 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.

The median income in Bardstown comes in at $52,754 and the median home value is $128,200 for 2020.

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!

Erlanger, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 18,776
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.7x (17th cheapest)
More On Erlanger: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Erlanger comes in at $60,124 and the median home value is $130,700 for 2020.

Lawrenceburg, KY

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,272
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (20th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.4x (16th cheapest)
More On Lawrenceburg: Homes For Sale | 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.

The median income in Lawrenceburg comes in at $49,098 and the median home value is $125,300 for 2020.

Dayton, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,422
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.6x (52nd cheapest)
More On Dayton: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Dayton is a home rule-class city along a bend of the Ohio River in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 5,338 at the 2010 census. It is less than 3 miles from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.

The median income in Dayton comes in at $48,629 and the median home value is $101,500 for 2020.

Ashland, KY

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 20,822
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (25th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.7x (37th cheapest)
More On Ashland: Homes For Sale | 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.

The median income in Ashland comes in at $38,446 and the median home value is $99,300 for 2020.

Independence, KY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 27,183
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 84.6x (8th cheapest)
More On Independence: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Independence is a home rule-class city in Kenton County, Kentucky, in the United States. It is one of its county's two seats of government. Independence is a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the population was 24,757 at the time of the 2010 U.S. census.

The median income in Independence comes in at $79,224 and the median home value is $165,700 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Bluegrass State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. 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 Kentucky 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 78 places in Kentucky that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Kentucky according to the data is Princeton. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Kentucky Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Kentucky, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Kentucky for 2020.

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Kentucky according to the data:

  1. Pikeville
  2. Murray
  3. Richmond

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Kentucky?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Princeton 4.0 6,157 1.8x 82.3x
2 Central City 8.33 5,822 1.9x 67.5x
3 Flatwoods 15.0 7,186 1.9x 60.9x
4 Bellevue 21.33 5,828 2.2x 78.5x
5 Bardstown 21.67 13,042 2.4x 79.6x
6 Erlanger 22.33 18,776 2.2x 69.7x
7 Lawrenceburg 23.5 11,272 2.6x 70.4x
8 Dayton 23.67 5,422 2.1x 57.6x
9 Ashland 24.33 20,822 2.6x 60.7x
10 Independence 24.67 27,183 2.1x 84.6x

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.