These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Kansas For 2018

These are the cream of the crop when it comes to the Sunflower State.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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How do you pick the best places to live in what many agree is the best darn state in the nation? If you do a survey, you’ll get opinions based on most likely, emotions.

That’s why we use science. After all, the data never lies.

After analyzing everything from weather and amenities to crime and education, we’ve come up with the following list as the best places to live in Kansas. Read on below to see how we calculated the results and where your home town ranked. Hint: If you live in Johnson County, consider yourself lucky.

The Top 10 Best Places to Live in Kansas for 2018 are:

  1. Leawood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Bel Aire (Homes For Sale)
  3. Overland Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Derby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. McPherson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Andover (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Colby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Lenexa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Olathe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Mulvane (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Well, it looks like you should check out Leawood if you’re thinking of moving to Kansas — it’s the best the Sunflower State has to offer according to the data.

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Kansas.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Kansas

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Topeka with a population of 127,472 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 5,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 53 cities, 140 towns, and 412 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Kansas

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Kansas across a number of criteria from one to 53, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Kansas”.

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Kansas.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Leawood at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Leawood, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 33,763
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $415,900 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (14th best)
More on Leawood: Real Estate| Data| Photos

There’s two types of people who live in Leawood. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $415,900 home there.

Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Leawood is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,214
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $141,900 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (1st best)
More on Bel Aire: Real Estate| Data

Bel Aire ranks 2nd on our list of best places to live in Kansas thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Kansas that we examined.

People have been flocking to Bel Aire over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Overland Park, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 183,775
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $237,100 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (16th best)
More on Overland Park: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Overland Park is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $237,100 and households earn a median salary of $74,789. One could get used to that.

Derby, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,847
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $156,900 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (10th best)
More on Derby: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Taking its place as the 4th best place in Kansas is Derby. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of Kansas.

It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.

An unemployment rate of only 3.5% helps thing too.

Mcpherson, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,212
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $135,800 (22nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (5th best)
More on Mcpherson: Real Estate| Data| Photos

If you don’t have a job in Mcpherson, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 2.7%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $54,057.

That’s actually not a bad idea…

Andover, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,477
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $176,200 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (12th best)
More on Andover: Real Estate| Data| Photos

At an unemployment rate of 3.7%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Andover. And the residents command high salaries ($85,230 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($176,200 each).

We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in Kansas. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Colby, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,460
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Median Home Value: $109,900 (30th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (2nd best)
More on Colby: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Colby had the 2nd lowest unemployment of any place in our research (2.2%) and the 16th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.

Colby is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.

Lenexa, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 51,206
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $232,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (18th best)
More on Lenexa: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Lenexa has a really low crime rate (13th lowest) and only 4.2% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($78,798). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Lenexa.

Olathe, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 132,787
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $201,200 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (19th best)
More on Olathe: Real Estate| Data| Photos

Olathe is another great city in Kansas with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.

Said one reviewer on ” We feel incredibly safe in Olathe. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things.”

Enough said.

Mulvane, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,461
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $125,900 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (6th best)
More on Mulvane: Real Estate| Data| Photos

The Town of Mulvane might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.

The crime rate in Mulvane isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $125,900 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Kansas.

If Mulvane can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (2.9% is the 6th highest in the state.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Kansas

If you’re looking at areas in Kansas with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Leawood made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.

Best Towns To Live In Kansas

  1. Mission Hills (Pop. 3,582)
  2. Westwood (Pop. 1,747)
  3. Victoria (Pop. 1,316)
  4. Fairway (Pop. 3,964)
  5. Lindsborg (Pop. 3,417)
  6. St. Marys (Pop. 2,793)
  7. Silver Lake (Pop. 1,659)
  8. North Newton (Pop. 1,901)
  9. Rose Hill (Pop. 3,915)
  10. Colwich (Pop. 1,305)

Best Small Towns To Live In Kansas

  1. Westwood Hills (Pop. 414)
  2. Maple Hill (Pop. 695)
  3. Tipton (Pop. 255)
  4. Spearville (Pop. 964)
  5. Glen Elder (Pop. 521)
  6. Lake Quivira (Pop. 987)
  7. Eastborough (Pop. 742)
  8. Assaria (Pop. 471)
  9. Andale (Pop. 790)
  10. Willowbrook (Pop. 94)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Kansas according to the data:

  1. Parsons (Pop. 10,111)
  2. Independence (Pop. 9,084)
  3. Coffeyville (Pop. 9,796)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Kansas

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Leawood 33,763 3.8% $415,900
2 Bel Aire 7,214 1.6% $141,900
3 Overland Park 183,775 4.0% $237,100
4 Derby 23,847 3.5% $156,900
5 Mcpherson 13,212 2.7% $135,800
6 Andover 12,477 3.7% $176,200
7 Colby 5,460 2.2% $109,900
8 Lenexa 51,206 4.2% $232,400
9 Olathe 132,787 4.4% $201,200
10 Mulvane 5,461 2.9% $125,900
11 Mission 9,490 2.2% $154,100
12 Shawnee 64,444 4.1% $203,200
13 Basehor 5,167 4.7% $194,500
14 Manhattan 55,909 5.4% $190,200
15 Hays 21,073 4.0% $161,800
16 Lansing 11,706 3.3% $174,900
17 Valley Center 6,420 2.6% $137,400
18 Roeland Park 6,816 4.9% $155,100
19 Abilene 6,598 3.8% $122,700
20 Merriam 11,248 3.0% $152,700
21 Gardner 20,667 5.6% $164,300
22 Haysville 11,393 5.1% $101,700
23 Lawrence 92,611 4.9% $177,600
24 Ulysses 5,768 6.8% $96,700
25 Hutchinson 41,661 5.4% $93,900
26 Leavenworth 35,948 5.4% $115,500
27 Paola 5,583 3.5% $117,900
28 Spring Hill 5,863 5.3% $170,300
29 Salina 47,676 4.8% $117,900
30 Augusta 9,262 7.5% $109,600
31 El Dorado 13,102 6.8% $88,900
32 Eudora 6,116 12.9% $133,600
33 Newton 19,103 4.7% $101,200
34 Winfield 12,283 5.6% $83,000
35 Wellington 7,950 9.1% $73,100
36 Pratt 6,879 6.4% $80,500
37 Pittsburg 20,399 6.3% $84,300
38 Emporia 24,707 8.1% $87,800
39 De Soto 5,982 6.0% $192,700
40 Ottawa 12,433 7.2% $95,700
41 Fort Scott 7,852 3.3% $66,200
42 Concordia 5,273 6.3% $72,000
43 Wichita 388,033 6.6% $120,800
44 Topeka 127,472 6.7% $99,400
45 Chanute 9,216 4.7% $64,700
46 Bonner Springs 7,567 9.0% $157,700
47 Liberal 20,709 8.7% $90,600
48 Atchison 10,798 9.2% $84,700
49 Great Bend 15,741 6.8% $83,000
50 Iola 5,560 5.5% $77,000
51 Parsons 10,111 6.9% $61,300
52 Independence 9,084 7.1% $68,100
53 Coffeyville 9,796 9.5% $52,600

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9 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Kansas For 2018

  1. You quite clearly did not do any research on this list. Beloit is the WORSt place I have ever lived. the unemployment rate is higher than you claim, the schools are NOT the 3rd best by any means. The court system here is horrid and they do not care whether you are innocent or guilty as long as you pay them money. The cops are pathetic and hassel anyone with a certain last name. A few years ago there was a ‘Hazing incident’ as they called it where Logan Eck and Joe Studor held a freshman down and rubbed Icy Hot on his genitals. That should have been serious legal action. But no, they didn’t get into any actual trouble. They had to sit out of a couple football games. That’s it. Beloit should be far lower on this list.

  2. I was born in Scott City. I say Kansas sucks then I think about where I came from. I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t come from Kansas.

  3. I am not sure where to start with this one. I have to ask, have the authors ever been to Kansas? No one that has ever lived in Kansas would rank Scott City or Hugoton higher than a city like Overland Park. There are a few cities in the top ten I agree with (Leawood, Mission Hills, Olathe, Lenexa) but I have no idea how several of the others even made the list. Admittedly, I am a little biased as I live in Olathe but it appears to me the “scientific” criteria is flawed.

    First, I would not base the quality of the schools on dollars spent per child/teacher, but rather on academic achievement and test scores.

    Second, quality of life, an extremely important criteria, is not even considered. Small towns in the middle of western Kansas certainly appeal to some, but communities in Johnson County like Olathe, Lenexa, Leawood, Mission Hills, Overland Park, and Fairway to name a few, are far superior in terms of public service.

    Third, unemployment is an important indicator but if you compare the types of jobs in the western part of the state to those in Johnson County there is a huge difference. Anyone with a professional degree would have difficulty finding a quality engineering position in many of the small western towns listed. Many jobs in these areas are blue collar (no offense intended to those folks)
    and do not pay substantially more than minimum wage, nor do they offer much opportunity for career advancement.

    I could on and on but I think I made my point. I have nothing against the folks who live in these small towns in the western part of the state and I am sure many of them enjoy their quality of life. However, the quality of schools, public services, and career opportunities simply cannot compete with that of the Johnson County area.

  4. Unemployment in Mission Hills ? How could a person even rent a guesthouse in Mission Hills on income only from unemployment? More importantly, who WORKS in that city who lives there? The mayor or a golf course employee who inherited a few million to pay for their house? Mission Hills has no real income from Mission Hills businesses since there are none.

  5. I live in Coffeyville, Ks We have a refinery that pays over$70,000.- $125,000 a year salary, We have John Deere MFG plant that Pays $60,000 plus, Our City is still union and pays in the $40,000 range, Most jobs in the area are low to med income. However our housing was washed away with a flood in 2007. We are within 35 minutes from Bartlesville, 45 minutes from Owasso , OK and Tulsa, OK or one hour from Joplin, MO. We have our highways lined with the US Flags and a highly ranked Community College in all sports. We don’t have to have bars on our windows or have prostitutes and gangs running our streets. WE have rodeos, music in the parks, over 75 churches, A casino ten minutes from our house, Grand Lake is 45 minutes to the south, all is not that wrong in our small town, I would not pay $350,000 for a home I would never own, then pay $3500. a month in taxes to just to act like I am something special. Life is what you make of it , a backdrop won’t fill the void. Love , Live and come to SE Kansas on second thought stay where you are at, we don’t need a change, I love my life and little home. Thank You Lord for SE Kansas.

  6. We moved to Andover 14 years ago because of this kind of hype. Then my grandkids were diagnosed with adhd and autism. Andover schools are great for most kids, but if your child has special needs expect that child to be bullied … by teachers and counselors. The six years it took for the school to admit they didn’t have a clue how to help my autistic granddaughter were a nightmare for us. Four years later with a great teacher in Douglas she still has great anxiety. The grandchild with adhd finally took matters into her own hands and asked to change to online school. I think that’s the only thing reason she was able to graduate.

  7. If Mulvane can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (2.9% is the 6th highest in the state.)

    Meaning that almost everyone works in Mulvane. Your editor reversed the meaning of “High unemployment rate” and “High employment rate”. Duh.

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