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:
- Leawood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bel Aire (Homes For Sale)
- Overland Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Derby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- McPherson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Andover (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Colby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lenexa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Olathe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- 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.
For more Kansas reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Kansas
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Kansas
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Kansas
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’.
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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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…
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 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 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 is another great city in Kansas with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.
Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: ” 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.”
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
- Mission Hills (Pop. 3,582)
- Westwood (Pop. 1,747)
- Victoria (Pop. 1,316)
- Fairway (Pop. 3,964)
- Lindsborg (Pop. 3,417)
- St. Marys (Pop. 2,793)
- Silver Lake (Pop. 1,659)
- North Newton (Pop. 1,901)
- Rose Hill (Pop. 3,915)
- Colwich (Pop. 1,305)
Best Small Towns To Live In Kansas
- Westwood Hills (Pop. 414)
- Maple Hill (Pop. 695)
- Tipton (Pop. 255)
- Spearville (Pop. 964)
- Glen Elder (Pop. 521)
- Lake Quivira (Pop. 987)
- Eastborough (Pop. 742)
- Assaria (Pop. 471)
- Andale (Pop. 790)
- Willowbrook (Pop. 94)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Kansas according to the data:
- Parsons (Pop. 10,111)
- Independence (Pop. 9,084)
- Coffeyville (Pop. 9,796)
For more Kansas reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Kansas