THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Kansas For 2020


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

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

Thinking of picking up everything and moving to Kansas?

Already live here and trying to find the right place to live?

Well, look no further than our set of the best places to live in Kansas for 2020 -- we've been doing these rankings since 2015.

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 most likely get opinions based emotions.

That's why we used science -- data from the Census and FBI on things people care about in a place in Kansas like low crime, quality of life, and friendly neighborhoods. 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 hometown ranked. Hint: If you live in Johnson County, consider yourself lucky.

What city is the best place to live in kansas for 2020? According to the most recent FBI and Census data, Leawood ranks as the best place to live in kansas for 2020 amongst the 54 places above 5,000 people.

Looking at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Leawood is the most desirable, according to science and data.

But as most Kansas residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.

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:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Kansas For 2020

Leawood, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 34,570
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $447,100 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.4% (6th best)
More on Leawood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Leawood is another gem in the Sunflower State. The unemployment rate here is 6th lowest in the entire state at 2.4%. Other factors that make Leawood so desirable is the solid education and home prices.

Homes are valued at $447,100, and parents earn a combined $149,736 a year

There's nothing like the American dream.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,671
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $157,900 (22nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.8% (1st best)
More on Bel Aire: Real Estate | Data

Little Bel Aire has it made. It has the lowest unemployment rate, and crime is far below average for Kansas.

Residents here have great jobs, and the home price proves it's a highly desirable location in the state, for those who can afford the high cost of living

We'd recommend you start saving up!

Derby, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 23,768
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $159,200 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (13th best)
More on Derby: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We think the motto in Derby should be "Everything is greater in Derby," and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.

Derby has some of the highest home values in Kansas, and they're going up fast. Additionally, Derby only has 4.9% of its residents living in poverty.

Crime is also well below the state average, making Derby a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.

Overland Park, KS

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 188,687
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $261,200 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.4% (20th best)
More on Overland Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Overland Park, everyone loves to call Overland Park home! The median home value is the 2nd highest in Kansas.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 20th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Sunflower State.

Overland Park should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

Lenexa, KS

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 53,051
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $248,800 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (9th best)
More on Lenexa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Lenexa consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren't any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?

Let's see why Lenexa ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Lenexa are the 3rd most expensive in the state of Kansas, with the average home worth a whopping $248,800. We're not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Lenexa if they can afford it.

Other numbers that stand out: Lenexa residents have the 7th highest income in the state, and the 13th lowest crime numbers in Kansas.

Mcpherson, KS

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 13,041
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $140,400 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (8th best)
More on Mcpherson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mcpherson is by far one of the best places to live in Kansas: the math proves it! This city has the 8th lowest unemployment rate and the 22nd highest median income in all of Kansas.

Plus, the median home values are the 23rd highest in the state. And if all of that isn't enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the lowest in the state, making Mcpherson a safe and great place to live.

Olathe, KS

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 135,986
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $224,000 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (16th best)
More on Olathe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Well, I guess technically 3.1% of Olathe residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 16th closest of any city in Kansas.

You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.

In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Olathe also ranked well for crime (9th) and median income ($85,318).

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,747
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $139,300 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (2nd best)
More on Valley Center: Real Estate | Data

In Valley Center, everyone loves to call Valley Center home! The median home value is the 24th highest in Kansas.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 2nd lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Sunflower State.

Gardner, KS

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 21,351
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $178,700 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (23rd best)
More on Gardner: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gardner has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Kansas. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Gardner is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Gardner residents to work is significantly higher than average.

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 9,437
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $169,500 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.0% (4th best)
More on Mission: Real Estate | Data

The crime is the 42nd lowest in the state in Mission, and there were only 11 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it's even safer here than the numbers indicate.

The schools are some of the best in Kansas, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Mission earn $60,875 a year.

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 126,877 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 54 cities, 140 towns, and 412 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Kansas 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 Cities 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 54, 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. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Kansas? That would be Leawood.

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.

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 the best place to live in Kansas for 2020.

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. Independence (Pop. 8,847)
  2. Parsons (Pop. 9,876)
  3. Coffeyville (Pop. 9,578)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Kansas?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Leawood 34,570 2.4% $447,100
2 Bel Aire 7,671 0.8% $157,900
3 Derby 23,768 2.9% $159,200
4 Overland Park 188,687 3.4% $261,200
5 Lenexa 53,051 2.7% $248,800
6 Mcpherson 13,041 2.6% $140,400
7 Olathe 135,986 3.1% $224,000
8 Valley Center 6,747 1.5% $139,300
9 Gardner 21,351 3.6% $178,700
10 Mission 9,437 2.0% $169,500

How Is Your Town 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.

9 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Kansas For 2020

  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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