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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Where are the best places in the state of Kansas?

To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Sunflower State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.

However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Kansas.

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.

After analyzing 53 places in Kansas, we came up with this list of the best places:

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

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.

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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 5,200
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,200
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 53 cities, 141 towns, and 469 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 5,200 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.

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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.

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1. Leawood

Population: 33,763
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $415,900 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (13th best)
Leawood 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 $415,900 and households earn a median salary of $147,722. One could get used to that.

2. Bel Aire

Population: 7,214
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Home Values: $141,900 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (1st best)
Bel Aire has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Bel Aire had the 4th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $80,324.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

3. Overland Park

Overland Park, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 183,775
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $237,100 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (15th best)
Overland Park makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Kansas mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 4.0% of folks are jobless, you can bet Overland Park residents are glad to live where they do.

4. Derby

Population: 23,847
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Values: $156,900 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (10th best)
The Derby has the 10th lowest unemployment rate in Kansas. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Derby is higher than the national average and households make $68,965 per year.

We’d move to Derby if we could in a heart beat.

5. Mcpherson

Population: 13,212
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $135,800 (22nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (5th best)
You might be surprised to see the Town of Mcpherson so high on the list. Unless you live in Mcpherson.

The unemployment rate here is really low, and at2.7%, Mcpherson residents are some of the hardest working in the state of Kansas. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Mcpherson is doing quite well.

Let’s be honest — Mcpherson is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

6. Andover

Population: 12,477
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Values: $176,200 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (12th best)
Andover has it made. In fact, according to science, it’s one of the best places to live in the state of Kansas.

The unemployment rate is the 12th lowest in the state at 3.7%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $85,230, and the average cost of a home is $176,200. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.

We wouldn’t be surprised if more and more publications call Andover one of America’s gems.

7. Colby

Colby, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,460
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Home Values: $109,900 (30th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (2nd best)
If you want to live in Kansas, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Colby area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.

Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $48,621 median income will do that).

Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Colby as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Colby.

8. Lenexa

Population: 51,206
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Home Values: $232,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (18th best)
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Kansas, as there were only 70 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 18th lowest in Kansas (4.2%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.

Additionally, homes are the 3rd most expensive in Lenexa ($232,400), meaning a lot of people want to live there.

Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $78,798 a year.

9. Olathe

Olathe, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 132,787
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Values: $201,200 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (19th best)
Olathe had the 19th lowest unemployment of any place in our research (4.4%) and the 11th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.

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

10. Mulvane

Population: 5,461
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Values: $125,900 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (6th best)
Mulvane comes in at a close 10th. They have the 6th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 12th highest median income as well, which means the people in Mulvane are working and getting paid well.

Additionally, the median home value is the 24th best in the state.

Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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. Mission Woods (Pop. 186)
  3. Maple Hill (Pop. 695)
  4. Tipton (Pop. 255)
  5. Spearville (Pop. 964)
  6. Glen Elder (Pop. 521)
  7. Lake Quivira (Pop. 987)
  8. Eastborough (Pop. 742)
  9. Willowbrook (Pop. 94)
  10. Assaria (Pop. 471)

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

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

For more Kansas reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Kansas

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

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Facebook Discussion

8 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.

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