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:
- Bel Aire
- Overland Park (Photos)
- Mcpherson (Photos)
- Colby (Photos)
- Olathe (Photos)
- Mulvane (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 5,200
- 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’.
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.
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
Population: 183,775Rank 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.
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.
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.
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.
Population: 5,460Rank 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.
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.
Population: 132,787Rank 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.
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
- 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)
- Mission Woods (Pop. 186)
- Maple Hill (Pop. 695)
- Tipton (Pop. 255)
- Spearville (Pop. 964)
- Glen Elder (Pop. 521)
- Lake Quivira (Pop. 987)
- Eastborough (Pop. 742)
- Willowbrook (Pop. 94)
- Assaria (Pop. 471)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Kansas:
- Coffeyville (Pop. 9,796)
- Independence (Pop. 9,084)
- Parsons (Pop. 10,111)
For more Kansas reading , check out:
- A Hilarious Look At The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Kansas
- These Are The 10 Drunkest Cities In Kansas
- A Hilarious Look At The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Kansas
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Kansas