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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.
The 10 Best Places To Live In Kansas For 2020
- Leawood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bel Aire (Homes For Sale)
- Derby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Overland Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lenexa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- McPherson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Olathe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Valley Center (Homes For Sale)
- Gardner (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mission (Homes For Sale)
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.
For more Kansas reading, check out:
The 10 Best Places To Live In Kansas For 2020
Not only is Leawood the best place to live in Kansas, but it's also the only city on our top ten list to score a perfect 10/10 on our SnackAbility scale.
Leawood is used to being in the limelight as this is the second year in row that they have earned this rank--consistent strong numbers in areas like safety, affordability, education, and amenities, tend to do this to a city; and rightfully so as the crime rate here is below the national average. To put this in perspective, there were only 570 recorded last year.
In terms of cost of living, you will find savings comparable to the state average in transportation and utilities, but you're going to pay the highest median home price at $447,100. On the flipside, the median household income here is $149,736/year. Not to mention, if you were wondering how Leawood would best support your family, just know that this city is one of the best places to raise your family in the state and it's because they spend quite a bit per student.
Is it time for a change? Are you bored with where you currently live? Have you ever thought about living in the Midwest? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, we recommend that you take a look at Kansas' 2nd best place to live, Bel Aire.
No, the Fresh Prince did not grow up here, but he probably wishes that he did with the Bel Aire's low cost of living--this would have freed up a lot more money for his expensive taste. Yes, Bel Aire has one of the best median home price to income ratios. Incidentally, living expenses like health services, groceries, and utilities are relatively less expensive in Bel Aire compared to the state average. And your biggest concern in terms of safety would be to make sure that you lock your car doors at night as the crime rate here is below the state average with most of the incidents property related.
Normally one would think of The Sunflower State as a bunch of farm fields and prairie, but not in Bel Aire. Located slightly northeast of Wichita you get the best of all worlds--that laid back Kansas lifestyle inside Bel Aire's city limits and some of the best nightlife a mere 15 minutes away in "the big city".
Step outside of your comfort zone and think about this: Kansas' 3rd best place to live has low crime, a low cost of living, and it's one of Wichita's biggest suburbs, so you might want to pay attention if you're thinking about a change of pace.
And that change of pace would look like a crime rate that is below the state average. Derby's overall cost of living is slightly above the state level and slightly below the national level--you will find above average savings in housing, health services, and utilities. Just think of all of the money you will save with a combined household median income of $71,909/year and a median home price of $159,200.
Incidentally, Derby scored a 9/10 on our SnackAbility scale for amenities and whether you like to play outside or inside, there are plenty of places to take selfies in this city that will make your out-of-town and/or out-of-state friends super jealous. Yes, don't be afraid to share a photo petting the dinosaurs at the Field Station Dinosaur Park or the covered wagon at the Derby History Museum, as we're pretty sure that it will up your Instagram cred. Not to mention, commute times here are next to nothing, so that leaves plenty of time to enjoy Derby and Wichita on a daily basis.
Overland Park is one of the biggest cities in Kansas with 188,687, so the fact that it is also the 4th best place to live in the state and one of the best places to live in the United States is quite amazing.
So, how can the rest of the state as well as the rest of the country take a page from Overland Park's book? Well, first you need to find out how to get your crime rate below the state average and below the national level like yours truly. You also need to figure out how to get your cost of living at a manageable level. Overland Park might have the 2nd highest median home price (because so many people want to move here), but the city's median income of $82,651/year more than accounts for overall living expenses if you are part of the working class. And if you aren't part of the working class here, you have no excuse as the unemployment rate in Overland Park is the 20th best unemployment rate at 3.4%.
Low crime and a low cost of living have transformed Kansas' 5th best place to live, Lenexa, into a Kansas hot spot. Up three spots from last year, it is now a top ten-er and a well deserving one at that.
First of all, the homes in Lenexa are the 5th most expensive in the state of Kansas, with the average home worth a whopping $248,800.
Other numbers that stand out: the combined median household income for Lenexa's residents is $84,370/year and the crime rate here is way below the national average. Basically, folks, it's super safe here. In fact, it's one of the safest cities in the state. And this is important when you are looking for a place with safe urban adventures for you and your family.
Speaking of adventures, Lenexa scored a 9/10 on our SnackAbility scale with its number of educated residents, its job market, commute times, and amenities at the forefront. Hop on the easily accessible concrete rivers here and enjoy Lenexa's Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art or Shawnee Mission Park.
One of Kansas' most centrally located places--literally, right smack dab in the middle of the Jayhawker State with Salina to the North, Wichita to the South, Topeka to the East, and Great Bend to the West--is the state's 6th best place to live, Mcpherson.
Naturally, you might be confused as to whether you should cheer for the Kansas State Wildcats or the University of Kansas Jayhawks, but one thing you will definitely have you cheering is the city's exceptional numbers.
You can buy a home here for the median home price of $140,400, and, folks, you only have to make household median income of $54,804 to afford the city's overall cost of living. You will find amazing saving on living expenses that include--but are not limited to--food costs, transportation costs, and utilities. More importantly, if you choose to buy your forever home in Mcpherson think of it as a long term investment as this city is also one of the best places to retire in the state.
If you're thinking about Olathe as your forever home, you better start thinking about it now as this city is not only the 7th best place to live in Kansas, it's one of the fastest growing cities in America.
The homes in Olathe are the 5th highest in the state. We're not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes mean a better place to live, but price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Olathe if they can afford it. And one way you can afford it is to get a job that pays the city's median income of $85,318/year to cover your cost of living. But, you can expect to find a job pretty easily in Olathe as the job market here is pretty strong and the unemployment rate is the 16th at 3.1%.
Olathe is also crazy safe. The crime rate here is very low. And surprisingly, for a city of 135,986 residents, there were only 2,262 reported last year and a majority of them were property related--so lock your doors!
The smallest city in population to make our top ten list, Valley Center, might only have 6,747 residents, but it's clocking big time numbers in jobs, affordability, safety and education, and that's why it's the 8th best place to live in Kansas.
Yes, the only people who do not have a job in Valley Center either physically can't work or don't want a job as the current unemployment rate here is the 2nd best in the state at 1.5%. And you're going to want a good job--one that pays the city's median income of $70,962/year so that you can afford the 24th best home price in the state at $139,300.
With numbers like these, it's evident that Valley Center is doing all it can to keep your cost of living down so that you can take that extra money and invest it in the city's neighborhoods and communities. More importantly, invest it in keeping everyone safe, happy, and healthy. It seems to be working as the city only recorded 89 crimes at the time of this report and the overall crime rate here is low.
And although Valley Center is the epitome of small town living, commute times here are some of the best in the state--you can hop on the I-135 and be in Wichita in minutes.
Here's an update on why Gardner is the 9th best places to live in Kansas and why it continues to be one of The Wheat State's best of the best year after year.
Not only does Gardner have the youngest population in the state (32) running around keeping the city's energy up and spending money on all of the fun things that Gardner has to offer: like, visiting the quaint coffee shops downtown and the annual Grand Slam Beer and Wine Festival, but the cost of living here is super manageable for anyone just starting out. And if you're a youngster trying to date in one of the best places for singles in the state, you're going to need the extra cash.
But, we're not worried that Gardner's 21,351 residents will figure it out--this small town did score a 9/10 for education on our SnackAbility scale with one of the highest high school graduation rates in the state. Not to mention, smart people know a good deal when they see one; and for Gardner, that deal looks like a median home price of $178,700. They also know how to earn the city's median income of $75,985--the unemployment rate here is 3.6% and the poverty level is 5.5%.
The biggest decision that you will have to make in Kansas' 10th best city, Mission, is whether to order your Kansas City BBQ with or without sauce, because this small town of 9,437 residents has handled the rest.
So, if you were worried about crime, don't be. Mission is one of the safest places in Kansas. If you stay up at night wondering how you will ever afford a house here, stop. Matter of fact, for a Kansas City suburb, the cost of living in Mission is relatively low and it has the 15th best median home price in the state at $169,500; not to mention, the residents here earn a great salary at $60,875/year.
Mission's unemployment rate is 2.0%, so stop stressing about the job opportunities here, too. Basically, save your time and your energy enjoying a family bike ride through the city's Streamway Park and/or spending the day exploring what Kansas City's other suburbs have to offer.
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'.
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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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
- 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:
- Independence (Pop. 8,847)
- Parsons (Pop. 9,876)
- Coffeyville (Pop. 9,578)
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