These Are The 10 Most Kickass Places To Live In Kansas

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

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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. These are the places that are peachy keen. Where folks seem to have it all figured out, thank you very much.

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

  1. Leawood
  2. Mission Hills
  3. Fairway
  4. Scott City
  5. Hugoton
  6. Olathe
  7. Beloit
  8. Lenexa
  9. Eudora
  10. Prairie Village
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Small Towns vs. Big Cities. Which is Better?

In order to rank the best places to live in Kansas, we had to first determine if a bigger city should weigh heavier than a tiny town with 52 people. We firmly decided that yes, bigger cities should be given a bigger ranking factor because there are more things to do in a larger town.

After that, it was a matter of entering the data of cities with a population over 3,000 people in Kansas and asking the computer to tell us who is best.

Using FBI data, the government census, Sperling’s Best Places data and Bureau of Labor Statistics, we used the following criteria in the rankings:

  1. Population Density (The higher the better)
  2. Lower Unemployment Rates
  3. Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  4. Low Housing Vacancy Rate
  5. Education (Expenditures per student and Student Teacher Ratio)
  6. Short Commute Times
  7. Low Crime
  8. The Best Weather

If your city isn’t in the Top 10, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a complete list of the larger cities or click here for a chart with all cities and their data.

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1. Leawood

best connecticut cities

Source: Wikipedia

Unemployment rate: 3.5%
Median household income: $134,242
Crime: 4th lowest in KS

This probably isn’t a surprise to Leawood residents, but Leawood, an Overland Park suburb, is the best place you can live in Kansas, according to science. Let’s see why.

First of all, we’re not saying that money buys happiness, but the fact remains that Leawood residents are the wealthiest in the state. Home values are also 2nd highest in the state. So, things seem to be fine and dandy here, thank you very much.

Sure, not everyone likes the high cost of living. But crime is the 4th lowest in Kansas, too.

Surprisingly, the school systems that Leawood kids attend are in the bottom 30% for spending per student and student-teacher ratios. If they would have ranked even average, Leawood would have blown away every other city in the state.

2. Mission Hills

best connecticut cities


Unemployment rate: 4%
Home values: Highest in KS
Crime: 3rd lowest

Sure, the cost of homes is the highest in the state, which might deter some people. But there’s a reason for that: Demand. If you’re going to spend $859,000 on a home, you’d better be in a great place.

This is a wealthy suburb of Kansas City/Overland Park where families bring in lots of cash each year. In fact, Mission Hills is far, far, far wealthier than Leawood. It’s just butterflies and rainbows, that’s for sure.

Crime is even lower in Mission Hills as well, but the unemployment rate is slightly higher in Mission Hills.

The schools have essentially the same spending and student-teacher ratios.

3. Fairway

best connecticut cities

Source: Flickr user CT Senate Democrats

Crime: Safest in the state
Home values: 3rd highest
Incomes: Third highest

In Fairway, it’s a lot more affordable. Homes are still really expensive, but at $289,000, it’s not all that bad. Incomes are still above $100,000. And there’s no safer place in the state than here.

Fact is, you could do a lot worse than Fairway if you make the state of Kansas your home. You can call Fairway the bomb diggity. They’d take that as a compliment.

4. Scott City



Unemployment rate: 2.4%
Schools: 2nd best
Crime: 6th lowest

Scott City is A-OK, where the ‘average Joes’ should move in Kansas if they value a great education, low crime, and most importantly, affordability. Homes here average under $84,000, so consider Scott City a steal.

The schools in Scott City rank 6th for student-teacher interaction, and the unemployment rate here is actually the 2nd lowest in Kansas as well.

Scott City is way out on Route 83, on the western side of the state. Your only downfall here might be sheer boredom.

5. Hugoton

best connecticut cities


School spending: Highest in KS
Adjusted incomes: 10th highest
Crime: 9th lowest

Hugoton is in the same boat as Scott City. Both are tiny, western Kansas cities with low crime and solid schools. Folks don’t earn huge salaries, but the cost of living adjustment makes it one of the most affordable places to live.

But again, you might be bored. You’re almost closer to Amarillo, Texas than you are to Dodge City.

6. Olathe

best connecticut cities

Source: City of Olathe on Facebook

Home values: 7th highest
Income: 13th highest
Crime: 22nd lowest

Back to the super duper Overland Park suburbs we go. Olathe is one of the most affordable suburbs in Johnson County, where crime is low, but not necessarily miniscule. And, while families are high earners, and the homes are large and beautiful, the schools are still much lower rated than they are in the boonies of western KS.

But there’s a lot more to do in this part of the state, obviously.

7. Beloit

best connecticut cities


Unemployment rate: 2.9%
Schools: 3rd best
Crime: 15th lowest

Way out on Route 24 in Mitchell County is the teeny speck of a town, Beloit. If you like wide open spaces like many other Kansans, this place has it made. It has some of the best schools in the state, low crime, and practically everyone has a job.

Farming must be big here, because there isn’t much industry for miles in any direction.

8. Lenexa

best connecticut cities

Source: Flickr user Woodbridge Fire Department

Home values: 4th highest in the state
Unemployment: 3.8%
Crime: Bottom 20%

Lenexa is another Overland Park ‘burb that seems to be the bees knees. It’s pretty clear when you look at the data that you have two choices with ‘best’ places to live in Kansas. An Overland Park suburb where homes are expensive and the schools are more overcrowded, or miles away from everyone, where the schools are good.

If you choose the latter, this list gives you an indication of where low crime exists.

9. Eudora

best connecticut cities


Unemployment: 3.9%
Incomes: 17th highest
Schools: Top 15%

Or, you can move to Eudora, which is just outside of Lawrence. Across the board, Eudora is pretty solid in all categories. Crime, schools and the cost of living are all in the top 15%. There isn’t one area that’s weak in Eudora, across the board.

Homes average about $157,000 each.

10. Prairie Village

best connecticut cities

Source: Google maps

Incomes: 6th highest
Home prices: 6th highest

We end this list back in the Overland Park area in Prairie Village. Here, families are high earners, and it’s relatively safe. The schools are slightly more crowded, and they receive a tad less spending than the other suburbs of Overland Park listed above.

A very hunky dory place to live, no doubt.

There You Have It

Looking at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Overland Park is the most desirable, according to science and data. But as most Kansas residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.

Other notable cities:

25. Overland Park
34. Manhattan
40. Hays
51. Lawrence
71. Wichita
3rd worst: Kansas City

We also wrote about the 10 worst places to live in Kansas if you want to read that story.

City Unemployment rate Rank
Leawood 3.50% 1
Mission Hills 4.00% 2
Fairway 4.00% 3
Scott City 2.40% 4
Hugoton 3.30% 5
Olathe 3.90% 6
Beloit 2.90% 7
Lenexa 3.80% 8
Eudora 3.90% 9
Prairie Village 4.00% 10
Lyons 3.00% 11
Spring Hill 4.00% 12
Baldwin City 3.90% 13
Shawnee 4.00% 14
Ellsworth 2.90% 15
Rose Hill 5.10% 16
Bel Aire 5.40% 17
Mulvane 5.40% 18
Goddard 5.40% 19
Gardner 4.00% 20
Kingman 3.00% 21
Basehor 5.30% 22
Mcpherson 3.10% 23
De Soto 4.00% 24
Overland Park 4.20% 25
Andover 5.10% 26
Colby 2.90% 27
Ulysses 3.10% 27
Merriam 4.00% 29
Maize 5.40% 30
Marysville 3.10% 31
Goodland 2.50% 32
Roeland Park 4.00% 33
Manhattan 3.40% 34
Russell 3.70% 35
Derby 5.40% 36
Pratt 2.90% 37
Louisburg 4.60% 38
Larned 3.90% 39
Hays 2.30% 40
Valley Center 5.40% 41
Edwardsville 6.60% 42
Park City 5.40% 43
Lansing 5.30% 44
Clay Center 3.80% 45
Garden City 3.50% 46
Abilene 4.60% 47
Hiawatha 3.80% 48
Paola 4.60% 49
Haysville 5.40% 50
Lawrence 3.90% 51
Salina 4.30% 52
Frontenac 4.60% 53
Great Bend 3.20% 54
Fort Riley 3.70% 55
Bonner Springs 6.60% 55
Dodge City 3.30% 57
Atchison 5.80% 58
Liberal 3.30% 59
Winfield 4.10% 60
Newton 4.10% 61
Mission 4.00% 62
Holton 4.00% 63
El Dorado 5.10% 64
Hutchinson 4.40% 64
Junction City 5.50% 66
Augusta 5.10% 67
Ottawa 5.20% 68
Garnett 4.70% 69
Leavenworth 6.00% 70
Wichita 5.60% 71
Columbus 4.80% 72
Wellington 4.90% 73
Independence 5.70% 74
Baxter Springs 4.80% 75
Arkansas City 4.10% 76
Concordia 2.90% 77
Topeka 5.30% 78
Iola 4.10% 79
Lindsborg 3.10% 80
Galena 4.80% 81
Wamego 3.80% 82
Chanute 5.60% 83
Osawatomie 4.60% 84
Hesston 4.10% 85
Emporia 4.80% 86
Fort Scott 4.30% 86
Pittsburg 4.60% 88
Tonganoxie 5.30% 89
Kansas City 6.70% 90
Parsons 6.40% 91
Coffeyville 5.70% 92

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7 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Kickass Places To Live In Kansas

  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.

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