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Where are the best places in the Kentucky? They are the places that have awesome economies. They're also the places where people have the best jobs, where residents are happily married, and where the sun shines the most.
And certainly, since crime is really low, everyone wants to be there. It's literally all sunshine and rainbows in this flyover state.
And these places offer the most rainbow and sunshine when it comes to living in Kentucky - we would say they are the best places to live in Kentucky.
How you might ask? We looked at the 75 most populated cities in the Bluegrass State for this study to see which ones have the best quality of life, low crime, and booming economies.
The cities at the top are places where things are going swimmingly right now, at least according to data.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it's hard to argue against. We had more than ten million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.
So, we know what we're talking about.
What city is the best place to live in Kentucky for 2021? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Fort Thomas is the best place to live in Kentucky if you care about a good education, low crime, and a high quality of life.
Looking more at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Fort Thomas is the most desirable, according to science and data.
But as most Kentucky residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Kentucky
- Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Kentucky
The 10 Best Places To Live In Kentucky For 2021
If you're looking to live in Kentucky, there's no better time than the present and there's no better place than the state's best place to live, Fort Thomas. In a nutshell, this is because there are a bunch of hard-working Kentuckians in Fort Thomas. The unemployment rate here is the lowest in the state at 2.9%. Needless to say, we were not surprised to find that this city is one of the richest cities in the state as well.
Located along the Ohio River along the Ohio River just over the bridge from Cincinnati, Fort Thomas is a city of rich history that will accommodate every stage of life--great schools and safe parks for kids, multiple distilleries and breweries for parents after the kids are put to bed.
If you're a young professional, a href="https://www.newportonthelevee.com/">Newport on the Levee in downtown Fort Thomas has cool co-working spaces and electric night-life, and if you're ready to retire, the cost of living here will allow you to stretch your retirement budget much further.
What's new and exciting in Edgewood? Funny you should ask: this city has the 6th best home price and the 6th best unemployment rate making it the 2nd best place to live in The Bluegrass State.
But, don't get it confused--you will need to make at least $104,912/year to afford the median home price of $225,600 and the overall higher cost of living in this small town of 8,745 residents.
And if you don't have a job yet, don't fret: you'll be amongst people who know the value of work and it shows with the city's 2.4% unemployment rate and a poverty rate well below the national average at 2.2%. They really do look out for each other in this little corner of Kenton County. The crime rate here is over 70% below the national average making it one of the safest cities in Kentucky. Simply put, folks, there were only 67 crimes committed at the time of this report, and 90% of them were property related.
There are currently 5,745 Kentucky residents that are living their best life where Route 1072 meets Route 17 in the 3rd best place to live in the Bluegrass State, Fort Wright.
How and why are things easy peasy in Fort Wright? Well, for one they have the 2nd in the state at 1.9%. The SnackAbility indicators that stood out in this small town in Kenton County at the time of our report were affordability, safety, and education. But, you will need to make at least $85,794/year to pay the $201,900 price tag for a home.
However, when we brokedown Fort Wright's cost of living, we found that you will pay much less for your utilities compared to the state average--so, you can rest easy every time you take that 20 minute shower. We also discovered that you will feel comfortable and confident in your surroundings as the cost of living in Fort Wright is well below the state and national average--there were only 76 crimes reported here.
Villa Hills: some call it The South's Wonderland, we call it Kentucky's 4th best place to live for 2021.
Villa Hills is the second Ohio River city to grace our list and it just so happens that it has the second highest SnackAbility score as well. Yes, Villa Hills scored a 9.5/10 for high marks in overall cost of living, safety, and education. You know what's even better than that--if you make the city's household median income of $90,929/year, you can score a sweet real estate deal considering Villa Hills has the 7th at $220,200.
A competitive median income to complement the city's cost of living only means that you'll have the extra cash to take your kids out to celebrate the report cards they get from some of the best schools in the state.
You'll also have the funds to enjoy the fun things that people who have life figured out in Villa Hills like to do: for example, biking around Embshoff Woods or spending an entire day getting your hat "Pinterest ready" for the annual Kentucky Derby.
Get ready to roll out the red carpet Cold Spring--you are Kentucky's 5th best place to live.
Cold Spring takes the old phrase "stick with what you know--stick with what you're good at" and upped the ante. Basically, if you want to play in the big leagues, you're going to have to have the SnackAbility scores like Cold Spring.
Cold Springs may have dropped a rank on our list, but they are first in the hearts of its 6,401 residents for many reasons. And those reasons are the following: the city's unemployment rate is the 5th best in the state at 3.7%. The cost of living in Cold Spring is also super affordable. (You'll be happy to know that groceries and utilities are less expensive in Cold Spring than the state and national average combined.)
However, if you choose to buy a home here instead of renting first, get ready to pay the 10th highest home price in the state at $196,200. But, the best thing about Cold Spring is that it is super safe. In fact, the crime rate here is quite a bit lower than the state and national average.
Widen your horizons and give Kentucky's 6th best place to live, Douglass Hills, a chance--you'll be happy that you did. Not only do home prices clock in at $256,300 making Douglass Hills the 3rd best place in terms of home price to income level ($74,485) and overall cost of living, it has the 7th lowest unemployment rate at 2.5%. The city's low poverty rate also proves that whatever Douglass Hills is doing is working. (It also doesn't hurt Douglass Hills' cause that they have some of the smartest residents in the state--if you don't have your Bachelor's or Master's Degree, consider yourself behind the game.)
And when you're not putting your nose to the grindstone in this southern gem, there are a lot of ways to blow off some steam. You can choose to play in Douglass Hills' backyard for the day at Warren Walker Park or Running Creek Park or you can take advantage of Douglass Hills' proximity to everything the Bluegrass State has to offer: exciting day trips that showcase that good, clean Kentucky bluegrass livin' are mere 22 minutes away in Louisville.
If you are looking for "more," you will definitely find "more" in Kentucky's 7th best place to live, Wil-More.
Yep, the "Kindest town in Kentucky the United States" has it goin' on! It scored one of the top five highest SnackAbility scores on our list with an emphasis on safety, education, amenities, and commute times. Not to mention, Wilmore's low cost of living has made it one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and Kentucky's youngsters are starting to take notice. Wilmore has the youngest population at 26 and we're wondering why this city of 6,335 residents in Jessamine County is not one of the best places for singles in the state?
But, sometimes "less" is "more," especially when it comes to crime. And, folks, Wilmore is safe. We're not saying leave your front doors unlocked, but if you choose to buy your forever home here, just know that the town's crime rate crime rate is one of the lowest in the state. In fact, there were only 60 crimes committed here last year and most of them were property related.
Sometimes, there is nothing quite like being around others your own age. And Middletown, a city that was once a neighborhood of Louisville, has a median age that skews more mature, coming in at 45.
People here have taken enough trips around the sun to know a thing or two about life, and their street and book smarts are paying off well career-wise. The city's residents earn a median household income of $75,098, making its typical $215,100 house a realistic option. And whether community members bring home the big bucks or not, at least they do not have to worry about being out of a job since Middletown has a 3.5% unemployment rate.
It is not all work and no play here though. One of the area's most popular attractions, Renaissance Fun Park, gives both young and old the chance to let loose with classic games like mini golf, laser tag and bumper cars.
Hey y'all, raise a cheer for the 9th best place to live in Kentucky, Fort Mitchell.
The second "Fort" to make our list, Fort Mitchell should be re-named Fort Knox 2.0 as it's super safe--one of the safest places in the state. To put this in perspective, the crime rate here is close to 70% below the national average.
But if you know anything about this Northern Kentucky Goldenrod, it's the good 'ol fashioned southern hospitality of the 8,257 residents that live in this small town that draws people to this place, and it's the town's overall cost of living that makes them stay. And while it might be slightly higher than the state and national average, the excess has funded great schools and great communities. So, while you might have to pay the highest home median price in the state ($272,200), know that you are funding the city's future.
Welcome to the big dance, Bellevue. We knew it wouldn't be long before you joined the ranks of the rest of Kentucky's best places to live. Up ten spots from last year, Bellevue has recently racked up accolades for being the 10th best place to live in Kentucky as well as one of the most affordable in terms of cost of living.
You can get a home in Bellevue for $136,400 making it one of the cheapest places to live in Kentucky. However, the residents here are some of the highest earning Kentuckians in the state with the household median income at $63,415/year. So, we were not at all surprised to find that Bellevue is one of the richest places in the state as well.
The third leg to this Triple Crown is Bellevue's low crime rate. In fact, when we pulled Bellevue's numbers, there were only 84 crimes recorded and most of them were property related.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Kentucky
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Frankfort with a population of 27,680 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 75 cities, 156 towns, and 250 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Kentucky 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 Kentucky
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Kentucky across a number of criteria from one to 75, 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 Kentucky".
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 Kentucky? That would be Fort Thomas.
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 Kentucky.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Fort Thomas at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Kentucky
If you're looking at areas in Kentucky with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Fort Thomas made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Kentucky for 2021.
Best Towns To Live In Kentucky
- Indian Hills (Pop. 2,953)
- Audubon Park (Pop. 1,449)
- Windy Hills (Pop. 2,203)
- Hurstbourne (Pop. 4,343)
- Beechwood Village (Pop. 1,368)
- St. Regis Park (Pop. 1,453)
- Orchard Grass Hills (Pop. 1,787)
- Barbourmeade (Pop. 1,391)
- Crestview Hills (Pop. 3,327)
- Lakeside Park (Pop. 2,762)
Best Small Towns To Live In Kentucky
- Thornhill (Pop. 281)
- Norbourne Estates (Pop. 374)
- Maryhill Estates (Pop. 184)
- Strathmoor Manor (Pop. 374)
- Crossgate (Pop. 278)
- Glenview Hills (Pop. 450)
- Mockingbird Valley (Pop. 134)
- Bellewood (Pop. 300)
- Rolling Fields (Pop. 801)
- Riverwood (Pop. 525)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Kentucky according to the data:
- Oak Grove (Pop. 7,338)
- Somerset (Pop. 11,447)
- Mayfield (Pop. 9,867)
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Kentucky
- Richest Cities In Kentucky
- Safest Places In Kentucky
- Worst Places To Live In Kentucky