These three Kansas cities rank among the country's 100 best places to live, study says

Isabella Rosario Ben Yoder
Topeka Capital-Journal

Overland Park, Manhattan and Lawrence rank among some of the U.S.'s best small and mid-size American cities, according to a study conducted by in partnership with Ipsos.

Only two cities were ranked higher than Overland Park, which came in at No. 3 in the survey. Manhattan was rated No. 81, while Lawrence was 84. 

The 2021 list was guided by a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, who were asked about which "livability characteristics" they value, according to a news release. Respondents were asked which factors they would consider when choosing to relocate, and how their needs and priorities have changed since the start of the pandemic.

Small to mid-size U.S. cities were ranked on 50 data points based on the following categories:

  •     Economics
  •     Housing
  •     Amenities
  •     Infrastructure
  •     Demographics
  •     Social and civic capital
  •     Education
  •     Health care
Overland Park was the third best U.S. city to live in, according to a survey conducted by in partnership with Ipsos.

Overland Park was highlighted as the "gateway to Kansas City." Still, the suburban city, the second largest in Kansas, had plenty of its own amenities, including "great schools, affordable homes, and plenty of ways to stay entertained," according to Livability.

As home to Kansas State University, Manhattan had "great access to education," according to Livability. Manhattan also scored high for its affordability and quality of health care.

Like Manhattan, Lawrence scored high for education, as home to Kansas University. Lawrence has "great schools, a strong economy, tons of entertainment and outdoor options," according to Livibility.

This year's list by Livability was shaped by how the pandemic has increased remote work, the news release said.

“These past two years have shown us how important it is that the places we live meet our needs and offer up affordability, opportunity and plenty of amenities," said Cara Sanders, managing editor. "If we can work from anywhere, then these 100 cities are places you would want to live and make remote workers’ needs a top priority.”

While more Americans are working from home now than before March 2020, remote employees still make up a minority of the U.S. workforce. The peak of telework was in May 2020, when 35% of U.S. workers were working remotely, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By the end of this summer, just 13.4% were working from home.

Still, the majority of U.S. white-collar workers work remotely, and around 40% of them would prefer to continue doing so, according to a May Gallup poll. Workers in education also report high remote-work rates, the poll found, but only 19% want to continue working from home.

Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames (Iowa) Tribune.Ben Yoder is a digital producer with the USA Today Network.