Lee’s Summit is No. 19 out of 50 of America’s best cities to live in, according to new findings published by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news organization based in Delaware.
For its rankings, 24/7 Wall St. used publicly available data to study crime statistics, demography, economy, education, environment, health, housing, infrastructure and leisure for nearly 600 U.S. cities with populations greater than 65,000 in 2016 in determining the “most livable” cities in the country.
The top 50 cities were revealed in a report published Oct. 12 to the company’s website.
At No. 19, 24/7 Wall St. described Lee’s Summit as “an ideal city” with a low violent-crime rate and an affordable place to live with a healthy job market.
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“There were only 109 violent crimes in Lee’s Summit for every 100,000 residents in 2016, a fraction of the state and national violent crime rates last year,” 24/7 Wall St. said in its explanation.
“Low housing costs also leave area residents with more disposable income. The typical area home is worth only 2.5 times the city’s median household income. In comparison, the typical U.S. home is worth about 3.6 times the median income nationwide.”
To Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads, it’s a pretty good ranking.
“I think it’s indicative of a number of things, and a lot of people don’t realize this, but financially, we’re a triple-A-rated city,” Rhoads said, pointing to the police, fire, parks and recreation, and public works departments. “There are not a whole lot of those around. Secondly, four of our departments are nationally accredited. We’re one of only 10 cities in the United States that have four accredited departments.”
Rhoads added, “It’s a nice, family-oriented community that I think families feel safe in.”
The 24/7 Wall St. report also noted the city’s access to jobs with its proximity to Kansas City, though Lee’s Summit is not the only Kansas City suburb that was included on the list.
Olathe, with a population of more than 135,000 just across the state border, checked in at No. 23.
“Poverty is quite low in Olathe, Kansas,” the report said. “Only 5.6 (percent) of city residents live below the poverty line, less than half the statewide poverty rate of 12.2 (percent). The area’s relative financial security is due in part to a strong job market. Only 3.2 (percent) of Olathe’s workforce are out of a job, well below the 4.2 (percent) statewide unemployment rate and the 4.9 (percent) U.S. rate.”
24/7 Wall St. also noted Olathe’s affordable home market, which typically costs only 2.6 times the area’s median household income.
Other Missouri and Kansas cities on the list were O’Fallon, Mo., which checked in No. 8, and Lawrence (No. 33).
The No. 1 spot went to Carmel, Ind., a city of more than 90,000 located just north of Indianapolis.