Diving into the list, which ranks pricey homes and the rich and single (a combination of the single population and average income), a few other area towns have desirable traits, even if they aren't among the best places to live. Manhattan, Kansas, has the shortest median commute in the nation at 11.2 minutes for the sixth youngest population (25.6 years old is the median age). Shawnee, Kansas, has the 21st cleanest air.
In the ranking of small cities by cost of housing, average income, and quality of life (restaurants, leisure and culture, and education are among the categories), the magazine says:
There's no lack of town spirit in Overland Park. Independent shops line downtown streets and residents rave about their friendly neighbors. Residents and visitors alike flock to the biweekly farmers' market, known as one of the best in the area, and enjoy the 300-acre arboretum, world-class soccer fields, and a re-created turn-of-the-century family farm. The biggest knock on the city is that its fortunes depend heavily on its largest employer, Sprint. There have been no layoffs lately, however, and a half-dozen midsize firms moved to town in the past year. Nightlife is a little skimpy, but Kansas City is nearby for a late night escape.
In 2011, Liberty, Missouri, was named the seventh best small town. Carmel, Indiana, was named this year's best city to live, while O'Fallon was the top Missouri city at 39th. Olathe sneaked in at 57th.
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