kansas road sign and Kansas City downtown

Planning a move to Kansas?

In this article, you will learn many of the pros and cons for living in Kansas.

Kansas became a state in 1861. The skirmishes along the border between Kansas and Missouri as the citizens fought to keep it a free state offer an interesting view of the attitude of the population.

The people here are quite independent and the state has a lot to offer.

Kansas welcomes you sign at the state border

Key takeaways

  • The cost of living in Kansas is around 12% lower than the national average.
  • Kansas is known for heavy rains in the spring.
  • There are plenty of employment opportunities in Kansas for people who have a specialized trade.
  • There are many opportunities for education at all levels.
  • Kansas is a safe state, but there are high crime areas.
  • There are a lot of guns, and a background check is not required to buy one.


1) Cost of living

Pros: The cost of living is actually fairly cheap in Kansas. While real estate pressures have led to an increase in prices, it’s important to note that Kansas is not a popular tourist state, so the AirBNB saturation level is not high.

The cost of living in kansas is about 12% lower than the national average.

According to livingcost.org, the cost of living with rent for one person is $1766. For a family of 4, the cost of living is $4053.

Utilities are cheaper in Kansas than in nearby states, particularly your internet fees.

Many citizens take advantage of solar credits and the option to sell power back to the grid, though the rules on that will need to be studied to make sure you get the best deal.

You may find you get a better price if you lease a solar power system than purchase it.

Cons: Groceries are taxed in Kansas, and those taxes are generally higher in more urban areas. However, income taxes are lower for those who have their own businesses.

If you get a W-2, expect to pay approximately 6% income tax.

It is important to note that summers in Kansas can be extremely hot. Because most of Kansas was once an ocean bed, the heat doesn’t let up once the sun goes down.

From mid-May to the end of September, you will need air conditioning and it may well run 24 hours a day. October can also be warm.

cost of living - house and jar of coins

Climate

Pros: Despite what you may see in movies, Kansas is not constantly under attack from tornadoes. In fact, recent weather patterns indicate that tornado alley is actually drifting both south and east.

Winters in Kansas are generally dry and rather gray. If you do get snow, it seldom sticks around. Occasionally, Kansas will get freezing rain. As a general rule, you’ll get plenty of warning.

State and city road crews do an excellent job of sanding and salting most roads, but if you can stay home after an ice storm, do so.

Cons: Kansas has lovely shoulder seasons. October and November can often be quite cool. Days will be sunny, crisp and bright while the overnights provide a terrific cool down.

A typical Thanksgiving weather pattern includes temperatures near freezing overnight and a bright, 50 degree afternoon.

Springs in Kansas can be quite wet; April often offers a wonderful chance to watch the wheat fields green up and study the growth of the flowering trees.

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Do be aware that heavy rains can saturate the heavy soils often found in Kansas. If you’re in the market for a home, shopping in April and May can help you find a house that has a dry basement.

cartoon sketch of a tornado and small house with the saying "I have a feeling were not in Kansas anymore"

Job market

Pros: Kansas is home to many aircraft manufacturers and the companies that support them. It is quite something to watch a train travel through downtown Wichita loaded with airplane fuselages.

If you have an interest in engineering, you could enjoy a wonderful career in Kansas in aviation.

Metal workers and those with a sharp eye for detail can also earn a good living in Kansas. The world of aircraft is supported by tools that must undergo stringent testing and meet high standards of accuracy.

Even if you never touch a part that will go on a plane, you can build a hearty career in the technical support of aircraft and other high-detail industries.

Agriculture is also big business in Kansas. From the science of protein at Cargill to agricultural financing opportunities, you can find a niche in support of agriculture.

Wheat field in central Kansas
Wheat field in central Kansas

There are also many wonderful teaching opportunities in Kansas.

Kansas State University in Manhattan, the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Wichita State University in Wichita and Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas offer teachers and researchers marvelous opportunities to grow their careers and earn a good living.

Cons: It can be hard to build a career in Kansas without specialized training specific to your industry.

You may need to get your foot in the proverbial door and be open to additional schooling if you haven’t yet completed your degree.

You may also struggle to meet the national average for your salary because the cost of living is generally lower. Again, patience is key.

If you have a remote position and a competitive coastal salary, you can live very well in Kansas.

Check out: Pros and cons of living in North Carolina

Culture and lifestyle

It must be said that Kansas is a red state. If you would feel most comfortable living in a liberal environment, you will probably need to stick to one of the larger cities, such as Wichita or Lawrence.

Pros: Fans of the arts and history will find a great deal to do in Kansas. There are numerous army forts in Kansas that have been turned into learning centers about the history of what was once called Indian Territory.

From Fort Scott in eastern Kansas to the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, the history of the people of the plains and the culture of pioneers that expanded westward can all be studied in Kansas.

There are also excellent art museums in Kansas. The Wichita Art Museum offers a large collection of Chihuly glass, including a massive chandelier and a glass atrium.

Overland Park is the second most populous city in Kansas and is known for it’s numerous festivals, theatres, and music.

Stamp or label with text Overland Park, Kansas inside, vector illustration

The Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence offers endlessly rotating displays and writings of many artists, both local and international.

If you are considering a move to Kansas, make sure you don’t shut down your tastebuds. There are many places in Kansas that will dazzle you. Can you get a terrific steak? Of course you can!

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You can also get terrific sushi, wonderful Vietnamese, and amazing Lebanese cuisine. Kansas churches have long sponsored immigrants looking to build a better life.

Many of these folks chose to share their cuisine with the people of Kansas. If you’re in Wichita, make sure you visit the N & J Bakery and Café.

Cons: Small towns in Kansas have struggled a great deal to hold onto their identity. The events of 2020 were very tough on small businesses across the nation, but rural America seems to have suffered more than urban settings.

While you can probably find a fairly cheap home in rural Kansas, you may struggle to find easy ways to take care of basic needs, such as convenient shopping.

Cultural opportunities may be even fewer and farther between. As rural America grows older, resistance to change and a poor understanding of the need for technological advances has left many Kansas towns literally in the dust.

To that end, you may have an easier time building a life in the bedroom communities around larger cities.

If you want a home with some land, cities near Wichita such as Clearwater and El Dorado may be the perfect fit.

You will be close enough to a larger town to enjoy good shopping and a healthy job market while enjoying a lower cost of living.

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Education

Pros: Kansas is justly proud of the many opportunities for higher education within the state. Additionally, there are many excellent elementary, middle and high schools in the state.

For example, there are multiple ways that high school students in Kansas can earn college credits while still in high school.

Many private universities work with local high school teachers to develop classes that will not only prepare high school students for college but help them build strong study skills and independent preparatory habits that will serve them well once they graduate from high school.

Cons: Depending on your feelings about the conservative educational trends sweeping the nation, Kansas may make you nervous.

The state school board has bounced back and forth about the teaching of evolution, for example.

While you do have the option to teach your child at home or send them to a private school, it’s a very good idea to meet with your child’s teacher before you enroll them to determine the best way forward for your family.

A group of young children getting on the schoolbus

Safety

Pros: Of course, Kansas has some risky weather. However, Kansas also has some of the most up-to-date meteorological science in the world.

Kansas is also well-prepared for winter storms that bring both ice and snow.

Kansas is generally a safe state to live in. Although there are many areas that have high crime rates.

If your personal protection is a concern, you can open carry. There is no background check for purchasing a firearm.

Cons: There are a lot of guns in Kansas, and not all carriers are skilled at handling them.

If you plan in buying in one of the larger cities, be aware that urban centers across the United States suffer the challenges of poverty and violence.

Kansas is no different. Rent before you buy to reduce the risk of investing in a dangerous neighborhood.

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