Kansas is a blanket of plains and prairie lands that produce wheat and corn. A slice of classic America with its rugged cowboy culture, Kansas has always been a welcoming land. When you have desired to move to the breadbasket of the United States, you would have weighed both the pros and cons of living in Kansas but may have missed out a few. Our Kansas guide can brief you more about it.
Kansas is rich in American history and takes pride in its glorious past. The ‘Sunflower State’ got its name from the Kansas River which in turn was named after the Kansas Native Americans who lived along its banks. A state since 1861, Kansas is primarily an agrarian economy and is one of the largest producers of wheat, corn, soybean, sorghum, and cattle meat in the country.
Let us now walk through some of the pros and cons of moving to Kansas. And we will start with the pros section.
Pros and Cons of Living in Kansas State
The cost of living in Kansas is much lower than you’d expect it to be
What attracts most of the people to Kansas is that it’s extremely cheap to live here. The cost of living in the rural parts of Kansas is 21% lower than the national average, while the median family household earns about $55,000 per year. Now you can imagine how cheap it is to live in Kansas.
But do not mistake that only the rural belt of Kansas is cheap. Even big cities like Wichita, Topeka, and Overland City are highly affordable in comparison with cities like San Francisco, Oklahoma City, Houston, or Aurora. And that’s the reason why almost here has a fit and happy lifestyle.
Kansas is also a major producer of domestic use and manufacturing needed consumer products and as a result, the items cost less here. Lower demand levels also help this situation, especially from a housing standpoint.
Housing is highly affordable here
The housing cost is a major factor in deciding the state’s livability. And in this case, Kansas is an extremely fortunate location. The housing costs are highly impressive here – $1, 37,000, which is much lower than the national median cost of $231,200. Kansas ranks 8th in housing cost.
And the affordability is not just limited to housing cost but even for house rent. A two-bedroom apartment in Kansas costs around $821 a month which is lower than the national average.
Here’s the list of places to buy affordable homes in Kansas
- Arkansas City
- Bel Aire
- Park City
Kansas is the home of some of the best barbecue you can find
When someone asks what is special about Kansas, the answer is ‘barbeque’. Kansas-style barbeque is the best in the US for its preparation style. It is slow-smoked over a variety of woods before often being topped with a thick tomato and molasses-based sauce. It is almost impossible to find a bad joint here but there are umpteen options to try an excellent barbeque in Kansas.
To your surprise, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman, all were big fans of Kansas-style barbeque. Do you need more proof of its quality?
The local country club culture is amazing
While researching about the pros and cons of moving to Kansas, you might have definitely learned about the local country clubs here. Moving to Kansas, you get more opportunities to be a part of the local club culture.
Initially, the clubs were the source of getting the best beer and liquor due to past laws. But now they are icons of the past and most of these cubs have a history of more than a century. Wichita Country Club is one among them offering swimming, pickleball, tennis, and a full fitness facility in addition to golf.
Despite having a long glorious past and amazing infrastructure, most of these clubs have affordable membership fees. You can join a gym there or play golf at reasonable rates. Also, these clubs are some of the best dining options within many miles of radius.
There’s no shortage of recreation venues in Kansas
When you study the pros and cons of living in Kansas, you will realize that the state is packed with fun venues and entertainment options – both indoor and outdoor. Since Kansas was once a rich cowboy state, the traces of its glorious past is still seen intact here. Kansas has a tranquil, historical, and natural ambiance that’s preserved in historical areas like Boot Hill and Fort Larned.
Let’s take a look at some of the best attractions in Kansas
- Botanica, The Wichita Gardens
701 Amidon Street, Wichita, Kansas
Spread over 17.6 acres, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens is a part of the city-owned Wichita Park System and is operated by Botanica, Inc. It is open year-round and there are 30 themed gardens to explore, including the Butterfly Gardens and the Koi pond pavilions. The garden also has 4,000 species of plants.
- Kansas State Capitol
SW 10th and SW Jackson, Topeka
The French Renaissance-style Capitol complex is spread over 20 acres in the heart of downtown Topeka and is considered a treasure among architectural enthusiasts. There is a free Dome Tour in which you can walk up the 296 steps for a close-up view of the dome and a spectacular panoramic view of Topeka from the top.
- Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home
200 SE 4th Street, Abilene
The boyhood home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Presidential Library is dedicated to the great President and his contributions to American politics and society. The five-building complex is a museum that exhibits the archives relating to Eisenhower.
- Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
2 miles north of Strong City on K-177
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Kansas Flint Hills is a spot to experience the majesty of a tallgrass prairie for which Kansas was once famous. It is one of the few places in the US to experience tallgrass prairie.
- Boot Hill
500 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd, Dodge City
The Boot Hill Museum is your key to the old cowboy days of Kansas. The city hasn’t changed much since the 1870s. There are thousands of artifacts and photographs depicting Dodge City in its early years from businesses to the social scene. Here, you get a glimpse of how a saloon or a bar or a grocery shop looked like in the old cowboy days.
- Evel Knievel Museum
2047 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka
A museum in the memory of Evel Knievel, the famous daredevil stuntman; the building has an impressive collection of artifacts. Here, you can try the 4D jump experience or the Broken Bones interactive display to get the full scope of what living life on the edge is like.
- Spenser Museum of Art
1301 Mississippi Street, Lawrence
The only art museum in the entire state, Spenser Museum of Art has more than 45,000 pieces in all forms of media. The art collection includes African, Asian, European, American, Latin American, and Native American art, and there are regularly changing exhibitions that focus on various artists and mediums.
- Monument Rocks
South of Oakley, Grove County
Located about 20 miles south of Oakley in western Kansas and accessible near US-83, Monument Rocks is a national landmark which is also called Chalk Pyramids. This is believed to have formed about 80 million years ago.
- Fort Larned National Historic Site
US Highway 156, Larned
An army post of the 1860s where troops were housed, Fort Larned National Historic Site has a fort and other buildings that have been preserved from when Buffalo Bill came through the area. There are a few exhibits and educational programs conducted here focusing on history buffs.
- The Keeper of the Plains
650 North Seneca Street, Wichita, Kansas
This is a 44-feet tall statue standing over the public plaza where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers merge through downtown. The land in the area is sacred to Native Americans, and the plaza commemorates the important history and role that Native Americans have in the area.
- Kansas Speedway
400 Speedway Boulevard, Kansas City
This is a speed track that hosts about 200 motorsports events annually including NASCAR touring series. Richard Petty Driving Experience is another event that is being held many times a year.
It takes less time to commute in Kansas
The traffic is light in Kansas and it is easy to drive through rural Kansas for various purposes. A drive to another town will take just 30-60 minutes in Kansas rural and cities; the average commute time is less than 25 minutes.
The distance between rural towns will be large but with less traffic and good roads, you can conveniently reach the destination in an acceptable time. Kansas is the 5th shortest commute in the United States for an area of its size. If you are used to the long commutes in Chicago or Los Angeles, traveling within Kansas will be more of bliss.
Kansas is not just all about perfection but there are both pros and cons of moving to Kansas. Let’s now analyze some of the drawbacks of living in the Sunflower State.
The climate is extreme and irritating at times
In Kansas, there are three different climates – humid sub-tropical conditions in the southern part of the state, a humid continental atmosphere in the central and east, and semi-arid in the west. You need to think about which one suits you the best before moving to Kansas.
Summers are extremely hot in Kansas and winters can be too harsh and cold. In summers, the temperature will touch an extreme 81 °F and in the winter, it will down to an average of 31°F.
Heat waves are common in Kansas and when you believe Kansas can offer you more sunshine days, remember that it comes with a heavy price. During the winter, cold waves are also common.
Tornadoes are common in Kansas
It may sound unbelievable but Kansas is hit by about 50 tornadoes every year. As per the National Weather Service, there have been at least 60 twisters in the state every year since 1996. And in 2019, at least 8 tornadoes hit the state for 12 consecutive days. Moving here, you need to be prepared to accept flashfloods as well.
You need a car here; otherwise, you cannot travel outside
Earlier we told you that Kansas is almost traffic-free and commuting is fast and easy. However, that is applicable when you own a car here. Kansas has several small communities, each located at faraway distances and the biggest problem is the absence of a robust transport system.
Kansas might have the third-largest highway system behind Texas and California, but there are no means of transport available here. Outside major cities, you need to have a car to have a smooth routine life.
Kansas taxes can kill you
Ask anyone from Kansas what he dislikes the most and the answer will be the tax system here. Kansas tax system is notorious for its 10.6% sales tax – a combo of sales, state, and country tax. Kansas has the 14th highest property tax. So do not assume Kansas’s living cost to be extremely low as taxes can take the fun away.
You need to know that always ‘specials’ exist for your home
Houses are indeed affordable in Kansas. They are cheaper here than any other state in the country. But there are ‘specials’ that come along with it. When a developer develops a home or a new neighborhood, the cost is not included in your housing cost instead the city pays for the work. And you pay a monthly cost interest, sometimes for up to 20 years.
This ‘special’ cost along with utilities, taxes, and property fees can put you out of the ‘affordable’ tag, especially when you live in urban areas.
You are always far away from utilities
Kansas is sparsely populated and the distance you need to travel for many common utilities is huge. This may not be applicable if you are living in Wichita or Kansas City but when you are living in another part of Kansas, you need to travel 2-3 hours for a movie or a good restaurant. Otherwise, you need to compromise with local dining options. It’s your call.
When you’re tired of life at a high pace and need to settle down at a calm and collected ambiance, there’s no place better than Kansas. You can analyze the pros and cons of moving to Kansas and decide if the state is right for you or not. If a laid back life filled with fresh air and good scenic vistas are your calls for happiness, you should consider calling Kansas your home.