Moving to Kansas: State Relocation Guide
Kansas is one of the best-kept secrets in America. With fewer than 3 million residents on over 82,000 square miles, there is plenty of room for everyone. You get a small-town feel, low cost of living, and, of course, Kansas-style barbeque.
You have a lot to look forward to if you’re moving to Kansas. Still, like most significant life changes, moving to a new location creates stress and worry over the unknown. You can eliminate some of that stress by learning the ins and outs of Kansas living.
Knowing as much as you can about a state and its major cities can help you make an informed decision and ease the transition if you decide to move. This guide provides everything you need to know about living in Kansas, including the climate, the quality of the education, and where to live.
If you love sunshine and sunflowers, you will love living in Kansas. Kansas ranks as one of the top ten states for sunny days. It’s also called the “Sunflower State”—thanks to its wide-open spaces and flat terrain, sunflowers grow everywhere and make for a beautiful Kansas sunset.
However, Kansas weather can change in a flash, so make sure you’re on the lookout for a sudden wind that can turn into a storm. The hottest and coldest recorded temperatures in Kansas are 160° apart—121℉ in the summer and -40℉ in the winter. Although these extremes don’t happen every year, Kansas does experience hot summers and cold winters.
Because of the flat terrain and quickly changing weather, it is a prime location for tornadoes. Of US states, Kansas has the second-highest number of tornadoes every year, with an average of 96.
Between the heat index and natural disasters, you need to be ready for strange weather when living in Kansas. Make sure you have a tornado shelter and a plan for the extremely hot weather.
Taxes in Kansas
Overall, taxes in Kansas are low compared to the rest of the country. While they aren’t the lowest in the country, they are reasonable compared to the surrounding states.
For personal income taxes, your tax rate depends on your income.
If you make less than $15,000/year, your tax rate is 3.10%, whereas making $30,001 or more increases your tax rate to 5.70%.
Just as the personal income tax rates make it affordable for people to live in Kansas, you can say the same for businesses. In Kansas, an operating company pays a flat rate of 4% with an additional 3% for income over $50,000.
Even with a possible total of 7%, Kansas still ranks in the middle of the pack for business tax rates in the country. This enables businesses to save money, encouraging them to stay in Kansas and add to the growing job market in the state.
Job Opportunities and Costs in Kansas
This is where Kansas really shines. Yes, it has interesting weather, beautiful sunflowers, and decent tax rates, but the low cost of living and innumerable job opportunities make it a great place to work, too. Kansas ranks 16th in the country for job opportunities.
It’s also ranked 21st for employment and 34th for economic growth.
Although job growth rises at a slower rate than the national average, plenty of opportunities are available throughout the entire state.
Kansas’ three primary industries are agriculture, manufacturing for transportation equipment, and industrial and computer machinery.
Agriculture is the heart of the Kansas economy. Its main crop is wheat, which is why Kansas is sometimes referred to as the Wheat State. As the largest wheat exporter and the biggest miller of wheat flour in the country, America relies heavily on Kansas as a food producer.
While the need for wheat is constantly growing, so is the demand for meat. Kansas has a thriving meatpacking industry and is home to some of the nation’s largest stockyards.
Kansas is an above-average state for employment. Part of the reason for this is that Kansas’ unemployment rate (3.8%) is far lower than the US average. People flock to Kansas for work because of its affordable housing.
The cost of living in Kansas is nearly 17% lower than the national average, and median home prices are roughly half the cost of the average US home. You can save thousands of dollars just by moving to Kansas.
The average income for a Kansas resident is $27,367 per year. The median household income is $51,872, which is only $2,000 lower than the national average.
In other words, you and your partner can make the same amount as the average household in a major US city but spend half as much money on a house. Kansas offers many of its residents the potential for financial freedom with its affordable living.
While the cost of living in Kansas is lower than in most states, healthcare costs are comparable to the national average. But when you begin diving into the numbers and looking deeper, there are some things you need to know about healthcare in Kansas.
For starters, there are fewer physicians per 100,000 people than the national average. Kansas has 196 physicians per 100,000 residents, whereas the rest of the country averages 210.
Additionally, the general public health is not very good. The obesity rate is higher than in the rest of the country, at about 35%. And a high obesity rate naturally increases the risk of heart conditions and other difficulties.
Kansas’ healthcare system ranks 41st overall in the nation, but lawmakers aren’t ignoring the state’s challenges.
Kansas public health leaders are aware of the poor healthcare system and are working to rectify the situation. They’ve created the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) to identify and address the most vital needs.
According to the foundation, very few Kansas residents have access to affordable healthcare or even nearby physicians. KHF is working with several partners to expand affordable healthcare and improve services in the state.
One of the perks of moving to Kansas is its education system. The state’s K-12 education system is middle of the pack, but its higher education system is in the top 15 in the country.
Not only do Kansas public schools have a higher graduation rate than the national average, but many of its higher education graduates graduate with less debt.
Kansas has two large universities: the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. These schools rank #122 and #162 in the nation. Both have excellent education programs and spectacular athletic programs.
But Kansas offers more than major universities. For students who prefer smaller schools, Kansas has ten colleges and universities in the top 100 for regional Midwest schools. These schools include:
- Benedictine College
- Bethel College
- McPherson College
- Kansas Wesleyan University
- Sterling College
- Ottawa University
- Tabor College
- Emporia State University
- Pittsburg State University
- Friends University
Overall, as you can see in the chart above, Kansas boasts high graduation rates for all levels of education.
Many things make Kansas famous. While everyone recalls The Wizard of Oz when thinking of the Wheat State, there are other notable highlights that make it a great place to live.
Kansas has some of the best food in the Midwest. Kansas City-style barbecue is some of the tastiest food in the country, and Kansans are proud of their contribution to American cuisine.
Like most Midwest states, basketball is incredibly popular. Love for the sport permeates every aspect of life. And with highly touted talent at the large universities, families can choose to support the University of Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, or Wichita State University Shockers.
But basketball isn’t the only big sport in Kansas. The Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals are the local professional football and baseball teams, although they are located on the Missouri side of the city. Each team has won a championship in the last ten years, so Kansans are used to a winning culture.
You can also find plenty of thrills while living in Kansas. The Schlitterbahn Water Park is home to the most “insane” water slide in the world—Verruckt, which means “insane” in German.
This water slide brings people from all over the country to experience speeds up to 70 mph.
If you’re moving to Kansas, get ready to experience a virtual flatland. The rumor about Kansas being as flat as a pancake is not all talk. Most of the state is indeed flat. However, there are some rolling hills that give the waving seas of golden grain some depth.
The song “Home on the Range” is a perfect description of Kansas. Kansas perfectly identifies with this song because the state produces enough grain to make 33 billion loaves yearly.
Unfortunately, the history of Kansas is not all sunflowers and rainbows. One of Kansas’ nicknames is “Bleeding Kansas.” Dating back to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, when Kansas was looking to become a state, there was a lot of debate about whether it would be a “free” or “slave” state.
As more people came to the state to settle the dispute, the conflict turned ugly, and many died due to the violence.
The famous Brown vs. Board of Education case and ruling took place in Topeka, Kansas. This case determined that the “separate but equal” policy instituted by school districts across the South was not constitutional.
Best Places to Live in Kansas
There are many benefits to living in Kansas: it is affordable, and there is plenty to do, especially in larger cities. And while some aspects might deter some people, Kansas offers a pace of life that many people envy.
In the event you are ready to move here or begin a preliminary investigation, here are some things you need to know before settling down in Kansas:
- The weather can change instantly, so make sure you pack clothes for a range of temperatures.
- Travel with your essential documents in hand, like your driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card, medical records, vehicle registration, and voter registration card.
- Whether you are coming from a nearby state or clear across the country, set up your car transport plans ahead of time. Transporting vehicles is a stressful part of moving, but it doesn’t have to be. When you ship your vehicle, you can have peace of mind that your car will be there for you when you arrive.
Once you have these things covered, you can begin looking at the three best Kansas cities to settle down in. If you’re considering moving to Kansas, you’ll want to explore Prairie Village, Roeland Park, and Lenexa. These three are some of the best places in Kansas, and they are all located in Johnson County.
Prairie Village is a great place to live. It is the best city in Kansas and #39 in the US because of its low crime rates and excellent school systems. However, residing in Prairie Village comes with a higher cost of living than other parts of the state.
Located just south of Kansas City proper, living in Prairie Village means you’re only 20 minutes away from all the fun activities in the city. Also, Prairie Village is on the state line between Kansas and Missouri, so you can easily cross the border to go to Arrowhead Stadium or explore the Ozarks.
Roeland Park is a more affordable option than Prairie Village, and it is much closer to Kansas City. In 15 minutes, you can get into Kansas City’s downtown and experience all the great restaurants and entertainment.
Roeland Park is much smaller than the other towns on this list, so it is perfect for singles or families who prefer to live in a small town nearby the amenities of larger cities.
Lenexa is the largest of the cities on this list, but that is perfect for someone who wants more affordable living outside KC. While the cost of living in Lenexa is higher than the Kansas state average, paying a little more for housing comes with great perks.
Several nearby parks, trails, and rivers, like the Missouri River, are perfect for an outdoor and exercise enthusiast. There are also amazing barbeque and American restaurants in Lenexa like Blue Moose and Silo Modern Farmhouse.
Kansas has so much to offer young professionals and families. With access to beautiful parks, quality education systems, and affordable living, you can live well in the Wheat State. Because you can save money on housing costs, you can keep more of your hard-earned dollars in Kansas.
This enables you to pay off your house and car sooner, which gives you the freedom to enjoy your life without worrying about finances.
While there are many great things about living in Kansas, it’s not a perfect state. Healthcare costs are higher than average, and you’ll have to take a road trip to enjoy the mountains as there are none in the state. You also have to be prepared for storms.
Now that you know the pros and cons of living in Kansas, you can better prepare for your move. To make your experience less stressful, count on the friendly team at Guardian Auto Transport to transport your car to Kansas or ship your car from state to state. Call us today for a free estimate.