A city that lives in two different states and has been ranked in the top 50 list of the best places to live in the US. Kansas City sure is one of the fastest growing Midwest metro with excellent living opportunities, affordable housing, a vibrant job-scape, great educational centres and a potpourri of sporting events, art and culture. The question remains – is moving to Kansas City the right decision for you? Let’s find out whether Kansas City can give you the life you are looking for.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Kansas City?
Kansas City is a sizable city with a population of 495,327 people and is not as small as one may think. The city is built around limestone cliffs and ridges carved out by the Missouri and Kansas rivers. It is a great place to raise your family and has amazing facets to it that set it apart from the other midwestern cities. Kansas City is a city steeped in history and its people are not just proud of it, but celebrate it in their day to day lives. We believe that will make you fall in love with the city.
Originally, the city was founded on the Missouri side, where Downtown Kansas City is located and the historic Westport area where frontier settlers landed. As time passed and the city grew, people moved from the Kansas River to settle on the Kansas side, where most of the suburbs are located today.
Kansas City is also known as the ‘Heart of America’. This city not only offers a plethora of job opportunities, but also provides affordable housing and great educational institutes. We will share more about that below. But at the same time, the city is quite literally a pro sports city where you can find the best sporting teams to watch. KC is also known for its barbeques, fine dining scene and locally-made Craft Beers.
Crime Rate In Kansas City
According to the latest reports by Safe Wise, Kansas City is the fifth most dangerous big city in the United States. The Quindaro area on the Kansas side going east and Troost, Swope park and some areas just south of the plaza near the Missouri side can have their unsafe moments. On the crime index, Kansas City is safer than only 4% of US cities. Violent offenses such as murder, rape, armed robbery, man-slaughter and aggravated assault were one of the highest in the country and there is a 1 in 128 a chance of falling a victim to violent crimes.
Kansas City also records a high number of property crimes, such as burglary, motor vehicle theft etc. and the chances are 1 in 24 to get affected by property crimes. With a crime rate of 49 per one thousand residents, Kansas City records one of the highest instances of crime in America. Just up to July 2020, Kansas City had recorded 100 homicides, which was a 40 percent rise from the year before. An intense poverty scene could be one of the reasons for a higher than average violent crime rate here.
So when it comes to moving to Kansas City, the crime rate here could be a big reason to decide against it. While it may sound and look scary that Kansas City crime rates are 112% higher than the national average but you may want to find solace in the fact that year on year, crime has also reduced in Kansas City by about 10%.
Kansas City Weather
Kansas City enjoys a daytime high of 90 degree F, at times even more, anytime from April to October. While summers do peak at 100 degrees, but then that happens usually around August and hardly three days a year on an average.
Similarly, as far as chilliest days are concerned, you would probably see on an average just two nights a year to record temperatures as low as 0 degree F or lower. You could enjoy crisp winters from November to March, and almost 21 days on an average when the temperatures never go above freezing. It even averages about 15 inches of snow a year.
Kansas City records about 42 inches of rain, which is slightly higher than the national average of 38 inches of rain per year. And yet it is drier than most places in Missouri.While September, May and June are the most pleasant times of the year in Kansas City, January and December are the least comfortable months.
Is It Expensive To Live In Kansas City?
Well, if you compare to other places in Missouri, then you might find Kansas City expensive. There’s a 3.25% sales tax here, which if you ask us isn’t a lot when you compare it to many other big cities of the country. Of course, let’s not forget there’s also the 4.23% of Missouri sales tax that is levied on a state level. Another factor to keep in mind when gauging how expensive it is to live in Kansas City is the income tax, which stands at 5.7% or so here in Kansas City.
Cost of Living in Kansas City
The cost of living in Kansas City is 4% higher than the Missouri average. In the Midwest, Kansas City is one of the most affordable cities, with a cost of living 2.5% below the national average, from groceries, gas, utilities and housing. Cost of living indices are usually based on a US average of 100 and with Kansas City’s overall index for Cost of living being 86.2 means it is cheaper than the national average.
To give you an idea of simple day to day purchases, a gallon of milk costs $3.20, a loaf of bread could cost you $2.13 and a dozen eggs could cost $2.66. Stores like Kroger offer frequent discounts or loyalty programs that can save you quite a few bucks at the checkout counters.
Cost of Utilities
The average cost of utilities (gas, electricity, water and sewage) could total up to $200 for a 2 bedroom apartment. Your mobile phone bill could be roundabout $192.66, as shared by Payscale.
Of course, we live in a hyper-connected world. So the average cost of internet access in Kansas City is around $64 per month. But of course, the final expenses towards internet usage would depend on your locality, usage and preferences.
Kansas City is known for its affordable housing. In fact, Payscale shares that housing in Kansas City is 8% lower than the national average. At the same time, home appreciation in Kansas City is up by 9.1% and is expected to grow upwards of 11% in the next 12 months.
Median prices for a single family home in Kansas City is $210,000. Listing prices for homes in Kansas City have seen an increase of almost 16.5% year on year. Median sales prices for homes in the Kansas City area is $250,000, with 2nd Creek as the most expensive at $400,000 listing price. Similarly, Ruskin Heights is the most affordable neighbourhood with a median price of a home being as low as $90,000.
With its affordable housing, cost of living, and good educational institutes, you see a lot of movement from other cities into Kansas City. Renters hence make up about 38% of the Kansas City population. Almost 3% of houses are available to rent in the city. Rents in Kansas City have increased by about 3% year on year, with the average rent in Kansas City $1,000 per month. Blenheim Square-Swope Park Campus, Mouth Cleveland – Sheraton Estates and Oak Park are neighbourhoods with the lowest average rents of around $600 per month. On the flipside, the most expensive rents go up to $1,500 per month in neighbourhoods of Wendell Phillips, Paseo West and Columbus Park.
Economy and Employment in Kansas City
To begin with, you should know that the average income of a Kansas City resident is $28,000 a year. At the same time, the median household income of a Kansas City resident is $45,500 approximately a year. Secondly, it’s important to know that the city has a 3.6% unemployment rate, which is not too bad. Kansas City has Jobs abound in all sectors such as finance, energy, engineering, healthcare and technology.
Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 32.5% which is only marginally lower than the US average of 33%. Major companies such as American Century Investments, Dairy Farms of America, Burns & McDonnell, Commerce Bank, Hallmark Cards and H&R Block are all headquartered in Kansas City. Ford and General Motors both have large manufacturing and assembling facilities in the Kansas City metro area. Even Sanofi-Aventis has one of the largest drug manufacturing plants in south Kansas City.
Large government bodies that also contribute to the employment opportunities in Kansas City are the Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, Social Services Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also located here is the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.
According to Forbes, Kansas City is one of the best places for business growth, careers and jobs. It is one of the least congested metro areas, making for the shortest commuting times. KC Streetcar serves the Central Business District and connects the River Market, Crown Center, Union Station and Crossroads Arts Districts.
Kansas City employment growth is marked by its 56% of the metro area workforce, with education, healthcare services, retail, trade and manufacturing accounting to be the biggest employment sectors in Kansas City.
If you are pursuing higher education, then Kansas City is the place to be. The Kansas City Metro has some of the best colleges and universities. Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences is where you can pursue your graduate degree in biomedical sciences, osteopathic medicines or even clinical psychology. You can pursue specialisations in medicine, law, pharmacy, dentistry, education etc. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which is a public research school. You have some other top-rated private institutions such as Avila University, Kansas City Art Institute, Rockhurst University, where you can pursue your passions in design, animation, creative writing and filmmaking.
Getting Around In Kansas City
Kansas City is easily accessible by interstates and highways, as well as a quick flight from just about anywhere across the nation. Because of its low population density, dispersion of employment, and well maintained roads and freeways, commuting times are among the lowest or shortest in the US. Shortest commuting times is one of the biggest lifestyle perks of living in Kansas City. It is considered as the fourth least congested area in the US with its city drivers spending about 11% of their travel time in traffic.
Airports and Airlines
It is very easy to fly in and out of Kansas City with its strategically located airport. Kansas City International Airport is located 25 minutes northwest of downtown. It has 3 C-shaped terminals offering aircraft loading around the perimeters and passenger parking at the center.
Kansas City Streetcar
This is one of the best ways to move about in downtown Kansas City. You can go any distance, but it is absolutely free. The two mile route of the Streetcar runs from Crown Center in Midtown to the River Market District on the bank of Missouri River. The KC Streetcar runs along the main street covering Central Business/Convention District, the Power and Light District and Crown Center. It is also the best way to get around to the numerous businesses, restaurants, art galleries and other places of tourist attractions. The Kansas City Streetcar has about 16 stops with 13 shelters and digital kiosks, bicycles, wheelchairs and strollers can also board and disembark from the middle car and small animals and dogs are also welcome in small carriers.
RideKC Bike is a 24/7 public shared system for short trips. Bikes are located at various hubs and stations around the Kansas City Metro and it includes traditional pedal bikes as well as smart, electric assist bikes.
The Metro and The Jo are the two primary bus lines in Kansas City that travel under the RideKC program. MAX is their rapid transit bus service serving highly populated residential areas. It features frequent but fewer stops, signal priorities, highly visible MAX stations and sleek vehicles.
There is also the Rock Island Railroad Corridor that will bring 500 miles of Katy and Rock Island trails, linking Kansas City and ST. Louis to within 6-8 miles of completion.
You can also access taxi ride services such as Uber, Lyft, Zipcar cabs and Limos.
Best Neighbourhoods To Live In Kansas City
1. River Market
A favourite with urban enthusiasts and young professionals, this is a neighbourhood that can literally be walked about. There are umpteen condominium and loft conversions which cater to the section of population mentioned above. The place is popular for its historically Italian neighbourhood of Columbus Park. It is quite an upwardly mobile area, with most kids in this area going to private schools and double income families that reside here.
Median home value: $210,000
Average market rent: $1,380/month
One of the most multicultural and multiracial neighbourhoods, with a diverse population, Westside is certainly one of the more affluent places to live in Kansas City. Because of the intermingling of various cultures and diversities, the influences are quite visible in the architecture of the residences in this area.
Median home value: $185,000
Average market rent: $1,381/month
3. The Country Club Plaza
As one of the oldest shopping and outdoor entertainment districts, the Country Club Plaza is a highly sought after place to live. This area is lived in with highly educated groups with college degrees. Most of the homes are also double income homes and that makes this an affluent neighbourhood too. This area shows a Spanish influence with fountains, hand painted mosaic tiles and custom ironwork.
Median home value: $833,418
Average market rent: $985/month
This is another one of Kansas’ popular places to live, just north of The Country Club Plaza. Westport is one of the oldest dining, shopping and entertainment districts of Kansas City, making it a great choice to live in. What’s great is that the neighbourhood has a real old worldly charm with tree lined neighbourhoods, older homes and quiet condominium living.
Median home value: $237,210
Average market rent: $1,232/month
FAQs about Moving to Kansas City
Is Kansas City A Good Place To Live?
No matter what your interests or priorities, sports, affordable living or a great career or higher education, Kansas City is a great choice for a residential living and raising your families.
With more than 100 odd barbeque restaurants, Kansas City is lovingly known as the ‘world’s barbeque capital’, but it is also a Jazz lover’s paradise. So clearly, culture and cuisine go hand in hand in Kansas City.
Because of its beautiful sunny and clear weather which is pleasant for most part of the year, Kansas City is slowly seeing a real estate boom as more and more people are moving in to make this city their home. The one big negative point would be the scarily high level of crime rate, which is still an important point of consideration.
Other than that, you can do everything that you have ever dreamt of doing outdoors, be it camping, fishing, boating and swimming. So the call is yours to make!