When you think of Kansas, I’m sure an image of Dorothy frolicking through cornfields pops into your head. According to most, the Wizard of Oz and corn are the state’s claim to fame. Just don’t mention that to a native Kansan. The state does have more to offer than just Toto and animal feed.
There is a steady job market, vibrant culture, and a law that makes it illegal to hunt whales (for all of the whale hunters out there considering a move to the Midwest).
There are some things to consider before deciding Kansas is the state for you. Here is some info on the Sunflower State that Dorothy forgot to mention the last time she strolled across your TV screen.
The Deal with Housing in Kansas
Housing in Kansas is affordable. Period. U.S. News ranked the state at number seven for housing affordability in the country.
- According to Zillow, the median price of homes currently listed in Kansas is $169,900.
- The median rent price in the state is $1,080.
- A study done in 2017 by United Van Lines ranked Kansas 45th in the country for inbound moves. Meaning, most people choosing to move across state lines were moving out.
- 57% of movers were leaving the state for other opportunities; 64% of them said the reason was job opportunities.
Home are affordable and new construction is available, if you know where to look. Zillow maintains that houses built between 1950 and 1959 are the most represented in Kansas. New construction housing is available, though, mainly in the suburban areas around Wichita and Kansas City
Affordability in the State
It’s affordable, not just in terms of housing, but in terms of general living as well. The state came in at number seven for affordability, according to U.S. News, when considering factors such as food, health care, transportation and utilities. When calculated from a national index of 100, the cost of living index for Kansas came in at 90. That is 10 points lower than the national average.
What does this mean? You don’t need to worry about having your cake and eating it to. You can probably just buy two cakes. What’s the best way to entice people to move to your state? Offer affordable housing and cost of living.
Finding Job Opportunities in Kansas
It’s not all farming and corn in Kansas. Yes, agriculture has established boss status throughout most of the state. There are, however, additional leading industries such as health care, transportation, trade, and manufacturing that offer opportunities.
- Non-farm industries such as health care and manufacturing are expected to increase by 0.1%, or about 2,000 jobs, in 2018.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate as a whole is 3.4%. That is less than the national average, which was at 4.1% as of February 2018.
- A study done by Wallet Hub ranked Kansas 15th among the best states for jobs. The study took into consideration factors such as job opportunities and economic outlook.
Kansas’s standing in the job market isn’t the best, but it’s definitely not the worst. It seems that while the job market in Kansas isn’t offering much, it also hasn’t been taking any huge hits.
Kansans Love Their Jayhawks
If Kansans are known for one thing, it’s being die-hard fan of the beloved KU Jayhawks. As long as it isn’t time for March Madness, they are also known for their friendliness. Maybe we’ll chalk that one up to genuine corn-fed congeniality.
The Two Sides of Kansas
One last thing to consider about Kansas is that there are two very different Kansases. One is the eastern part, covered in lush green land and corn for miles. The other is the dryer western pasturelands known for their cattle and wheat production. With the difference in appearance comes a difference in cultures also.
The majority of the population lives in eastern Kansas, where lively metropolitan areas offer top amenities and vibrant cultures. For a lively downtown and thriving festival and art scene, the largest city of Wichita is your top choice. For a smaller affordable city with a liberal young vibe, check out Lawrence. It’s a college town with a friendly atmosphere and spirited downtown.
While the eastern part has a more metropolitan atmosphere, the western half of the state indulges in a slower pace of life, one more in-tune with the small-town agricultural lifestyle. Depending on their age and style of living, eastern or western Kansas will be a different fit for different people.
Planning a Move to Dorothy’s Home State?
The Sunflower State offers more than just corn, and more corn. Affordability, for one, is a big draw for future movers coming into the state. There may be different vibes and fits for different people, but as long as you’re not intent on shooting rabbits from a motorboat or catching fish with your bare hands, you’ll find Kansas to be a friendly place to move. If Kansans are known for anything (besides Dorothy, and corn, and being Jayhawk fans) it’s being steadfast in their welcoming nature.