Immigration possibilities in Kansas, USA
Kansas – Part 4: of my series investigating the immigration possibilities for Entrepreneurs, Individuals, and Families in the USA
Other blogs in this series are:
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Why not seek your immigration possibilities with us. We offer the complete Migration Service for the Entrepreneur from Visa’s to Business plans, market assessments, finding the right location for your business and much, much more. If you are seeking employment we can help you assess the opportunities available and point you in the right direction. If you are a family we can help in locating the right home and schools.
All information provided in this blog is advisory and can rely on third party source., Over time it will become dated and immigration possibilitities will change. So you are strongly advised to make your own checks before taking any action based on any information provided within it.
The State of Kansas USA
- AREA 82,278 SQ. MI.
- GDP$ 150.576 Billion
- COLLEGE EDUCATED 41%
- POPULATION 2,907,289
- CAPITAL Topeka
- MEDIAN INCOME $28,879
Welcome to the fourth of my posts looking at the immigration possibilities in the USA. I am taking a state by state approach in an effort to tease out the whole range of exciting opportunities the USA has to offer the Entrepreneur, business, individual and family. It is such a large and diverse country I believe this is the only way one can do justice to what it has to offer. This post is on Kansas, Enjoy.
I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions on places I should cover in future posts.
Immigration Possibilities in Kansas, USA
Relaxing with the kids in the park
Kansas welcomes Immigrants
Do you think of Kansas as an unlikely destination for those seeking out immigration possibilities to create a new future and or new business opportunities? If so, a certain film, probably created a strong impression on your young self. Kansas has a lot more to offer than ‘Tin Men’, although I suppose if you also read Tom Clancy, they in themselves might bring you an exciting shiver of interest. I would like to go through some figures with you. Figures that might change your mind. Stirring your interest in Kansas as a very exciting destination for the Entrepreneur, Business, Individual and family seeking new horizons in the USA.
In 2017 there were 200,557 foreign-born residents in Kansas making up 6.9% of the state’s total population of 2.912 million (2018). Representing an increase of 48.9% of immigrants coming to the state between 2000 and 2017. This suggests positive efforts on behalf of Kansas to encourage new residents and develop immigration possibilities for prospective new residents.
So how do those figures break down? It will not be a surprise to you that on an age basis the largest group are the 18 to 64 Age group on 84.1% and the gender split is almost equal with 48.6% being female. Those born in Asia total 65,302, those born in Africa 11,971 and those of European birth 13,727. Those born in Northern America (Canada, Bermuda, Greenland, and St. Pierre and Miquelon) represent the smallest group at 4,130. Finally, the largest number, as you would expect goes to those born in Latin America (South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean) at 103,722. So, if you put these figures together with those children of previous immigrants Kansas is a diverse state, as you would expect for the USA the ‘Land of the Immigrant’. source: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/data/state-profiles/state
So where is it in relation to the rest of the USA?
State of Kansas, USA
In a bit more detail
What is it like?
Kansas has exciting vibrant cities, where latte culture thrives, and business takes on the world. However, it also has a lot more to offer by way of immigration possibilities.
So, let’s go there first. Situated in the Heart of the USA the state of Kansas is wrapped in the history of the pioneers of the USA. It embodies America in its most classic style, with its rugged cowboy culture and vast meadows. As evoked by the words “Home, home on the range” from the official Kansas state anthem.
It’s vast tallgrass prairies with the occasional homestead take you straight back to those famous old westerns you watched on television. You would not be surprised to see John Wayne ride up and ask for a glass of milk. It is the state of the pony express and the Santa Fe Trail, Bison and the dazzling fields of sunflowers, the state flower.
Sunset in the Flint Hills outside of Alma, Kansas with Cattle grazing in the far background.
When looking at immigration possibilities I always like to find out from those living in an area what it is like to live there. You know what I mean, is there likely to be somewhere open if you run out of milk. The following comes from a post by ‘Jenrus Freelance’ and is well worth a visit if you are interested in what it is like to live in rather than just visit rural Kansas.https://www.jenrusfreelance.com/press-and-links/rural-kansas-is-living-a-response/
He writes; My epiphany about rural Kansas came when Marci Penner, from the Kansas Sampler Foundation helped me with my College senior thesis. She provided me with information for my project, Economic Development for Glen Elder Kansas. She looked at and spoke about my hometown in a different and more positive way than anyone else had ever talked about it. What an amazing gift to see my hometown that way and know that it didn’t have to have Disney World to be a place worth loving, saving, and thriving in. My journey toward being “Rural by Choice” continued with what I saw when working at Internationally-successful, Brush Art Corporation, in Downs Kansas. (Also cited in the article). They showed me that you didn’t have to be located in a City to be successful, you can do it right from small town Kansas with Internet access and a little bit of travel.
There is a great team of committed professionals working to move rural Kansas forward, not backward. Diversifying the entire economy for a portion of Kansas which is roughly twelve times the size of the entire State of New Jersey, changing the negative non-bragging narrative that most Kansan’s have, and finding new markets for a commodity driven Ag base that can easily let us down. What is your superpower?
It’s a big, but not impossible job. But it’s hard, draining, work that needs supported not torn down. As someone that has moved away from a rural area, what can you do to help?:
- Come back and be part of the solution. Part of the army working for better. Do you need help to figure out how? Contact the Economic Development office in the rural area that you want to move back to. They can help show you the way. If you don’t have an Economic Development office, look for a Chamber of Commerce or your local banker.
- Give yearly to a local Community Foundation in a rural area and better yet, include that Community Foundation in your estate planning by pledging a 5% estate gift.
- Tour your rural place. If you cannot live in your rural place, come back and visit often. Spend money in rural retail shops. Get gas and groceries, if it is an option. Always take the option. If any of the rural businesses have an online buying option, buy often from home. Eat at the local restaurant. Seek out the local farmers market and buy from local farmers, if that is an option.
- Share the news. Give your urban friends the local hometown newspaper, if that’s an option, so that they can fall in love with the town like you have. Not a news reader? Follow a good social media platform that represents your rural place well.
- Come and bring a friend. Bring them to your rural place, take them to the museum, watch a sunset, and show them the beauty of the countryside. Come back to the town celebration. Stay at an AirBnb or a VRBO. Even if your town doesn’t have a motel, it might have one of these options.
- Move your job back. Ask your current employer if they offer telecommuting or if they would consider a remote working situation where you come back to their office at scheduled increments.
- Start your own business. Have you worked for a company and now you have great skills in a job that you love? Figure out how you can start a business in the place you want to be. Is this possible? Ask your local Economic Development office or banker for help and advice.
- Find a Job. Look at online job boards like Indeed.com or get a subscription (paper or online) to a local newspaper in the rural area that you want to move. Also, consider checking the websites and social media accounts of the Economic Development agency or Chamber in the rural area you are considering.
- Rural Opportunity Zones. If you want to move to a rural place in Kansas, consider looking for counties that participate in the Rural Opportunity Zone Program. It’s a program from the State of Kansas that can help pay back up to $15,000 of your student loans. Also if you have lived out of the State of Kansas for more than five years, you could qualify for a State Income Tax Exemption. Good job State of Kansas!
- Support. Be supportive of those who do make the choice to be rural.
It’s hard not to conclude that rural Kansas is open to new people and new ideas welcoming to the immigrant and their families.
Kansas Major Cities
|1||Wichita||389,965||37.692 / -97.338|
|2||Overland Park||186,515||38.982 / -94.671|
|3||Kansas City||151,306||39.114 / -94.627|
|4||Olathe||134,305||38.881 / -94.819|
|5||Topeka||127,265||39.048 / -95.678|
|6||Lawrence||93,917||38.972 / -95.235|
|7||Shawnee||65,046||39.042 / -94.72|
|8||Manhattan||56,308||39.184 / -96.572|
|9||Lenexa||52,490||38.954 / -94.734|
|10||Salina||47,813||38.84 / -97.611|
Living in Wichita
Jonathan Hummer, lived in Wichita, KS
I enjoyed living in Wichita from 2010–2014 (5 years+ total). One of the things I enjoyed the most about it was that it had a kind of big city feel without being a big city. And if you even need to take the next step up to big city experiences, you are only 3 hours away from both Kansas City and Oklahoma City, both of which have a lot of neat things to do as well.
The city hardly has any traffic, though there are a couple specific exits that bind up during rush hour. But you are never more than 25 minutes from anywhere because of a relatively efficient interstate/belt route system. There are sufficient numbers of schools and hospitals, and the health care system actually has very good outcomes. Contrary to a comment elsewhere, I found that Wichita had a lot of variety in the type of food, and outside of fast food, wasn’t really franchise-heavy except for local franchises. I have lived and travelled all over the world and some of my favourite places to eat are in Wichita, Kansas. There are bowling alleys, movie theatres, plenty of malls, speciality stores, eateries, museums, theatre/playhouses, concert halls, activities, etc. so that you won’t be bored. My wife and I stayed busy with at least one major activity a month (operas, minor league baseball games, symphonies, play, movie, cultural festivals, exhibition, etc.).
The city itself if very centered economically on the aerospace industry at large (that is why Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World,” so when the industry sneezes, Wichita gets a cold. Rounds of layoffs for companies like Spirit, Cessna & Beechcraft (which are now both owned by Textron), and Learjet are not uncommon, and that can have a profound impact on the economy in general. There are a couple of other large companies in the area that are not in aerospace (notably, Via Christi Health, Koch Industries, Coleman, and Cargill); Coleman and Cargill won’t grow much from where they are, and VCH as a health system will really only grow as the population in general does, and so much of the economic growth power from Wichita comes from Koch Industries, love them or hate them, and other small businesses and cottage industries.
Because it’s not really a high-growth area and the demographics lean toward an older population, housing is pretty stagnant. It’s very affordable to own your own house (I bought a 125k house right out of college), but don’t plan on it having appreciable growth on it. It’s an investment for quality of life, not capital gains. As mentioned by others, there is a split between the east side and west side in general, and the middle are smaller, quainter neighborhoods and the business centre, though I didn’t perceive it to be a “rivalry” between east and west as much as a general phenomenon of urban sprawl. You can get a quality home in a good neighborhood for anywhere from 75k (800 sqft +/-) to 150k (1700 sqft +/-). Of course, there are also lower-end neighborhoods with housing for as low as 40k, and very nice neighborhoods with houses averaging 200k up. But 200k gets you a very nice house in Wichita.
This will be painting with broad strokes based anecdotally on my own experience; YMMV. My wife was an elementary teacher both in Wichita and then later in Andover (to the east), and had vastly different experiences in both places. Wichita school district is much poorer, and the demographic makeup leans heavily toward minorities, with a high population on free and reduced lunch.
Since there were a lot of broken/dysfunctional families, my wife often had a role of mentor and stable adult figure in the children’s lives, and actually found that very rewarding (though often heartbreaking). I volunteered with the Junior Achievement program in Wichita in 4 different schools (elementary schools K-5) with 6 different teachers in each of the five years that I lived in Wichita, and from my experience, I found all of them to be quality, professional teachers who cared very much and put tremendous heart and effort into their teaching. In general, they spoke well of the Wichita district leadership, with only a handful of anecdotal instances where they thought there could be an improvement.
I think the shortcomings in the Wichita school system reflect more systemic issues of demographic makeup and macro issues with the Kansas DOE. For high school, we also had two exchange students that went to North High School (we lived in the Benjamin Hills neighborhood, which was a nice, quiet area in north central Wichita), but I found that school to be a joke.
To be sure, there were a couple of great teachers who went out of their way to do a great job, but a handful more whose curriculum was so watered-down and feel-good that I would hardly consider it a liberal education. (Though in fairness, this may be a result of demographics, too…?) It was great for exchange students, as they had a lot of flexibility with low expectations and low stress, but as a parent, I would need to do a lot of extracurricular pushing and challenging at home for my own children if they went there in order to get the best out of the education.
In the east of Wichita and in Andover, my wife taught 3 years in a very wealthy area where she was able to focus much more on core education and teaching but often had to battle entitled children and helicopter parents, which is exhausting in its own right. The kids were clearly much more privileged and intellectually elevated, but even as elementary students demonstrated signs of emotional and psychological stress. And in the west of Wichita and in Maize, I heard only from co-workers whose children attended schools there that it was a good education, but ran into issues typical of nouveau riche students.
Safety: I haven’t seen figures on crime, but I generally felt safe in Wichita. I know that things get a little sketchy south of Kellogg, and that there were a lot of vagrants and homeless downtown, but I never heard any crazy crimes that froze people in panic and fear. Even downtown, I
The summers are very hot and humid, the winters are very cold and dry. We had regular heavy snowfall every winter and early spring, and summer is completely unbearable without A/C in your home. There is a fair amount of rainfall, but it feels like there is more than there actually is because when it comes, it all comes at once in huge deluges which flood the streets with regularity, though typically not flashfloods into houses because there is a fairly large floodplain that splits the city in half. Of course, there is a lot of tornado weather, but it’s only selective in which places are vulnerable. The southwest part of Wichita (nearing Haysville) always seems to get hammered hard, but the area where I lived (north central) hasn’t had tornado impacts for 20 years now. All the same, tornadoes typically aren’t dangerous to human life if you prepare well and stay out of it when it is coming.
All in all, I loved Wichita, and I would move back there if I thought I would have a solid job or didn’t need to worry about a financial future (i.e., filthy rich or retired).
Overland Park, State of Kansas, USA
Living in Overland Park
It’s fabulous for those of us who like peace and quiet. Of note is that a large amount of population growth has come from annexation of the growing areas. I’d be interested to know how much is net-migration from out of the metro.
Anyway; I like to make lists, so I’ll do that as my answer:
While there are probably suburbs around the country that have a lower crime rate, the violent crime here is near the bottom. It’s rare to hear of a murder. There were 16 in the last decade, and all of the information I can find on them is that they were either 1 crazy antisemite, a possible car jacking ring (people from other cities around KC), or close-associates. Most of the crime here is theft or burglary of some kind, and most of that appears to be from stores.
If you’re in OP, you’re in one of three school districts. Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley or Olathe. The majority are in BV, which fights with Olathe to be the top in the state on an annual basis. The SM district doesn’t have as high ratings as the other two, but is absolutely excellent by comparison to the rest of the country. There are also some great private schools, many of which are not horribly overpriced, throughout the city.
Plenty of Work / Jobs
The skilled-labor market here is near zero unemployment, being what most economists would consider better than full employment (< 3%). The non-skilled labor market is one of the lowest in the country, likely an impact of low unemployment overall, low cost of living and high wages.
Of note is that Overland Park doesn’t have very many low-wage jobs within the city. Fast food and similar place will always be the exception, but most places here pay fairly well for the work.
Plenty To Do
This one is a “Kansas City” overall point, as this relates to the entire metro… which anyone in OP can enjoy.
If you like sports we have professional Baseball [Royals], Football [Chiefs] and Soccer [Sporting KC] teams. There are a few minor league teams, including Hockey, Baseball, Indoor Football, etc. We’ve got two NASCAR races, truck and Indy car races for those inclined. Numerous amusement and water parks are available and affordable. There are several museums of all types, including a few kids museums. Most of the museums are free or nearly free. There’s a great nightlife available on Westport or now Downtown KC, all within 30 minutes maximum of those in OP.
If you have kids, the city pools are clean and well maintained and often better than most private pools. The number of acres of parks and riding trails is higher than any other city of its size. Our parks are often not just a bit of grass with some playground equipment. Some are hundreds of acres and focused on specific things like plant and wildlife, while others are just a nice place to take your family to throw around a ball, ride your bikes and play on the playground.
OP also has the best shopping centers in the KC metro, which may also relate to the burglary levels at the stores in those centers If you like to shop, we’ve got just about everything you’d need. For the stuff we don’t have, a trip of less than 30 minutes gets you to Cabelas, NFM or elsewhere without a hassle.
I debated keeping this one as part of the above section, but it deserves its own. It’s mostly about OP, but also includes overall KC
While we have tons of BBQ, and who doesn’t love BBQ, the city is easily my favorite for dining. We’re never at a loss of choices of what to eat, just in OP, but even better in the greater KC area. Some of the best steaks in the world, the best BBQ int he world, great Italian, good-enough Thai and Sushi, and all the higher-end chains that you might hit up.
For those who have particular diets or other personal food limitations, there are plenty of high-end grocery stores to serve.
If you both live & work in OP, you will rarely encounter traffic of any significance, other than when there is highway construction. There is a bit more traffic when travelling downtown or through what we call “the triangle”, but it is significantly improved from when I was a kid. If you live in OP, you can get nearly anywhere in the metro in less than 30 minutes, as everyone is only a few minutes from the highway, and the highways are often not congested.
Cost of Living
Overland Park, relative to the rest of the country is a steal. The cost of purchasing a home, in terms of per-square-foot and the cost of land, considering it’s in a thriving metro area, is insanely low. This is a comment on KC suburbs in general. Overland Park prices are about in the middle per-sqft of house relative to other local suburbs. You can get a nice 1800 sqft home here, in 2015, for about $200,000… or if you’re so inclined can get an 18,000 sqft home for about $2.5 million… and everything in-between.
With these lower prices for housing come lower rents in houses and apartments. Lower lease rates for businesses space means more money available for employees and company growth or more room for better pricing. All of this puts or keeps money in our pockets or lets those who want it have more stuff.
Operating a Business
The state of Kansas, in general, makes it very easy to start and maintain a business. As with the stuff above, the cost of running that business can be significantly less than what it might cost in most other cities. While labor cost is slightly lower, all other costs are quite a bit lower. Our utility costs are low, bandwidth costs are low, nearly zero fees on any business, no licensing for most businesses to operate, no income tax on pass-through companies, and a friendly start-up environment make it easy to be here.
While the low unemployment sometimes makes it fun to find the right people, the overall metro area has every skill you’d need and often readily available.
Our state and local taxes as a share of income put us about in the middle of the pack compared to the rest of the country. However, compared to most metro areas, it’s quite low. Our property taxes are relatively low here compared to the cost of property, which is even lower, which makes them quite small compared to somewhere like Omaha, Denver or Chicago. Our sales taxes are a bit higher, primarily due to our being a destination for people around the metro who come here to shop. Overall, though, taxes everywhere around the metro [Except KCMO] are an afterthought.
Last, and probably not least, is that what you hear about kindness of the Midwest is what you will most typically encounter from most around here. Like anywhere we have those who want to spoil the fun. However, the overwhelming majority of people here are kind and helpful. Most of us know and like our neighbors, most of us get along with others without faking it. While some people here care about status, most do not.
Numerous places have named Overland Park the best place to raise a family or best suburb in the US. Those that don’t frequently have us in the top 3. Kansas City is finally getting a reputation as best metro areas. It’s great to see our city getting all of these accolades…. and interesting to be something other than just flyover territory.
Skyline up close. Kansas City, State of Kansas, USA
Living in Kansas City
Glenn Brons, lived in Kansas City.
Quick background. I grew up mostly in TX. After I graduated, I’ve lived all over this great country; Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, Virginia, Illinois, and now Missouri.
When the place I worked at before closed down, my wife and I looked at each other and said, “You know what, let’s look at Kansas City. We’ve met several people that have lived in and around Kansas City and they have all liked it. Nobody’s ever said anything bad about Kansas City.”. There was a company that I really wanted to work for that had a great reputation in my area of expertise and lo and behold, they had a location near Kansas City, and even more importantly, they were in the process of hiring someone with my skill set!!” It was meant to be. A ray of shining light straight from the heavens. I made a phone call, sent in my resume, did the interview, and I just celebrated my 15 year anniversary at this place of employment Thanksgiving 2016. Woo Hoo Baby!!
Let me tell you what Kansas City is NOT. I don’t know where you are from and if you’re planning on moving here, or this is just a question to fill curiosity. Kansas City is not NY, Chicago, LA, Houston, San Fran, or Dallas. You can see some of the broadway shows here in Kansas City eventually. And they won’t be as awe inspiring as on Broadway probably, but they will still be thoroughly enjoyable.
You won’t hear about the greatest restaurants ever with this chef or that celebrity chef for the most part. We do have Lidia’s and she’s on TV!! If you want steak and BBQ, this is your place!! Even that being said, there is something for everyone when it comes to an appetite.
Yes, the Royals had 2 great back to back years in baseball. But we had 20 years of drought. The Chiefs have their ups and downs, but they’ve not been a serious threat of anything since they won the 3rd Super Bowl. Tickets to go see these games can be had for cheap though and it’s a really good time and there is some history here. Kansas City LOVES their pro sports teams. Including Soccer!! Who’da thunk it?!! I had even heard once that Kansas City was actually the soccer capital of the nation. We don’t have the most teams, we don’t have the most famous teams, but people here do seem to love it. Even the T-Bones minor league baseball is loved and it’s a cheap way to spend an evening.
If you want to live in a condo in or near downtown, that’s doable. If you want to live in an ultra swanky neighborhood, we’ve got you covered. I live in a small country town outside of KC, population 8000. We’re just minutes away from three other small cities of about 90,000 to 100,000 so they’ve got most anything there. If I actually want to go to the Plaza, Crown Plaza, Union Station, Downtown and all that, it’s about a 30 -40 minute drive. I can be all the way over on the other side of Kansas City and get to a shopping area called the legends in about 50 minutes.
Do you like golf? There are a TON of golf courses here. And golf is cheap cheap cheap!! There’s always deals and clubs and what not where you can get a round with a cart on a very nice challenging course for $20. THere’s no reason to pay the full price green fees of 50 to 60. Yes, for the most part, that’s the most you’re going to pay for a round. If you try really hard, you may be able to find a place that’s more expensive, but you may have to know a member to do it, LOL.
Traffic. Ahh, the traffic. There’s an area call the “Triangle”. It sounds dreadful right? You start thinking about the Bermuda Triangle and thinking that this place has got to be a nightmare. Well, it is.. But only to people who have never left or driven anywhere but Kansas City. If you are from one of the big 5, shoot, if you’re from one of the big 10 cities in the US, you will be laughing and singing your way through the worst of traffic here in Kansas City. On a rare occasion, traffic does actually grind to a stop, but it doesn’t last long. It’s not an everyday 2 hour ride to get 30 miles both to work and back home in the evening.
There isn’t a lot of infrastructure for public transportation. Yes, they just got a new trolley system (Don’t think San Francisco or New Orleans Trolleys, these don’t have that kind of character, these are brand new and ultra modern looking), they’ve got a bus system. There’s no subway. The fact of the matter is, Kansas City doesn’t really need that kind of support, but in their desire to be one of the big kids, people here sure would like to have it sometimes I think. You will, more than likely need transportation for each worker in the home.
Kansas City has a lot to do if you like the outdoors. We’ve got the Arboretum walking gardens, there’s Powell Gardens out east of KC. Bike trails, walking trails, all kinds of stuff.
People. People here are friendly for the most part. But I’ve always found people everywhere to be friendly. Yes NY and Boston have their reputations for rude people, but if I’ve found that if you’re kind most people return the favor. Things can be cliquish in some of the small towns. You’re moving into a community that probably has generations of families and friends so you’re going to be the outsider. Friends are easy to make here. They’re just good people. Are you LGBT? There’s a place for you here. Liberal? Sure, we got you covered, Conservative, Yep. Full Blown four wheeling’ redneck, Git-R-Dunn!!
Lastly people here love to talk about “Going to the Lake” for the weekend. Now let me tell you what that means for the most part. They’re going to Truman Lake or Lake of the Ozarks. Everybody seems to want to go to the lake for the weekend and stay in their cabin or lake house. Now if you’re like me, when you first get here you think of going to a beautiful lake with a log cabin or an actual house. What I found out is that the vast majority are talking about going to an RV Trailer that they keep on a camping spot that they lease for a year. I about lost it!! Too funny. But people here do love “going to the lake”.
Yes, I’m making a little bit of fun, but Kansas City is a nice place and a good place to raise a family. This isn’t the most exciting place, for sure. You won’t find too many vacationers looking to make their way to Kansas City unless they’re coming to see extended family, visiting a friend, or working. You can easily buy a very nice home for $160K – $200K that would cost 4 times more (or even more) in many other areas of the country. It’s a good place to raise a family and make lifelong friends.
Come on down!! We’ve got room for ya!
Living in Olathe
Olathe is spread out and has been growing at a good pace for a few years. Drive time to KC or Lawrence takes 30-40 minutes (though traffic is lighter when headed to Lawrence). I live in southern Olathe where I can drive to retail outlets or be out in farmland within 5 minutes. Olathe is split, literally by I-35. East of the highway, you have more retail and entertainment plus higher-end housing. West of the highway you have older housing and more starter homes (this area is being built back up). As Olathe keeps expanding (converting fields for housing or business – not boundaries), southern Olathe is seeing a ot of growth. Past 159th street, multiple new housing communities are being built (pricing runs from 300 – 1M+). Olathe has very good schools and is arguably no longer a sleepy suburb of Overland Park or KC. While it sounds funny, Olathe’s decision to raise the train track that cuts through downtown Olathe has helped revitalize it. Before, a train would literally cut downtown Olathe (west of I-35) in half. If the train stopped (as some do), no traffic was able to go around it. While there are still train crossings to deal with, the main downtown track was by far the biggest issue (if you couldn’t turn around, people had time to actually get out of their vehicles to visit with each other for awhile). Olathe is a friendly town. While I mentioned before that it was spread out, it still has a small town feel as it seems people always know a friend of a friend (something my kids hate now that they’re in high school).
Topeka is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County
Living in Topeka
Topeka is a nice town if you know where to live and can afford to live there. The nicest part of Topeka is that it’s small enough that you can get around in less than 15 minutes from any spot to any other spot. It’s also nice place to raise kids again as long as you can afford to be in the right school district. The cons are that if you’re not situated correctly, you could be in a crime ridden cesspool. It’s also very crowded on the weekends because all the small towns around it come in to go shopping. I like that it’s only 20 minutes from Lawrence and an hour from Kansas City. It’s not a very pretty city and the downtown is completely defunct. But Gage Park is absolutely beautiful and a great place for kids. One of my best friends has opened up the children’s Kansas discovery Center and that his added a lot to Topeka
Living in Lawrence
Rob Hamm, Guy What Writes Down Stories What People Sometimes Pays For
Lawrence is an artsy, well-educated, moderately-left-leaning (because well-educated), community with a strong international element, thanks to the university. We’re not as diverse as we could be racially, but better than a lot of places I’ve lived.
It’s not as artsy as it was in the 80s, but we still have a higher percentage of artists in the workforce than almost any other comparable city in North America. The joke used to be that if you wanted to know how many bands there were in Lawrence, take the total population and divide by four. There’s also a thriving writing community, with several award-winning and critically acclaimed F&SF authors calling Lawrence home. Last I checked, this was also the only place in the US where you could actually get a degree in Science Fiction.
We do have some problems, but there is very little violent crime, and most of what it is imported from outside Douglas County—no surprise, considering Douglas County is the lone blue dot in a vast sea of red. The only place I’ve felt so much at home was when I lived in a university town in Germany.
For me, at least, it’s the perfect compromise between big city and small town. Small enough to get around, and to run into people you know everywhere, but large and diverse enough to keep things fresh. There are no big traditional malls in Lawrence, because the one they tried to bring in couldn’t measure up to our downtown shopping district.
One needs to be honest there appears to be different views on the Kansas economy below I have put the Kansas ranking from Business Insider. Following that is statistical data you can peruse at your leisure from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kansas’ Q2 2018 GDP growth rate of 4.7% was the seventh-highest in the country, and its November 2018 unemployment rate of 3.2% was below the average rate among the states and DC of 3.7%.
|Labor Force Data|
|Civilian Labor Force(1)||(2)1,484.7||(2)1,486.1||(2)1,486.4||(2)1,486.4||1,487.7||(P)1,488.0|
|Nonfarm Wage and Salary Employment|
|12-month % change||0.9||1.0||1.1||1.1||0.9||(P)0.6|
|Mining and Logging(4)||6.8||6.8||6.7||6.7||6.7||(P)6.7|
|12-month % change||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||0.0||(P)-1.5|
|12-month % change||4.7||1.9||2.9||2.2||3.8||(P)0.5|
|12-month % change||2.0||2.2||2.3||2.5||3.5||(P)2.5|
|Trade, Transportation, and Utilities(4)||268.8||270.4||271.1||269.0||269.2||(P)268.8|
|12-month % change||0.0||0.7||0.7||0.0||0.0||(P)-0.1|
|12-month % change||-2.1||-3.1||-1.6||-1.6||-1.6||(P)-2.6|
|12-month % change||-0.6||-1.0||-0.4||-0.1||-1.2||(P)-1.2|
|Professional & Business Services(4)||180.0||180.3||181.3||182.2||180.6||(P)181.6|
|12-month % change||0.7||1.2||1.5||2.2||0.9||(P)1.1|
|Education & Health Services(4)||199.9||201.5||201.1||201.1||201.5||(P)201.9|
|12-month % change||1.4||2.0||1.7||1.8||1.8||(P)1.7|
|Leisure & Hospitality(4)||129.2||130.8||131.1||131.4||131.3||(P)129.1|
|12-month % change||0.2||1.9||1.5||1.8||1.1||(P)-0.4|
|12-month % change||1.0||-2.2||-1.0||-2.0||-1.0||(P)-0.6|
|12-month % change||1.0||0.6||0.5||0.5||0.3||(P)0.6|
Data extracted on: April 11, 2019
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: More data series, including additional geographic areas, are available through the “Databases & Tables” tab at the top of this page.
Kansas includes the following metropolitan areas for which an Economy At A Glance table is available:
Geographically based survey data available from BLS:
Employment & Unemployment
- Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the CES survey (State and Area)
- Local Area Unemployment Statistics
- Create Customized Maps — Unemployment Rates
- Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
- Occupational Employment Statistics
- Geographic Profile
Prices & Living Conditions
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