Wichita is the biggest city in Kansas State with a population of around 395,745 people. This city is set in Sedgwick County and is considered one of the best cities in Kansas to live in. Most residents living in Wichita own their homes and there are numerous restaurants, cafes, parks, and other recreational facilities.
Is Wichita Kansas a good place to live? What began as a trading post in the 1860s has since then grown and developed into a metropolitan area. Wichita lies along Arkansas River’s bank and is a business hub. The city’s tremendous growth over the past 100 years has been linked to the cattle, oil, aviation and grain industries, plus the spirit and hard work of its founders.
Are you thinking of moving to Wichita soon and wondering:
- What schools are like?
- How does the public transportation system work?
- Which neighborhoods are the best in this city?
- What is the cost of living?
In this post, you will find all the answers you need.
Is Wichita a good place to live?
For expatriates thinking of moving to Kansas State soon, the city of Wichita is a good place to live. There are many good neighborhoods in this city such as Rockhurst, Crown Heights, College Hill, Forest Hills, Sleepy Hollow, Riverside, Courtland, Northeast Heights, Village, Southwind, Indian Hills, and Riverbend.
However, it is not always rainbows and sunshine. Some neighborhoods here are not as nice as others e.g. Central 2000, Hilltop, Matlock Heights, McAdams, New Salem, North Central, Oakview, Power, Stanley-Aley and The Elm. Overall crime levels in Wichita are higher than the national average. The city is safer than two percent of the cities in the US.
Schools in Wichita are generally above average. Highly rated schools in the area include Andover Middle School, Andover Central Middle School, Colwich Elementary School, Discovery Intermediate School and St. Marks School.
Higher education in the area is offered by Friends University, Newman University, Wichita State University, National American University Wichita, University of Phoenix Wichita Campus, Vatterott College Wichita and Wichita Area Technical College.
A car is required to move around in this city, because the metro is relatively spread out, and though there’s a public bus service in the area, its reach is relatively limited. Average commute time here is one of the best nationally at below 20 minutes.
Wichita is also bike friendly as there are designated bike lanes throughout the city. The Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower International Airport provides non-stop flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, and other destinations. Road transport is offered by chartered bus firms such as Greyhound, whereas Amtrak trains service the neighboring town of Newton.
The social scene in Wichita is generally lively. Here there are monster truck shows, country music concerts, theater, opera and ballet shows and sports entertainment venues. There is also a zoo, a museum and minor league games which children can explore and enjoy.
Is Wichita a good place to work?
Wichita enjoys a strong economy and the main industrial sectors here are manufacturing, aviation, and healthcare. The biggest employers for this city with the highest number of employees are Spirit AeroSystems, Via Christi Health, Unified School District 259, Cessna Aircraft Co., McConnell AFB, State of Kansas, Koch Industries, Bombardier Learjet, and City of Wichita.
Getting employment in this city is not very difficult as the unemployment rate is 3.8% (as of March 2019), which is equal to the national rate, but slightly higher than the rate for Kansas.
The average salary in this city is $45,537 (as of 18th May 2019). For degree holders, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) graduates earn $107,807 on average, Master of Engineering graduates earn an average of $73,490 and Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering (BSEE) graduates make on average $78,108.
Is Wichita a good place to buy a house?
When it comes to purchasing a property in Wichita, the most popular neighborhoods in the area include Rockhurst, Southwind, Courtland, Village, Sleepy Hollow, College Hill, Valley Center, Park Meadows, Maize, and North Newton.
The median listing price of properties in Wichita stood at $169,900 in April 2019. A 3-bedroom property can cost $35,200-$1,600,000. The prices for 5-bedroomed properties range between $54,900 and $1,125,000. Smaller 1-bed properties can sell for $12,500-$112,500.
Median rental price for this city stood at $850 in April 2019. 1-bed and 3-bed apartments in the city center cost $782.50 and $1,439.80 respectively on a monthly basis. Rent for a 5-bed property ranges from $795 to $2,500 per month.
For those who want to acquire a mortgage loan from any of the banks or credit unions in the area, the interest rate is 4.44% for a period of 20 years. The price of home insurance is roughly $845-$1,145, around $70-$95 a month.
Is Wichita a good place to retire?
The best thing about living in Kansas is the vastness. Living in Kansas offers expat retirees a chance to enjoy a low cost of living, lovely Vietnamese restaurants and wonderful openness with a green prairie.
In Wichita, the weather is very interesting. The area experiences all the 4 seasons, but there is a single weather element that remains constant throughout – the wind. Wichita’s weather can also be severe at times, from the tornado season during spring to hot summer temperatures to icy and snowy winters, but still, for those who appreciate a good sunset, the city’s skies seldom disappoint.
Wichita offers over eighteen independent living centers, senior apartments, and communities for retirees aged 60 and above. Typical prices in these facilities range from $1,500 to $7,905 a month.
Good examples of retirement homes in the area include Reflection Ridge Retirement Resort, Twin Lakes Apartments, Sedgwick Plaza, Via Christi Village Georgetown, and Chaucer Estates.
Is Wichita a good place to visit?
The big city of Wichita has an impressive mixture of history, culture, and nature. In recent times, the city has undergone a fresh modernization wave, with modern museums, special landmarks, and community revitalization.
The downtown area of the city was originally an old trading post, but now it is a vibrant place. There are over 30 museums, dozens of attractions, 8 shopping districts, numerous theatres, and festivals held all year long. In this city, there is always something to do.
Moreover, Wichita is gaining strong notoriety as a haven for foodies. There are over 1,000 restaurants in the area, including a boom of innovative farm-to-table options. Wichita’s central location in Kansas State makes it an easy city to reach through driving or flying. Downtown Wichita is just 10 minutes away from the airport.
One of the most beloved tourist attractions in this city is Keeper of the Plains. The 44-ft-tall steel statue is set on sacred ground, where the two Arkansas Rivers converge. It looks very impressive at night and the plaza surrounding it has benches and pathways for pedestrians.
Botanica Wichita is a lovely community garden that looks marvelous during spring and summer with thousands of daffodils and tulips. This garden has over thirty sections to explore, with the 2 most popular being Butterfly Pansy House and Downing Children’s Gardens.
Sedgwick County Zoo is a popular attraction for kids of all ages. It has over 3,000 animals including hippos, lowland gorillas, grizzly bears, elephants, and penguins. Exploring this facility is very easy because the animals are kept in groups.
One of the more unique places to explore in Wichita is Tanganyika Wildlife Park. The park’s open space allows visitors to enjoy a variety of wild animals such as giraffes, leopards, lemurs, and alligators.
There are many high-quality places where visitors can stay while visiting Wichita. These include Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview Wichita, Hotel At WaterWalk, Wyndham Garden Wichita Downtown, Hyatt Regency Wichita, Super 8 by Wyndham Wichita East, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Wichita East, and Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Wichita.
Frequently Asked Questions
– What is the cost of living in Wichita, Kansas?
One of the greatest advantages of living in the city of Wichita is the low cost of living, which is noticeably below the countrywide average. The housing costs and rental rates are generally cheaper compared to what is currently offered on the East and West Coast. The residents here tend to spend much less on day to day expenses such as groceries and basic utilities compared to the average American. On the downside, Kansas has one of the highest sales taxes nationally.
– Is Wichita a good place to invest in property?
Wichita’s real estate market is considerably lower compared to the national average. However, in spite of having a lower price, Wichita’s property market is appreciating at a quicker rate and is also more affordable than most other markets in the county. Appreciation and affordability are 2 indicators that continue to make real estate investing in Wichita a really attractive investment option.
– Is Wichita a good place to raise a family?
Wichita, KS has a great reputation for being a good place for raising a family. This city also attracts plenty of young professionals as well as retirees due to the abundance of job opportunities and low living costs. The median age of people living here is 35 years, and residents who are older than 65 years make up about 13% of the population. The city’s folks are traditionally conservative, and many of the families uphold Christian faith.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.