If you’ve been contemplating making a move to Kansas City, you may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed at the moment. There may not be much you even know about this city besides its barbeque and jazz music. But don’t worry. It’s easy enough to learn all about Kansas City, from the cost of living and the jobs to the schools and basic history. Here’s what you need to know when deciding if KC is right for you.
Basic InfoThe largest city in Missouri and the sixth in the Midwest, Kansas City is 486,000, which makes it the 36th largest city by population in the country. It was founded in the 1830s as a river port, and then in 1850 the incorporation of Kansas occurred. After that, the Kansas Territory was created, given the name Kansas City to distinguish between the two. It sits on the border of Kansas and Missouri, comprising 15 counties in both states. Kansas City, Missouri is the anchor city. The people are predominantly white and African-American here, but interestingly, Kansas City has the second largest Sudanese population in the nation. KC also has a large Irish-American community, boasting the famous Browne’s Irish Market. The average salary in Kansas City is $67,000, lower than the national average, according to PayScale. Also, unemployment is at 3.3%, also lower than the national average. Top industries in KC include healthcare and social assistance; technical, professional, and scientific services; finance; and insurance. The low cost of living here spurs many people to move to Kansas City, which has one of the lowest costs of living in the nation. It is 86.2 as of 2022.
Best NeighborhoodsNow that you know some basic info about Kansas City, it’s time to decide where you would live. It has a nice blend of mixture of urban and suburban communities. Here are some of the top choices to think about.
1. River MarketSitting south of the Missouri River, River Market is – you guessed it — a riverfront neighborhood that was the first incorporated district in KC. It has had many names over the years, like the City Market, Westport Landing, and River Quay. It houses the Midwest’s largest Farmer’s Market as well as a neighborhood that is quite popular with up and coming young professionals who don’t mind walking everywhere. This neighborhood mostly comprises couples in their late 20s, early 30s.
2. WestsideThis multiracial and multicultural community boasts KC’s most diverse neighborhood, appealing to people in their late 20s and 30s.
3. The Country Club PlazaMarked by beautiful architecture based in Spanish influences, you will find lots of fountains, custom ironwork and hand-painted mosaic tiles in this neighborhood. Most homes are on the shopping areas’ outskirts, with homes ranging from condos and apartments to single-family homes that have been refurbished. Others are modern or antique. It’s a good mix. This neighborhood appeals to educated people (singles and couples) in their 30s without children.
4. WestportJust north of The Country Club Plaza is Kansas City’s oldest entertainment and shopping district. This neighborhood used to be an outpost along the Santa Fe Trail. Now it’s a residential area home to longtime residents and an up and coming younger crowd. The average age here is 34.
5. BrooksideHome to KC’s first suburban shopping area, Brookside houses mostly high school graduates, with three-quarters of adult residents possessing college degrees. There are older homes here that are within walking distance of the shopping areas consisting of grocery stores, markets, shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses. You will enjoy the Brookside Art Fair and an Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade here.
Best Public and Private School Districts in KC: 2022The Blue Valley Unified School District in Johnson County has been ranked #1 among local public schools, while The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, MO was ranked the top private school, according to 2022 rankings list released by Niche. They analyze reviews and public data to create rankings and report cards for area schools, colleges and neighborhoods. The top 15 public school districts in the KC area for 2022 are:
- Blue Valley Unified School District
- Blue Springs R-IV School District
- Lee’s Summit R-VII School District
- DeSoto Unified School District
- Olathe Public Schools
- Park Hill School District
- North Kansas City School District
- Liberty School District
- Shawnee Mission School District
- Grain Valley R-V School District
- Piper-Kansas City Unified School District
- Gardner-Edgerton Unified School District
- Smithville R-II School District
- Basehor-Linwood Unified School District
- Ewing Marion Kauffman School
- The Pembroke Hill School
- The Barstow School
- Notre Dame de Sion School for Girls
- Rockhurst High School
- St. Teresa’s Academy
- Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy
- Kansas City Christian School
- St. James Academy
- Whitefield Academy
- St. Thomas Acquinas High School
- Faith Christian Academy
- Maranatha Academy
- Bishop Miege High School
- Blue Ridge Christian School
- The Lutheran High School of Kansas City
- There’s not a lot of traffic in Kansas City like in other major cities. In fact, it has one of the quickest commutes in the nation compared with the 50 largest metro areas. The average commute time is 22 minutes.
- You will need a car to live here. The public transportation system here isn’t great. While you will get bus service downtown, but it’s more sparse in many other places.
- KC has a higher crime rate than most of the other U.S. cities. Kansas City has 1,596 violent crimes per 100,000 people — 417 percent higher than the national average.