Coordinates: 38°N 98°W / 38°N 98°W / 38; -98 (State of Kansas)
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Plains cottonwood

Kansas (

tribe's name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning.[15][16] For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison

The first Euro-American settlement in Kansas occurred in 1827 at Fort Leavenworth. The pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery debate. When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854 with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists prevailed, and on January 29, 1861,[17][18] Kansas entered the Union as a free state, hence the unofficial nickname "The Free State".

By 2015, Kansas was one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans.[19] Kansas, which has an area of 82,278 square miles (213,100 square kilometers) is the 15th-largest state by area, the 36th most-populous of the 50 states, with a population of 2,940,865[20] according to the 2020 census, and the 10th least densely populated. Residents of Kansas are called Kansans. Mount Sunflower is Kansas's highest point at 4,039 feet (1,231 meters).[21]


The name Kansas derives from the

Dhegiha Siouan-speaking people who settled in Arkansas around the 13th century. The stem -kansa is named after the Kaw people, also known as the Kansa, a federally recognized Native American tribe.[22]


Samuel Seymour's 1819 illustration of a Kansa lodge and dance is the oldest drawing known to have been done in Kansas.


Siouan Kaw people. The first European to set foot in present-day Kansas was the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado
, who explored the area in 1541.

Between 1763 and 1803 the territory of Kansas was integrated into

Amerindians, among the explorers were Antoine de Marigny and others who continued trading across the Kansas River, especially at its confluence with the Missouri River, tributaries of the Mississippi River.[23]

In 1803, most of modern Kansas was

acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Southwest Kansas, however, was still a part of Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas until the conclusion of the Mexican–American War in 1848, when these lands were ceded to the United States. From 1812 to 1821, Kansas was part of the Missouri Territory. The Santa Fe Trail traversed Kansas from 1821 to 1880, transporting manufactured goods from Missouri and silver and furs from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wagon ruts from the trail
are still visible in the prairie today.

In 1827, Fort Leavenworth became the first permanent settlement of white Americans in the future state.[24] The Kansas–Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854, establishing Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory, and opening the area to broader settlement by whites. Kansas Territory stretched all the way to the Continental Divide and included the sites of present-day Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.

The first non-military settlement of Euro-Americans in Kansas Territory consisted of abolitionists from Massachusetts and other Free-Staters who founded the town of Lawrence and attempted to stop the spread of slavery from neighboring Missouri.

Missouri and Arkansas continually sent settlers into Kansas Territory along its eastern border to sway votes in favor of slavery prior to Kansas statehood elections. Directly presaging the American Civil War these forces collided, entering into skirmishes and guerrilla conflicts that earned the territory the nickname Bleeding Kansas. These included John Brown's Pottawatomie massacre of 1856.

Kansas was

Missouri legislature. His application to that body for a commission was flatly rejected due to his pre-war criminal record.[25]

After the Civil War, many veterans constructed homesteads in Kansas. Many African Americans also looked to Kansas as the land of "

freedmen like Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, began establishing black colonies in the state. Leaving southern states in the late 1870s because of increasing discrimination, they became known as Exodusters

At the same time, the

Wild West-era commenced in Kansas. Wild Bill Hickok was a deputy marshal at Fort Riley and a marshal at Hays and Abilene. Dodge City was another wild cowboy town, and both Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp
worked as lawmen in the town. In one year alone, eight million head of cattle from Texas boarded trains in Dodge City bound for the East, earning Dodge the nickname "Queen of the Cowtowns".

In response to demands of

evangelical Protestants, in 1881 Kansas became the first U.S. state to adopt a constitutional amendment prohibiting all alcoholic beverages
, which was repealed in 1948.

In 1922, suffragist Ella Uphay Mowry became the first female gubernatorial candidate in the state when she ran as "Mrs. W.D. Mowry." She later stated that, "Someone had to be the pioneer. I firmly believe that some day a woman will sit in the governor's chair in Kansas."[26][27][28]


The Great Plains of Kansas
Kanopolis State Park

Kansas is bordered by

geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is in Smith County near Lebanon. Until 1989, the Meades Ranch Triangulation Station in Osborne County was the geodetic center of North America: the central reference point for all maps of North America. The geographic center of Kansas is in Barton County


Kansas is underlain by a sequence of horizontal to gently westward

glacial drift and loess


The western two-thirds of the state, lying in the great central plain of the United States, has a generally flat or undulating surface, while the eastern third has many hills and forests. The land gradually rises from east to west; its altitude ranges from 684 ft (208 m) along the Verdigris River at Coffeyville in Montgomery County, to 4,039 ft (1,231 m) at Mount Sunflower, 0.5 miles (0.80 kilometers) from the Colorado border, in Wallace County. It is a common misconception that Kansas is the flattest state in the nation—in 2003, a tongue-in-cheek study famously declared the state "flatter than a pancake".[30] In fact, Kansas has a maximum topographic relief of 3,360 ft (1,020 m),[31] making it the 23rd flattest U.S. state measured by maximum relief.[32]


Spring River, Kansas

Around 74 mi (119 km) of the state's northeastern boundary is defined by the Missouri River. The Kansas River (locally known as the Kaw), formed by the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican rivers at appropriately-named Junction City, joins the Missouri River at Kansas City, after a course of 170 mi (270 km) across the northeastern part of the state.


Cimarron, Verdigris, and the Neosho
), it forms the southern drainage system of the state.

Kansas's other rivers are the Saline and Solomon Rivers, tributaries of the Smoky Hill River; the Big Blue, Delaware, and Wakarusa, which flow into the Kansas River; and the Marais des Cygnes, a tributary of the Missouri River. Spring River is located between Riverton and Baxter Springs.

National parks and historic sites

Areas under the protection of the National Park Service include:[33]

Flora and fauna

In Kansas, there are currently 238 species of rare animals and 400 rare plants.

Big Bluestem.[37][38]


Köppen climate types of Kansas, using 1991–2020 climate normals
Clouds in northeastern Kansas
Kansas summer wheat and storm panorama

In the

USDA hardiness zones for Kansas range from Zone 5b (−15 °F to −10 °F) in the North to Zone 6b (−5 °F to 0 °F) in the South.[39]

The western third of the state—from roughly the U.S. Route 83 corridor westward—has a semi-arid steppe climate. Summers are hot, often very hot, and generally less humid. Winters are highly changeable between warm and very cold. The western region receives an average of about 16 inches (410 millimeters) of precipitation per year. Chinook winds in the winter can warm western Kansas all the way into the 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) range.

The south-central and southeastern portions of the state, including the Wichita area, have a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers, milder winters, and more precipitation than elsewhere in Kansas. Some features of all three climates can be found in most of the state, with droughts and changeable weather between dry and humid not uncommon, and both warm and cold spells in the winter.

Temperatures in areas between U.S. Routes 83 and 81, as well as the southwestern portion of the state along and south of U.S. 50, reach 90 °F (32 °C) or above on most days of June, July, and August. High humidity added to the high temperatures sends the heat index into life-threatening territory, especially in Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Russell, Hays, and Great Bend. Temperatures are often higher in Dodge City, Garden City, and Liberal, but the heat index in those three cities is usually lower than the actual air temperature.

Although temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher are not as common in areas east of U.S. 81, higher humidity and the urban heat island effect lead most summer days to heat indices between 107 °F (42 °C) and 114 °F (46 °C) in Topeka, Lawrence, and the Kansas City metropolitan area. Also, combined with humidity between 85 and 95 percent, dangerous heat indices can be experienced at every hour of the day.

Precipitation ranges from about 47 inches (1,200 mm) annually in the state's southeast corner to about 16 inches (410 mm) in the southwest. Snowfall ranges from around 5 inches (130 mm) in the fringes of the south, to 35 inches (890 mm) in the far northwest. Frost-free days range from more than 200 days in the south, to 130 days in the northwest. Thus, Kansas is the country's ninth or tenth sunniest state, depending on the source. Western Kansas is as sunny as parts of California and Arizona.

Kansas is prone to severe weather, especially in the spring and the early-summer. Despite the frequent sunshine throughout much of the state, due to its location at a climatic boundary prone to intrusions of multiple air masses, the state is vulnerable to strong and severe thunderstorms. Some of these storms become supercell thunderstorms; these can produce some tornadoes, occasionally those of EF3 strength or higher. Kansas averages more than 50 tornadoes annually.[40] Severe thunderstorms sometimes drop some very large hail over Kansas as well. Furthermore, these storms can even bring in flash flooding and damaging straight line winds.

According to NOAA, the all-time highest temperature recorded in Kansas is (121 °F or 49.4 °C) on July 24, 1936, near Alton in Osborne County, and the all-time low is −40 °F (−40 °C) on February 13, 1905, near Lebanon in Smith County. Alton and Lebanon are approximately 50 miles (80 km) apart.

Kansas's record high of 121 °F (49.4 °C) ties with North Dakota for the fifth-highest record high in an American state, behind California (134 °F or 56.7 °C), Arizona (128 °F or 53.3 °C), Nevada (125 °F or 51.7 °C), and New Mexico (122 °F or 50 °C).

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Kansas cities (°F)[41]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Concordia 36/17 43/22 54/31 64/41 74/52 85/62 91/67 88/66 80/56 68/44 51/30 40/21
Dodge City 41/19 48/24 57/31 67/41 76/52 87/62 93/67 91/66 82/56 70/44 55/30 44/22
Goodland 39/16 45/20 53/26 63/35 72/46 84/56 89/61 87/60 78/50 66/38 50/25 41/18
Topeka 37/17 44/23 55/33 66/43 75/53 84/63 89/68 88/65 80/56 69/44 53/32 41/22
Wichita 40/20 47/25 57/34 67/44 76/54 87/64 93/69 92/68 82/59 70/47 55/34 43/24


Urban and rural populations

Known as rural flight, the last few decades have been marked by a migratory pattern out of the countryside into cities. Out of all the cities in these Midwestern states, 89% have fewer than 3,000 people, and hundreds of those have fewer than 1,000. In Kansas alone, there are more than 6,000 ghost towns and dwindling communities,[42] according to one Kansas historian, Daniel C. Fitzgerald. At the same time, some of the communities in Johnson County (metropolitan Kansas City) are among the fastest-growing in the country.

Cities with population of at least 15,000
City Population* Growth rate** Metro area
1 Wichita 397,532 3.97% Wichita
2 Overland Park 197,238 13.77% Kansas City, MO-KS
3 Kansas City 156,607 7.42% Kansas City
4 Olathe 141,290 12.25% Kansas City
5 Topeka 126,587 −0.70% Topeka
6 Lawrence 94,934 8.32% Lawrence
7 Shawnee 67,311 8.20% Kansas City
8 Lenexa 57,434 19.18% Kansas City
9 Manhattan 54,100 3.48% Manhattan
10 Salina 46,889 -1.71%
11 Hutchinson 40,006 −4.93%
12 Leavenworth 37,351 5.96% Kansas City
13 Leawood 33,902 6.39% Kansas City
14 Garden City 28,151 5.60%
15 Dodge City 27,788 1.64%
16 Derby 25,625 15.65% Wichita
17 Emporia 24,139 -3.12%
18 Gardner 23,287 21.77% Kansas City
19 Prairie Village 22,957 7.04% Kansas City
20 Junction City 22,932 -1.80% Manhattan
21 Hays 21,116 2.95%
22 Pittsburg 20,646 2.04%
23 Liberal 19,825 −3.41%
24 Newton 18,602 −2.77% Wichita
*2020 census
micropolitan area

Kansas has 627 incorporated cities. By state statute, cities are divided into three classes as determined by the population obtained "by any census of enumeration". A city of the third class has a population of less than 5,000, but cities reaching a population of more than 2,000 may be certified as a city of the second class. The second class is limited to cities with a population of less than 25,000, and upon reaching a population of more than 15,000, they may be certified as a city of the first class. First and second class cities are independent of any township and are not included within the township's territory.

Birth data

Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.

Live Births by Single Race/Ethnicity of Mother
2013[44] 2014[45] 2015[46] 2016[47] 2017[48] 2018[49] 2019[50] 2020[51] 2021[52]
White: 34,178 (88.0%) 34,420 (87.7%) 34,251 (87.5%) ... ... ... ... ... ...
> Non-hispanic White 28,281 (72.8%) 28,504 (72.7%) 28,236 (72.1%) 26,935 (70.8%) 25,594 (70.1%) 25,323 (69.8%) 24,549 (69.4%) 23,663 (68.8%) 24,056 (69.3%)
Black 2,967 (7.6%) 3,097 (7.9%) 3,090 (7.9%) 2,543 (6.7%) 2,657 (7.3%) 2,575 (7.1%) 2,458 (6.9%) 2,412 (7.0%) 2,316 (6.7%)
Asian 1,401 (3.6%) 1,359 (3.5%) 1,483 (3.8%) 1,299 (3.4%) 1,255 (3.4%) 1,228 (3.4%) 1,216 (3.4%) 1,146 (3.3%) 1,031 (3.0%)
American Indian 293 (0.7%) 347 (0.9%) 330 (0.8%) 173 (0.5%) 248 (0.7%) 217 (0.6%) 214 (0.6%) 162 (0.5%) 183 (0.5%)
Hispanic (of any race) 6,143 (15.8%) 6,132 (15.6%) 6,300 (16.1%) 6,298 (16.5%) 5,963 (16.3%) 5,977 (16.5%) 6,071 (17.2%) 5,970 (17.4%) 6,122 (17.6%)
Total Kansas 38,839 (100%) 39,223 (100%) 39,154 (100%) 38,053 (100%) 36,519 (100%) 36,261 (100%) 35,395 (100%) 34,376 (100%) 34,705 (100%)
  • Since 2016, data for births of White Hispanic origin are not collected, but included in one Hispanic group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Life expectancy

The residents of Kansas have a life expectancy near the U.S. national average. In 2013, males in Kansas lived an average of 76.6 years compared to a male national average of 76.7 years and females lived an average of 81.0 years compared to a female national average of 81.5 years. Increases in life expectancy between 1980 and 2013 were below the national average for males and near the national average for females. Male life expectancy in Kansas between 1980 and 2014 increased by an average of 5.2 years, compared to a male national average of a 6.7-year increase. Life expectancy for females in Kansas between 1980 and 2014 increased by 4.3 years, compared to a female national average of a 4.0 year increase.[53]

Using 2017–2019 data, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation calculated that life expectancy for Kansas counties ranged from 75.8 years for Wyandotte County to 81.7 years for Johnson County. Life expectancy for the state as a whole was 78.5 years.[54] Life expectancy for the United States as a whole in 2019 was 78.8 years.[55]


Northeast Kansas

The northeastern portion of the state, extending from the eastern border to Junction City and from the Nebraska border to south of Johnson County is home to more than 1.5 million people in the Kansas City (Kansas portion), Manhattan, Lawrence, and Topeka metropolitan areas. Overland Park, a young city incorporated in 1960, has the largest population and the largest land area in the county. It is home to Johnson County Community College.

Olathe is the county seat and home to Johnson County Executive Airport. The cities of Olathe, Shawnee, De Soto and Gardner have some of the state's fastest growing populations. The cities of Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, De Soto, and Gardner are also notable because they lie along the former route of the Santa Fe Trail. Among cities with at least one thousand residents, Mission Hills has the highest median income in the state.

Several institutions of higher education are located in Northeast Kansas including Baker University (the oldest university in the state, founded in 1858 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church) in Baldwin City, Benedictine College (sponsored by St. Benedict's Abbey and Mount St. Scholastica Monastery and formed from the merger of St. Benedict's College (1858) and Mount St. Scholastica College (1923)) in Atchison, MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Ottawa University in Ottawa and Overland Park, Kansas City Kansas Community College and KU Medical Center in Kansas City, and KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Less than an hour's drive to the west, Lawrence is home to the University of Kansas, the largest public university in the state, and Haskell Indian Nations University.

To the north,

Providence Medical Center Amphitheather, the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, and the annual Kansas City Renaissance Festival. Further up the Missouri River, the city of Lansing is the home of the state's first maximum-security prison. Historic Leavenworth, founded in 1854, was the first incorporated city in Kansas. North of the city, Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active Army post west of the Mississippi River. The city of Atchison was an early commercial center in the state and is well known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart

To the west, nearly a quarter million people reside in the Topeka metropolitan area.

Interstate 70 and the Kansas River is Junction City with its historic limestone and brick buildings and nearby Fort Riley, well known as the home to the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division (nicknamed "the Big Red One"). A short distance away, the city of Manhattan is home to Kansas State University, the second-largest public university in the state and the nation's oldest land-grant university, dating back to 1863. South of the campus, Aggieville
dates back to 1889 and is the state's oldest shopping district of its kind.

South Central Kansas

In south-central Kansas, the Wichita metropolitan area is home to more than 600,000 people.[57] Wichita is the largest city in the state in terms of both land area and population. 'The Air Capital' is a major manufacturing center for the aircraft industry and the home of Wichita State University. Before Wichita was 'The Air Capital' it was a Cowtown.[58] With a number of nationally registered historic places, museums, and other entertainment destinations, it has a desire to become a cultural mecca in the Midwest. Wichita's population growth has grown by double digits and the surrounding suburbs are among the fastest growing cities in the state. The population of Goddard has grown by more than 11% per year since 2000.[59] Other fast-growing cities include Andover, Maize, Park City, Derby, and Haysville.

Wichita was one of the first cities to add the city commissioner and city manager in their form of government.[58] Wichita is also home of the nationally recognized Sedgwick County Zoo.[58]

Up river (the

Santa Fe Railroad and trailhead for the famed Chisholm Trail. To the southeast of Wichita are the cities of Winfield and Arkansas City with historic architecture and the Cherokee Strip Museum (in Ark City). The city of Udall was the site of the deadliest tornado in Kansas on May 25, 1955; it killed 80 people in and near the city.[60]

Southeast Kansas

Southeast Kansas has a unique history with a number of nationally registered historic places in this coal-mining region. Located in Crawford County (dubbed the Fried Chicken Capital of Kansas), Pittsburg is the largest city in the region and the home of Pittsburg State University. The neighboring city of Frontenac in 1888 was the site of the worst mine disaster in the state in which an underground explosion killed 47 miners. "Big Brutus" is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) outside the city of West Mineral. Along with the restored fort, historic Fort Scott has a national cemetery designated by President Lincoln in 1862. The region also shares a Media market with Joplin, Missouri, a city in Southwest Missouri.

Central and North-Central Kansas

Presidential Library and the tombs of the former president, First Lady and son who died in infancy. To the west is Lucas
, the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas.

Northwest Kansas

Milky Way over Monument Rocks, Kansas, US
Kansas's Monument Rocks at night

Westward along the Interstate, the city of Russell, traditionally the beginning of sparsely-populated northwest Kansas, was the base of former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and the boyhood home of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. The city of Hays is home to Fort Hays State University and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, and is the largest city in the northwest with a population of around 20,001.

Two other landmarks are located in smaller towns in Ellis County: the "Cathedral of the Plains" is located 10 miles (16 km) east of Hays in Victoria, and the boyhood home of Walter Chrysler is 15 miles (24 km) west of Hays in Ellis. West of Hays, population drops dramatically, even in areas along I-70, and only two towns containing populations of more than 4,000: Colby and Goodland, which are located 35 miles (56 km) apart along I-70.

Southwest Kansas

Dodge City, famously known for the cattle drive days of the late 19th century, was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberal is located along the southern Santa Fe Trail route. The first wind farm in the state was built east of Montezuma. Garden City has the Lee Richardson Zoo. In 1992, a short-lived secessionist movement advocated the secession of several counties in southwest Kansas.[61]

Around the state

Gove County Badlands

Located midway between Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita in the heart of the Bluestem Region of the Flint Hills, the city of Emporia has several nationally registered historic places and is the home of Emporia State University, well known for its Teachers College. It was also the home of newspaper man William Allen White.



A population density map of Kansas

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Kansas was 2,913,314 on July 1, 2019, a 2.11% increase since the 2010 United States census and an increase of 58,387, or 2.05%, since 2010.[62] This includes a natural increase since the last census of 93,899 (246,484 births minus 152,585 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 20,742 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 44,847 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 65,589 people.[63] At the 2020 census, its population was 2,937,880.

In 2018, The top countries of origin for Kansas's immigrants were Mexico, India, Vietnam, Guatemala and China.[64]

The population density of Kansas is 52.9 people per square mile.[65] The center of population of Kansas is located in Chase County, at 38°27′N 96°32′W / 38.450°N 96.533°W / 38.450; -96.533, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the community of Strong City.[66]

The focus on labor-efficient grain-based agriculture—such as a large wheat farm that requires only one or a few people with large

machinery to operate, rather than a vegetable farm that requires many people—is causing the de-population of rural areas across Kansas.[67]

According to HUD's 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, there were an estimated 2,397 homeless people in Kansas.[68][69]

Historical population

Race and ethnicity

Ethnic origins in Kansas

According to the 2021 United States census estimates, the racial makeup of the population was:

White American, non-Hispanic (74.7%), Hispanic or Latino (12.7%), Black or African American (6.2%), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (0.1%), two or more races (3.3%), Asian
(3.2%), and American Indian and Alaska Native (1.2%). At the 2020 census, its racial and ethnic makeup was 75.6% White, 5.7% African American, 2.9% Asian American, 1.1% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.9% some other race, and 9.5% two or more races.

Kansas ethnic breakdown of population
Racial composition 1990[72] 2000[73] 2010[74] 2020[75]
90.1% 86.1% 83.8% 75.6%
5.8% 5.8% 5.9% 5.7%
1.3% 1.7% 2.4% 2.9%
Native 0.9% 0.9% 1.0% 1.1%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1% 0.1%
Other race
2.0% 3.4% 3.9% 4.9%
Two or more races
2.1% 3.0% 9.5%
Map of counties in Kansas by racial plurality, per the 2020 U.S. census

As of 2004, the population included 149,800 foreign-born (5.5% of the state population). The ten largest reported ancestry groups, which account for nearly 90% of the population, in the state are:

Polish (1.5%).[76] German descendants are especially present in the northwest and northeast with German immigrants settling and founding towns such as Nortonville, Holton, Sabetha and Horton. Descendants of English and of white Americans from other states are especially present in the southeast.[citation needed] Kansas is also home to a large Czech community.[77]

Mexicans are present in the southwest and make up nearly half the population in certain counties. Many African Americans in Kansas are descended from the Exodusters, newly freed blacks who fled the South for land in Kansas following the Civil War.[78]

There is a growing Asian community in Kansas. Since 1965, more and more Asian families have moved to Kansas from countries such as the Philippines, China, Korea, India, and Vietnam.[79]

As of 2011, 35.0% of Kansas's population younger than one year of age belonged to minority groups (i.e., did not have two parents of non-Hispanic white ancestry).[80]


English is the most-spoken language in Kansas, with 91.3% of the population speaking only English at home as of the year 2000. 5.5% speak Spanish, 0.7% speak German, and 0.4% speak Vietnamese.[81]


Religion in Kansas (2022), per PRRI

  Christianity (74%)
  Irreligion (23%)
  New Age (1%)
Reverend Charles Sheldon, Topeka resident and coiner of the phrase "What would Jesus do?"

The 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Survey showed the religious makeup of adults in Kansas was as follows:[82] 57% Protestant, 18% Catholic, 1% Mormon, 1% Jehovah's Witness, 20% unaffiliated, 1% Buddhism, and 2% other religions. In 2010, the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) reported that the Catholic Church had the highest number of adherents in Kansas (at 426,611), followed by the United Methodist Church with 202,989 members, and the Southern Baptist Convention, reporting 99,329 adherents.[83]

In 2020, ARDA reported 414,939 Catholics, 165,658 United Methodists, and 164,486 Southern Baptists.[84] In 2022, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)'s study revealed 74% of the total population were Christian; among them, 59% were Protestant, 13% Catholic, and 2% Mormon. The religiously unaffiliated were 23% of the population, Unitarian Universalists 1%, and New Agers 1%.[85]

Kansas's capital Topeka is sometimes cited as the home of

baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1901. It is also the home of Reverend Charles Sheldon, author of In His Steps, and was the site where the question "What would Jesus do?
" originated in a sermon of Sheldon's at Central Congregational Church.

Kansas is the location of the second Baha'i community west of Egypt, when the Baha'i community of

Baha'i Faith spread across Kansas.[86]

Topeka is also home of the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.[87][88][89] The church has garnered worldwide media attention for picketing the funerals of U.S. servicemen and women for what church members claim as "necessary to combat the fight for equality for gays and lesbians". They have sometimes successfully raised lawsuits against the city of Topeka.


Total Employment of the metropolitan areas in the State of Kansas by total Non-farm Employment in 2016[90]

Total Number of employer establishments in 2016: 74,884[92]

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Kansas's total gross domestic product in 2014 was US$140.964 billion.[93] In 2015, the job growth rate was 0.8%, among the lowest rates in America with only "10,900 total nonfarm jobs" added that year.[94] According to the Kansas Department of Labor's 2016 report, the average annual wage was $42,930 in 2015.[95] As of April 2016, the state's unemployment rate was 4.2%.[96]

The State of Kansas had a $350 million budget shortfall in February 2017.[97] In February 2017, S&P downgraded Kansas's credit rating to AA-.[98]

Nearly 90% of Kansas's land is devoted to agriculture.

soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. As of 2018, there were 59,600 farms in Kansas, 86 (0.14%) of which are certified organic farms.[67] The average farm in the state is about 770 acres (more than a square mile), and in 2016, the average cost of running the farm was $300,000.[67]

By far, the most significant agricultural crop in the state is wheat. Eastern Kansas is part of the

hard red winter wheat.[67] During 2016, farmers of conventionally grown wheat farmed 8.2 million acres and harvested an average of 57 bushels of wheat per acre.[67]

The industrial outputs are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum, and mining.

Largest private employers (as of 2016)[99]
Rank Business Employees Location Industry
1 Spirit AeroSystems 12,000 Wichita Aviation
2 Sprint Corporation 7,600 Overland Park Telecommunications
3 Textron Aviation 6,812 Wichita Aviation
4 General Motors 4,000 Kansas City Automotive manufacturing
Bombardier Aerospace
3,500 Wichita Aviation
6 Black & Veatch 3,500 Overland Park Engineering Consulting
National Beef
3,500 Liberal Food Products
8 Tyson Foods 3,200 Holcomb Food Products
9 Performance Contracting 2,900 Lenexa Roofing & siding
National Beef
2,500 Dodge City Food Products

The state's economy is also heavily influenced by the aerospace industry. Several large aircraft corporations have manufacturing facilities in Wichita and Kansas City, including

LearJet), and Textron Aviation (a merger of the former Cessna, Hawker, and Beechcraft brands). Boeing
ended a decades-long history of manufacturing in Kansas between 2012 and 2013.

Major companies headquartered in Kansas include the

(headquarters in Wichita).

Kansas is also home to three major military installations: Fort Leavenworth (Army), Fort Riley (Army), and McConnell Air Force Base (Air Force). Approximately 25,000 active duty soldiers and airmen are stationed at these bases which also employ approximately 8,000 civilian DoD employees. The US Army Reserve also has the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command headquartered in Wichita that serves reservists and their units from around the region. The Kansas Air National Guard has units at Forbes Field in Topeka and the 184th Intelligence Wing in Wichita. The Smoky Hill Weapons Range, a detachment of the Intelligence Wing, is one of the largest and busiest bombing ranges in the nation. During World War II, Kansas was home to numerous Army Air Corps training fields for training new pilots and aircrew. Many of those airfields live on today as municipal airports.


Kansas has vast renewable resources and is a top producer of

Megawatts (MW) from nearly 3,200 wind turbines in 2019. Wind generated the largest share of electricity from the state at 41%. An additional 700 MW of capacity was scheduled to come online during 2020. Kansas is also a leading national producer of renewable ethanol and biodiesel fuels at nearly 600 million gallons per year.[100]

Kansas is ranked eighth in

and other oil recovery techniques more economical.

Kansas is also ranked eighth in US natural gas production. Production has steadily declined since the mid-1990s with the gradual depletion of the

Hugoton Natural Gas Field—the state's largest field which extends into Oklahoma and Texas. In 2004, slower declines in the Hugoton gas fields and increased coalbed methane
production contributed to a smaller overall decline. Average monthly production was over 32 billion cubic feet (0.91 cubic kilometers).


Tax is collected by the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Revenue shortfalls resulting from lower than expected tax collections and slower growth in personal income following a 1998 permanent tax reduction have contributed to the substantial growth in the state's debt level as bonded debt increased from $1.16 billion in 1998 to $3.83 billion in 2006. Some increase in debt was expected as the state continues with its 10-year Comprehensive Transportation Program enacted in 1999.

In 2003, Kansas had three income brackets for income tax calculation, ranging from 3.5% to 6.45%.

The state sales tax in Kansas is 6.15%. Various cities and counties in Kansas have an additional local sales tax. Except during the 2001

Streamlined Sales Tax" was adopted on October 1, 2005, under the governorship of Kathleen Sebelius.[102]
Groceries are subject to sales tax in the state. All sales tax collected is remitted to the state department of revenue, and local taxes are then distributed to the various taxing agencies.

As of June 2004, Moody's Investors Service ranked the state 14th for net tax-supported debt per capita. As a percentage of personal income, it was at 3.8%—above the median value of 2.5% for all rated states and having risen from a value of less than 1% in 1992. The state has a statutory requirement to maintain cash reserves of at least 7.5% of expenses at the end of each fiscal year; however, lawmakers can vote to override the rule, and did so during the most recent budget agreement.

During his campaign for the 2010 election, Governor Sam Brownback called for a complete "phase out of Kansas's income tax".[103] In May 2012, Governor Brownback signed into law the Kansas Senate Bill Substitute HB 2117.[104] Starting in 2013, the "ambitious tax overhaul" trimmed income tax, eliminated some corporate taxes, and created pass-through income tax exemptions, he raised the sales tax by one percent to offset the loss to state revenues but that was inadequate. He made cuts to education and some state services to offset lost revenue.[105] The tax cut led to years of budget shortfalls, culminating in a $350 million budget shortfall in February 2017. From 2013 to 2017, 300,000 businesses were considered to be pass-through income entities and benefited from the tax exemption. The tax reform "encouraged tens of thousands of Kansans to claim their wages and salaries as income from a business rather than from employment."[97]

The economic growth that Brownback anticipated never materialized. He argued that it was because of "low wheat and oil prices and a downturn in aircraft sales".[103] The state general fund debt load was $83 million in fiscal year 2010 and by fiscal year 2017 the debt load sat at $179 million.[106] In 2016, Governor Brownback earned the title of "most unpopular governor in America". Only 26 percent of Kansas voters approved of his job performance, compared to 65 percent who said they did not.[107] In the summer of 2016 S&P Global Ratings downgraded Kansas's credit rating.[98] In February 2017, S&P lowered it to AA-.[98]

In February 2017, a bi-partisan coalition presented a bill that would repeal the pass-through income exemption, the "most important provisions of Brownback's overhaul", and raise taxes to make up for the budget shortfall. Brownback vetoed the bill but "45 GOP legislators had voted in favor of the increase, while 40 voted to uphold the governor's veto."[97] On June 6, 2017, a coalition of Democrats and newly elected Republicans overrode [Brownback's] veto and implemented tax increases to a level close to what it was before 2013.[103] Brownback's tax overhaul was described in a June 2017 article in The Atlantic as the United States' "most aggressive experiment in conservative economic policy".[103] The drastic tax cuts had "threatened the viability of schools and infrastructure" in Kansas.[103]



Kansas Highway Map

Kansas is served by two Interstate highways with one beltway, two spur routes, and three bypasses, with over 874 miles (1,407 km) in all. The first section of Interstate in the nation was opened on Interstate 70 (I-70) just west of Topeka on November 14, 1956.[108]

I-70 is a major east–west route connecting to Denver, Colorado and Kansas City, Missouri. Cities along this route (from west to east) include Colby, Hays, Salina, Junction City, Topeka, Lawrence, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City.

I-35 is a major north–south route connecting to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Des Moines, Iowa. Cities along this route (from south to north) include Wichita, El Dorado, Emporia, Ottawa, and Kansas City (and suburbs).

Spur routes serve as connections between the two major routes.

I-435 is a beltway around the Kansas City metropolitan area while I-635
bypasses through Kansas City.

U.S. Route 69 (US-69) travels south to north, from Oklahoma to Missouri. The highway passes through the eastern section of Kansas, traveling through Baxter Springs, Pittsburg, Frontenac, Fort Scott, Louisburg, and the Kansas City area.

Kansas also has the country's third largest state highway system after Texas and California. This is because of the high number of counties and county seats (105) and their intertwining.

In January 2004, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) announced the new Kansas 511 traveler information service.[109] By dialing 511, callers will get access to information about road conditions, construction, closures, detours and weather conditions for the state highway system. Weather and road condition information is updated every 15 minutes.

Interstate Highways

U.S. Routes


The state's only major commercial (

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, making it the second-largest commercial airport in the state.[110] Most air travelers in northeastern Kansas fly out of Kansas City International Airport, located in Platte County, Missouri, as well as Topeka Regional Airport
in the state's capital.

In the state's southeastern part, people often use


Dotted across the state are smaller regional and municipal airports, including the

Lawrence Municipal Airport, which houses many aircraft for the city of Lawrence and the University of Kansas, Miami County Airport, Wamego Airport, Osage City Municipal Airport, which is the headquarters of Skydive Kansas, Garden City Regional Airport, Manhattan Regional Airport, and Dodge City Regional Airport


1915–1918 Kansas railroad map

Up through the mid 20th century, railroads connected most cities in Kansas. During World War II, less profitable links were abandoned for scrap metal drives, then additional mileage was reduced as passenger service was halted caused by the wide spread use of automobiles and trucking on the expanding highway system.

For passenger service, currently the

Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach connects Newton to the Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[112] There has been proposals to modify the Amtrak routing through Kansas, such as: removing rail service from the Southwest Chief between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dodge City,[113] and extending rail service for the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to Newton with new stops at Arkansas City and Wichita.[114][115]

For freight service, there are three

Law and government

State and local politics

Executive branch: The executive branch consists of one officer and five elected officers. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected on the same ticket. The attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, and state insurance commissioner are each elected separately.

bicameral Kansas Legislature consists of the Kansas House of Representatives, with 125 members serving two-year terms, and the Kansas Senate
, with 40 members serving four-year terms.

Judicial branch: The judicial branch of the state government is headed by the Kansas Supreme Court. The court has seven judges. A vacancy is filled by the Governor picking one of three nominees selected by the nine-member Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission
. The board consists of five Kansas lawyers elected by other Kansas lawyers and four members selected by the governor.

Political culture

Since the 1930s, Kansas has remained one of the most socially conservative states in the nation. The 1990s brought the defeat of prominent Democrats, including

Kansas State Board of Education's 1999 decision to eliminate evolution from the state teaching standards, a decision that was later reversed.[117] In 2005, voters accepted a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The next year, the state passed a law setting a minimum age for marriage at 15 years.[118] Kansas's path to a solid Republican state has been examined by journalist and historian Thomas Frank in his 2004 book What's the Matter with Kansas?

20th-century state politics

Kansas was the first state to institute a system of workers' compensation (1910) and to regulate the securities industry (1911). Kansas also permitted women's suffrage in 1912, almost a decade before the federal constitution was amended to require it.[119] Suffrage in all states would not be guaranteed until ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.

The council–manager government model was adopted by many larger Kansas cities in the years following World War I while many American cities were being run by political machines or organized crime, notably the Pendergast Machine in neighboring Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas was also at the center of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, a 1954 Supreme Court decision that banned racially segregated schools throughout the U.S., though, infamously, many Kansas residents opposed the decision, and it led to protests in Topeka after the verdict.[120]

The state backed Republican Presidential Candidates Wendell Willkie and Thomas E. Dewey in 1940 and 1944, respectively, breaking ranks with the majority of the country in the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Kansas also supported Dewey in 1948 despite the presence of incumbent president Harry S. Truman, who hailed from Independence, Missouri, approximately 15 miles (24 km) east of the Kansas–Missouri state line. After Roosevelt carried Kansas in 1936, only one Democrat has won the state since, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

21st-century state politics

Voter Registration as of September 2023[121]
Party Number of voters Percentage
Republican 869,080 44.60%
548,630 28.15%
Democratic 506,958 26.01%
Libertarian 24,046 1.23%
Total 1,948,714 100.00%

In 2008, Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed permits for the construction of new coal-fired energy plants in Kansas, saying: "We know that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. As an agricultural state, Kansas is particularly vulnerable. Therefore, reducing pollutants benefits our state not only in the short term—but also for generations of Kansans to come."[122] However, shortly after Mark Parkinson became governor in 2009 upon Sebelius's resignation to become Secretary of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Parkinson announced a compromise plan to allow construction of a coal-fired plant.

In 2010, Republican Sam Brownback was elected governor with 63 percent of the state vote. He was sworn in as governor in 2011, Kansas's first Republican governor in eight years. Brownback had established himself as a conservative member of the U.S. Senate in years prior, but made several controversial decisions after becoming governor, leading to a 23% approval rating among registered voters – the lowest of any governor in the United States.[123] In May 2011, much to the opposition of art leaders and enthusiasts in the state, Brownback eliminated the Kansas Arts Commission, making Kansas the first state without an arts agency.[124] In July 2011, Brownback announced plans to close the Lawrence branch of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as a cost-saving measure. Hundreds rallied against the decision.[125] Lawrence City Commission later voted to provide the funding needed to keep the branch open.[126]

Democrat Laura Kelly defeated former Secretary of State of Kansas Kris Kobach in the 2018 election for Governor with 48.0% of the vote.[127][128]

In August 2022, Kansas voters rejected the controversial

Value Them Both Amendment, which would have eliminated the right to an abortion in the state constitution. The vote was the first referendum on abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned earlier that summer, and the result was hailed as a landmark victory for pro-choice advocates in the traditionally socially conservative state.[129]

In a 2020 study, Kansas was ranked as the 13th hardest state for citizens to vote in.[130]

National politics

Presidential election results
United States presidential election results for Kansas[131]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 771,406 56.00% 570,323 41.40% 35,755 2.60%
2016 671,018 56.03% 427,005 35.66% 99,547 8.31%
2012 689,809 59.59% 439,908 38.00% 27,815 2.40%
2008 699,655 56.48% 514,765 41.55% 24,453 1.97%
2004 736,456 62.00% 434,993 36.62% 16,307 1.37%
2000 622,332 58.04% 399,276 37.24% 50,608 4.72%
1996 583,245 54.29% 387,659 36.08% 103,396 9.62%
1992 449,951 38.88% 390,434 33.74% 316,851 27.38%
1988 554,049 55.79% 422,636 42.56% 16,359 1.65%
1984 677,296 66.27% 333,149 32.60% 11,546 1.13%
1980 566,812 57.85% 326,150 33.29% 86,833 8.86%
1976 502,752 52.49% 430,421 44.94% 24,672 2.58%
1972 619,812 67.66% 270,287 29.50% 25,996 2.84%
1968 478,674 54.84% 302,996 34.72% 91,113 10.44%
1964 386,579 45.06% 464,028 54.09% 7,294 0.85%
1960 561,474 60.45% 363,213 39.10% 4,138 0.45%
1956 566,878 65.44% 296,317 34.21% 3,048 0.35%
1952 616,302 68.77% 273,296 30.50% 6,568 0.73%
1948 423,039 53.63% 351,902 44.61% 13,878 1.76%
1944 442,096 60.25% 287,458 39.18% 4,222 0.58%
1940 489,169 56.86% 364,725 42.40% 6,403 0.74%
1936 397,727 45.95% 464,520 53.67% 3,267 0.38%
1932 349,498 44.13% 424,204 53.56% 18,276 2.31%
1928 513,672 72.02% 193,003 27.06% 6,525 0.91%
1924 407,671 61.54% 156,319 23.60% 98,464 14.86%
1920 369,268 64.75% 185,464 32.52% 15,586 2.73%
1916 277,658 44.09% 314,588 49.95% 37,567 5.96%
1912 74,845 20.47% 143,663 39.30% 147,052 40.23%
1908 197,216 52.46% 161,209 42.88% 17,521 4.66%
1904 212,955 64.81% 86,174 26.23% 29,432 8.96%
1900 185,955 52.56% 162,601 45.96% 5,210 1.47%
1896 159,345 47.63% 171,675 51.32% 3,527 1.05%
1892 157,241 48.40% 0 0.00% 167,664 51.60%
1888 182,904 55.23% 102,745 31.03% 45,500 13.74%
1884 154,406 58.08% 90,132 33.90% 21,310 8.02%
1880 121,549 60.40% 59,801 29.72% 19,886 9.88%
1876 78,324 63.10% 37,902 30.53% 7,908 6.37%
1872 66,805 66.46% 32,970 32.80% 737 0.73%
1868 30,027 68.82% 13,600 31.17% 3 0.01%
1864 17,089 79.19% 3,836 17.78% 655 3.04%
Kaw Nation

The state's current delegation to the

District 3) Davids is the second Native American to represent Kansas in Congress, after Republican Charles Curtis (Kaw

Historically, Kansas has been strongly Republican, dating from the

Antebellum age when the Republican Party was created out of the movement opposing the extension of slavery into Kansas Territory. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since the 1932 election, when Franklin D. Roosevelt won his first term as president in the wake of the Great Depression. This is the longest Senate losing streak for either party in a single state. Senator Sam Brownback
was a candidate for the Republican party nomination for president in 2008. Brownback was not a candidate for re-election to a third full term in 2010, but he was elected Governor in that year's general election. Moran defeated Tiahrt for the Republican nomination for Brownback's seat in the August 2010 primary, then won a landslide general election victory over Democrat Lisa Johnston.

The only non-Republican presidential candidates Kansas has given its electoral vote to are Populist

James Weaver and Democrats William Jennings Bryan (once), Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt (twice), and Lyndon Johnson. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's six electoral votes by an overwhelming margin of 25 percentage points with 62% of the vote. The only two counties to support Democrat John Kerry in that election were Wyandotte, which contains Kansas City, and Douglas, home to the University of Kansas, located in Lawrence. The 2008 election brought similar results as John McCain won the state with 57% of the votes. Douglas, Wyandotte, and Crawford County were the only counties in support of President Barack Obama.[132]

Abilene was the boyhood home to Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower, and he maintained lifelong ties to family and friends there. Kansas was the adult home of two losing Republican candidates (Governor Alf Landon in 1936 and Senator Bob Dole in 1996).

The New York Times reported in September 2014 that as the Democratic candidate for Senator has tried to drop out of the race, independent Greg Orman has attracted enough bipartisan support to seriously challenge the reelection bid of Republican Pat Roberts:

Kansas politics have been roiled in recent years. The rise of the Tea Party and the election of President Obama have prompted Republicans to embrace a purer brand of conservatism and purge what had long been a robust moderate wing from its ranks. Mr. Roberts has sought to adapt to this new era, voting against spending bills that included projects for the state that he had sought.[133]

State laws


state's constitution was amended in 1948. The following year the Legislature enacted the Liquor Control Act which created a system of regulating, licensing, and taxing, and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) was created to enforce the act. The power to regulate cereal malt beverage remains with the cities and counties. Liquor-by-the-drink did not become legal until passage of an amendment to the state's constitution in 1986 and additional legislation the following year. As of November 2006, Kansas still has 29 dry counties and only 17 counties have passed liquor-by-the-drink with no food sales requirement.[134] Today there are more than 2,600 liquor and 4,000 cereal malt beverage licensees in the state.[135]

On May 12, 2022, Gov. Laura Kelly signed legislation (Senate Bill 84) that legalizes sports betting in the state, making Kansas the 35th state to approve sports wagering in the US. This would give the four state-owned casinos the right to partner with online bookmakers and up to 50 retailers, including gas stations and restaurants, to engage in sports betting.[136]


Education in Kansas is governed at the primary and secondary school level by the

Kansas State Board of Education. The state's public colleges and universities are supervised by the Kansas Board of Regents

Twice since 1999 the Board of Education has approved changes in the state science curriculum standards that encouraged the teaching of intelligent design. Both times, the standards were reversed after changes in the composition of the board in the next election.


The Rio Theatre, Overland Park


The rock band Kansas was formed in the state capital of Topeka, the hometown of several of the band's members.

Joe Walsh, guitarist for the famous rock band the Eagles, was born in Wichita.

Danny Carey, drummer for the band Tool, was raised in Paola.

Singers from Kansas include Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge, Sharon native Martina McBride, Chanute native Jennifer Knapp (whose first album was titled Kansas), Kansas City native Janelle Monáe, and Liberal native Jerrod Niemann.

The state anthem is the American classic Home on the Range, written by Kansan Brewster Higley. Another song, the official state march adopted by the Kansas Legislature in 1935 is called The Kansas March, which features the lyrics, "Blue sky above us, silken strands of heat, Rim of the far horizon, where earth and heaven meet, Kansas as a temple, stands in velvet sod, Shrine which the sunshine, sanctifies to God."[137]


The state's most famous appearance in literature was as the home of Dorothy Gale, the main character in the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, is another well-known tale about Kansas.

Kansas was also the setting of the 1965 best-seller

Finney County

The fictional town of

The Flash
works and lives.

The science fiction novella A Boy and His Dog, as well as the film based on it,[138] take place in post-apocalyptic Topeka.

The winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal for excellence in children's literature, Moon Over Manifest, tells the story of a young and adventurous girl named Abilene who is sent to the fictional town of Manifest, Kansas, by her father in the summer of 1936. It was written by Kansan Clare Vanderpool.

James Gunn
's novels.


The Plaza Cinema in Ottawa is the oldest operating movie theater in the world.
Fox Theater, Hutchinson

The first film theater in Kansas was the Patee Theater in Lawrence. Most theaters at the time showed films only as part of vaudeville acts but not as an exclusive and stand alone form of entertainment. Though the Patee family had been involved in vaudeville, they believed films could carry the evening without other variety acts, but to show the films it was necessary for the Patee's to establish a generating plant (back in 1903 Lawrence was not yet fully electrified). The Patee Theater was one of the first of its kind west of the Mississippi River. The specialized equipment like the projector came from New York City.[139]

Kansas has been the setting of many award-winning and popular American films, as well as being the home of some of the oldest operating cinemas in the world. The Plaza Cinema in Ottawa, Kansas, located in the northeastern portion of the state, was built on May 22, 1907, and it is listed by the

art-deco movie house in Topeka opened its doors for the first time to movie going audiences, and today, in addition to screenings of independent films, the theatre acts as a venue for plays and concerts. The Fox Theater in Hutchinson was built in 1930, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.[142]
Like the other theaters listed here, The Fox still plays first run movies to this day.


  • The protagonist brothers of the 2005 TV show
    hail from Lawrence, with the city referenced numerous times on the show.
  • Most of the second season of the TV Series Prison Break had scenes that took place in Kansas. Specifically the towns of Ness City and Tribune as the character T–Bag searches for his for his ex-girlfriend who turned him in to the police. A season 1 episode also briefly took place in Topeka.
  • 2006 TV series Jericho was based in the fictitious town of Jericho, Kansas, surviving post-nuclear America.
  • Early seasons of Smallville, about Superman as a teenager, were based in a fictional town of Smallville, Kansas. Unlike most other adaptations of the Superman story, the series also places the fictional city of Metropolis in western Kansas, a few hours from Smallville.
  • Gunsmoke, a radio series western, ran from 1952 to 1961, took place in Dodge City, Kansas.
  • Gunsmoke, television series, the longest running prime time show of the 20th century, ran from September 10, 1955, to March 31, 1975, for a total of 635 episodes.
  • The 2009
    Overland Park
    , a suburb of Kansas City.



Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City
Team Sport League City
Sporting Kansas City Soccer Major League Soccer Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City II Soccer USL Championship Kansas City
Kansas City Monarchs Baseball
American Association
Kansas City
Garden City Wind Baseball Pecos League Garden City
Kaw Valley FC Soccer USL League Two Lawrence, and Topeka
Salina Liberty Indoor football Champions Indoor Football Salina
Southwest Kansas Storm Indoor football Champions Indoor Football
Dodge City
Topeka Tropics Indoor football Champions Indoor Football Topeka
Wichita Thunder Ice hockey ECHL Wichita
Wichita Force Indoor football Arena Football Association Wichita
Wichita Wind Surge Baseball
Double-A Central

Sporting Kansas City, who have played their home games at

soccer specific stadium now known as Children's Mercy Park

Historically, Kansans have supported the

flagship radio station for the Royals was WIBW in Topeka.[145]

Some Kansans, mostly from the westernmost parts of the state, support the professional sports teams of Denver, particularly the Denver Broncos of the NFL.

Two major

Heartland Park Topeka. The Sports Car Club of America
has its national headquarters in Topeka.


The history of professional sports in Kansas probably dates from the establishment of the

Western League.[146][147] The African-American Bud Fowler played on the Topeka team that season, one year before the "color line" descended on professional baseball.[147]

In 1887, the Western League was dominated by a reorganized Topeka team called the

St. Louis Browns
(the present-day Cardinals), by a score of 12–9. However, Topeka was unable to support the team, and it disbanded after one year.

The first night game in the history of professional baseball was played in Independence on April 28, 1930, when the Muscogee (Oklahoma) Indians beat the Independence Producers 13–3 in a minor league game sanctioned by the Western League of the Western Baseball Association with 1,500 fans attending the game. The permanent lighting system was first used for an exhibition game on April 17, 1930, between the Independence Producers and House of David semi-professional baseball team of Benton Harbor, Michigan with the Independence team winning 9–1 before a crowd of 1,700 spectators.[148]


David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is the oldest football stadium west of the Mississippi River, and one of the oldest standing football stadiums in the country. Built in 1921, it is home to the Kansas Jayhawks football team.

The governing body for intercollegiate sports in the United States, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was headquartered in Johnson County, Kansas from 1952 until moving to Indianapolis in 1999.[149][150]

NCAA Division I schools
Allen Fieldhouse at University of Kansas in Lawrence
Tyler Field in Eck Stadium at Wichita State University in Wichita

While there are no franchises of the four major professional sports within the state, many Kansans are fans of the state's major college sports teams, especially the Jayhawks of the University of Kansas (KU), and the Wildcats of Kansas State University (KSU or "K-State"). The teams are rivals in the Big 12 Conference.

Both KU and K-State have tradition-rich programs in men's basketball. The Jayhawks are a perennial national power, ranking first in all-time victories among NCAA programs. The Jayhawks have won six national titles, including NCAA tournament championships in 1952, 1988, 2008, and 2022. They also were retroactively awarded national championships by the

Final Fours during that stretch. In 1988, KU and K-State met in the Elite Eight
, KU taking the game 71–58. After a 12-year absence, the Wildcats returned to the NCAA tournament in 2008, and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2018. KU is fifth all-time with 15 Final Four appearances, while K-State's four appearances are tied for 17th.

Conversely, success on the

Orange Bowl for the first time in three tries in 2008, capping a 12–1 season, the best in school history. And when Bill Snyder arrived to coach at K-State in 1989, he turned the Wildcats from one of the worst college football programs in America,[151] into a national force for most of the 1990s and early 2000s. The team won the Fiesta Bowl in 1997, achieved an undefeated (11–0) regular season and No. 1 ranking in 1998, and took the Big 12 Conference championship in 2003. After three seasons in which K-State football languished, Snyder came out of retirement in 2009 and guided them to the top of the college football ranks again, finishing second in the Big 12 in 2011 and earning a berth in the Cotton Bowl
, and winning the Big 12 again in 2012.

Wichita State University, which also fields teams (called the Shockers) in Division I of the NCAA, is best known for its baseball and basketball programs. In baseball, the Shockers won the College World Series in 1989. In men's basketball, they appeared in the Final Four in 1965 and 2013, and entered the 2014 NCAA tournament unbeaten. The school also fielded a football team from 1897 to 1986. The Shocker football team is tragically known for a plane crash in 1970 that killed 31 people, including 14 players.

NCAA Division II schools

Notable success has also been achieved by the state's smaller schools in football. Pittsburg State University, an NCAA Division II participant, has claimed four national titles in football, two in the NAIA and most recently the 2011 NCAA Division II national title. Pittsburg State became the winningest NCAA Division II football program in 1995. PSU passed Hillsdale College at the top of the all-time victories list in the 1995 season on its march to the national runner-up finish. The Gorillas, in 96 seasons of intercollegiate competition, have accumulated 579 victories, posting a 579–301–48 overall mark.

Washburn University, in Topeka, won the NAIA Men's Basketball Championship in 1987. The Fort Hays State University men won the 1996 NCAA Division II title with a 34–0 record, and the Washburn women won the 2005 NCAA Division II crown. St. Benedict's College (now Benedictine College), in Atchison, won the 1954 and 1967 Men's NAIA Basketball Championships.

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference has its roots as one of the oldest college sport conferences in existence and participates in the NAIA and all ten member schools are in the state of Kansas. Other smaller school conferences that have some members in Kansas are the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Midwest Christian College Conference, and the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Many junior colleges also have active athletic programs.

Emporia State's women's basketball team, under head coach Brandon Schneider
, who is now serving as the women's basketball coach at the University of Kansas, has seen success as well. In 2010 the team won the NCAA Division II National Championship. Emporia State and Washburn in Topeka share a heated rivalry in all sports, mostly due to the close proximity of both cities.

Junior colleges


all consistently in contention for national championships.

High school

The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) is the organization which oversees interscholastic competition in the state of Kansas at the high school level. It oversees both athletic and non-athletic competition, and sponsors championships in several sports and activities.

See also


  1. Wichita metropolitan area
    is the largest centered in the state.
  2. ^ a b Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.


  1. ^ Riney-Kehrberg, Pamela. "Wholesome, Home-Baked Goodness: Kansas, the Wheat State" (PDF). Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains. Kansas State Historical Society (Spring 2011): 60–69.
  2. ^ "New vanity tag rule spurs drivers' creativity".
  3. ^ a b c Geography, US Census Bureau. "State Area Measurements and Internal Point Coordinates". Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  4. ^ USGS, Howard Perlman. "Area of each state that is water". Archived from the original on June 25, 2016.
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External links


Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood

Admitted on January 29, 1861 (34th)
Succeeded by

38°N 98°W / 38°N 98°W / 38; -98 (State of Kansas)