What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Kansas City?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

When I was younger, I was pretty shocked to hear that Kansas City was not actually in Kansas. It is in Missouri. Funky, right? As one of the largest cities in Missouri, it’s clear that Kansas City is a popular place to live for some. However, if you go online, you’ll see mixed reviews of the city as far as it being a good place to live. Did you ever wonder whether it’s the right place for your family?

Living in Kansas City has multiple perks, including a very affordable cost of living, plenty of amenities, a good economy, and excellent diversity. However, high taxes, a high crime rate, and poor schooling would be enough to scare many people away from living in this region.

Kansas City is one of those places that people either love or absolutely can’t stand. Thankfully, most people seem to like it. Let’s find out what your potential reaction to living in this massive city might be like!

What Are The Perks Of Living In Kansas City, MO?

As one of the barbecue capitals of the world, you can expect to see a lot of chefs proudly boast that they learned their favorite recipes within city limits. Of course, sinking your teeth into some tasty ribs is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg in terms of the perks of living in town. These benefits are the ones that will make the biggest impact on your life as a Kansas City local.

Affordable Cost Of Living

Missouri, in general, is one of the more affordable states in the nation. Kansas City is actually one of the few major cities where the cost of living index is below the national average. Currently, the COL Index rating for this city is 98.4, which means that residents will spend 98 cents for every dollar that would typically be spent in an average American town.

This is true for obvious stuff like food and clothing, but it also holds true for housing in the region too. The median home cost in Kansas City is a scant $146,300. This puts it at around half the nation’s median. In most other cities, home prices that are so small are virtually unheard of.

Awesome Amenities

There are a lot of things to do in Kansas City, especially if you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment. Along with being one of the best BBQ cities in the world, Kansas City has plenty of parks and recreational areas that you can peruse. If you’re the sporty type, you’ll be happy to know that there are tons of gyms and sports arenas you can enjoy.

The nightlife here is bumpin’ too, so don’t hold back if you love your music. It’s a jazz city, but you can find most other types of music here. Oh, and when it comes to the “nuts and bolts” stuff like grocery stores and shopping centers, it’s all gravy. Kansas City has a pretty decent infrastructure like that.

A Good Economy

Kansas City has a fairly strong economy, especially since many new business owners are now moving to the city to make their dreams come true. The unemployment rate in this area is a very respectable 4.4 percent. The median household income is $54,194, which means that you will not have to worry about being outpriced in terms of shelter here.

With all this information, it’s interesting to note that Kansas City does not have many Fortune 500 companies on its roster. In fact, it only has two. This means that many of the jobs that you’ll see within the city’s limits are going to be “mom n’ pop shops.”

Excellent Diversity

The Midwest is not exactly known for diversity. Far from it, actually. That’s one of the reasons why Kansas City is so exceptional. This is one of the most diverse parts of the entire state. Here, you’ll see a lot of African residents from Senegal as well as Latinx individuals. Almost every nationality is represented to some extent in Kansas City.

If you were worried about not finding people of your heritage here, don’t be. It’s a great town for people who yearn for diversity.

What Are The Problems With Living In Kansas City, MO?

Kansas City is a great place to live for some folks, but it’s not without problems. These issues below tend to be the most commonly complained about according to locals.

High Tax Rates

Most people don’t think of Missouri as a location where you would see high tax rates, but here we are. The truth is that Kansas City has a heavy taxation record for locals. The sales tax rate is 8.85 percent, making it higher than New Jersey’s. The city also has an earnings tax of 1 percent for all people working in the city as well as other additional local taxes.

Basically, what we are saying is that you better expect to be taxed to death here. But, the good news is that it’s money well-spent.

High Crime Rates

Like many other major cities in the Midwest, there is a serious crime problem that is going on in Kansas City. Only 4 percent of all towns are less safe than this place. Violent crime, primarily due to gang activity, has turned much of Kansas City upside down. Due to regular shootouts and other similar occurrences, it’s often dangerous to go out at night. You have a 1 in 70 chance of being a violent crime victim here.

Property crime rates, too, are pretty difficult to deal with. Theft and robberies are pretty common in the more dangerous parts of town, which means that locals should consider getting a home security device if they live in a bad part of town. As far as property crimes go, you have a 1 in 26 chance of being a victim.

Extreme Weather

The weather is rough in Missouri in general. It seems like Kansas City has a little bit of all the worst bits. There’s a risk of tornadoes due to the city being in Tornado Alley. You may actually need to get used to tornado drills if you move here.

The summers tend to be extremely hot, while the winters often come with a snowy cold. If you are not a weather-hardy person, then you will find this kind of seasonal change to get really old, really fast.

Little Public Transit

The vast majority of cities that are the size of Kansas City will have some serious public transit. However, this is not the case with Kansas City. Like, at all. There’s almost no public transit to speak of here, which means that a car is absolutely mandatory if you want to be able to function even remotely close to a normal person.

People who do not have a driver’s license in this area are at an incredible disadvantage when compared to others. Even getting to the grocery store will be a hassle, since everything is so spread out here. Unless you’re a serious hiker, you’re not going to want to skip a car. Ever.

On the flip side, the good thing about Kansas City is that the commute times are some of the lowest among the country’s largest cities. So, while you might struggle to get a car, you won’t have too much of a problem getting around once you have your own ride.

Related Questions

What is Kansas City’s food scene like?

If there was one thing that really, truly set Kansas City apart from others, it’s the love of barbecue here. This city is home to some of the biggest BBQ scenes in America and also set off its own unique style of barbecue. Along with great smoked ribs, locals are also pretty darn proud of the many food trucks that exist within city limits.Food truck gourmet shops are starting to become a cornerstone of the local food scene. In fact, the city regularly throws festivals where food truck owners can flaunt their hottest recipes. Needless to say, you’ll be well fed here.

How much money do you need to live in Kansas City comfortably?

It depends on how big your family is. If you are just a married couple, the bare minimum you would need is around $48,000. This is actually less than the average household income. The basic wage that you would need in order to live comfortably as a homeowner is $68,000. Thankfully, this means that most people in the area have a fairly decent shot at making it happen.

Is Kansas City a friendly place?

Yes! In fact, it’s considered to be one of the most warm and welcoming cities in the Midwest. People who live in Kansas City are known for getting excited when it’s about time for a block party or a barbecue. Welcoming others is practically an art form here, which means that you will love being a guest at almost any shindig that city locals will be throwing.With that said, this is one of those rare cities that can be fairly hard to actually feel lonely in. If you aren’t sure whether you’re ready for aggressively friendly people, step back!

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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