With a population of nearly 390,000, Wichita, Kansas is the state’s largest city — and it’s growing. Population numbers have risen over 4% since 2010. That’s not surprising with Wichita’s reasonable cost of living, low housing costs, and a solid economy. The downtown area has attractive parks, a new convention center along the Arkansas River, an emerging art scene, and an eclectic selection of restaurants and nightlife. Wichita is home to 33 museums covering subjects as diverse as science, railroading, art, and the old west. Residents and visitors flock to the city’s popular zoo and the Botanica Wichita, a public garden featuring 18 acres of plant life.

Wichita continues to build beyond its traditional agricultural history. Today, Wichita is home not only to the state’s traditional cattle and grain industries but to oil and aviation businesses as well. Aviation companies, like Beech, Cessna, Stearman, Lear, and Boeing, as well as the supporting parts and engineering firms, have earned this region the nickname “Air Capital of the World.” This makes moving a lot easier since there are many top-rated moving companies in Wichita that serve families and businesses.


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Living in Wichita, KS: What to Know Before Moving to Wichita

Located on the banks of the Arkansas River, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas. It offers the amenities of a larger metropolitan area and the neighborhood lifestyle of a suburb. Museums, art galleries, restaurants, and abundant green space make Wichita a popular place for visitors and residents. A low cost of living and reasonable housing costs make this area a desirable Midwest destination.

Pros and Cons of Living in Wichita


  • Cost of living
  • Attractive downtown
  • Arts and culture


  • Harsh climate
  • Economic cycles
  • Schools rated below average for college prep

Is Wichita a Good Place to Live?

Wichita is an excellent place to live and raise a family with its low cost of living, great employment opportunities, and cultural diversity. The city’s trolley system makes it easy to explore the landmarks and dozens of bars and restaurants in downtown’s happening business district. One of the more bike-friendly cities in Kansas, Wichita also enjoys faster commute times than the rest of the country. Affectionately referred to by locals as “Doo-Dah”, Wichita is also known as the Air Capital of the World as it is home to several aerospace companies that bolster the local economy.

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: Wichita’s property tax rate is 1.317% – low compared to Kansas overall but above the national average of 1.211% of assessed home value. For a house costing $129,000, the median home price in Wichita, the property taxes would be $1,699.
  • Sales Tax: The combined sales tax rate in Wichita is 7.5%. This rate breaks down to 6.5% for Kansas state tax and 1% for the Sedgwick County sales tax.
  • State Income Tax: The Kansas state income tax rate is 5.70%.

Housing Market

It’s a good time to buy in Wichita where the median home price is $129,000. Home appreciation over the last ten years has been 17.3%, while appreciation in Wichita is up 6.6% in just the last 12 months (2018-2019). According to zillow.com, Wichita home values are predicted to increase by 2% in 2020.

Most Wichita residents are homeowners. Renters make up 35.3% of the population. Average rent in is $871, well below the national average of $1,391. The median age of Wichita real estate is 44 years old.

The cheapest places to live are South Area, South City Community, Riverside, Pueblo, Planeview United, Hilltop, Southwest Village, Oakview, Macdonald, and Sherwood Glen.

Cost of Living

Wichita was ranked 12 of 228 cities, on niche.com,  with the lowest cost of living in the US. The city’s cost of living is 13.70% lower than the national average. Lower housing costs account for much of the reduced cost of living. Groceries, health care, and miscellaneous expenses all fall below the national average; however, utility costs are above the national average.

The median household income in Wichita is $48,982 a year, below the US average of $53,482 a year. The Economic Policy Institute Family Budget Calculator indicates a Wichita family of four with two working parents will spend $807 for housing, $744 for food, $1,210 for childcare, $1,196 for transportation, $1,165 for health care, $849 for taxes, and $626 for other necessities (repairs, insurance, clothing, eating out, etc.), totaling $6,597 in basic monthly expenses. The annual total is $79,169 required for a family of four to live in Wichita.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Wichita experiences all four seasons. The average yearly high of about 92 degrees F generally occurs in July. Summers are not only hot but humid. Nights will cool down to about 68 degrees.  Average winter highs are 42 with average lows of 22. Winters are typically quite cold, windy, and cloudy. The city can see extremes, from triple-digit humid heat in the summer to below zero windy spells in the winter.

Wichita gets some form of precipitation about 79 days per year and June is usually the wettest month. The area sees about 34 inches of rain and 13 inches of snow annually. There are about 221 sunny days every year, and often days are windy.

Residents watch for tornado season in the spring. Other natural disaster threats are flooding, high winds, thunderstorms with damaging hail, and high heat. July 2019 saw heat indices of 105 degrees. Sedgwick County has detailed emergency planning and warning systems information on its website. It’s a good idea to review this info before you move to Wichita so you’ll be ready in case of a natural disaster threat.

Economy & Job Market

The Wichita unemployment rate is 3.9%, on par with the national average. Recent job growth is slow but shows positive progress at 0.45%. Top industries are aerospace/aviation, manufacturing, engineering, composite and advanced materials, energy, business and professional services, value-added agriculture, information technology, and entrepreneurship.

Major employers include aviation companies like Spirit AeroSystems, Cessna Aircraft, Beechcraft, and Bombardiers Learjet. Other major employers are McConnell AFB, Via Christi Health, Unified School District 259, the State of Kansas, Koch Industries, and the City of Wichita.

Spiff up your resume and use Wichita online job boards to find employment that meets your skills. Almost all employers use digital hiring practices. A simple Google search will reveal many job sites to explore.

Traffic and Transportation

The average commute time in Wichita is 18 minutes compared to the national average of 26 minutes. Interstates 35 runs north-south through Wichita, then northeast to Toledo and Kansas City, or south to Oklahoma City. State Hwy 400 runs east-west through the center of Wichita. Interstate 235 runs north-south through the west section of the city.

The Wichita Transit System operates 48 public buses on 18 routes. Bus service is less available in the west, southwest, and southeast parts of the city. There is no bus service late at night or on Sundays.

The Q-Line Trolley offers free transportation around Downtown, Delano, Old Town, Douglas Design District, and Clifton Square.

A bike-sharing program allows residents to borrow bicycles for their commute or leisure activities from racks of white-and-blue bikes around the downtown area. Riders use an app to buy a pass (one-time, daily, or monthly), unlock a bike at a Bike Share station, log their ride, and then return and lock the bike at any station when they finish.

The city has a walk score of 35, a transit score of 20 and a bike score of 43.

What to Do

With museums, a zoo, a botanical garden, sports teams, entertainment venues, public parks, and an arts district, there’s always something to do in Wichita.

The city boasts 33 museums. One is sure to meet everyone’s taste. If you want to see dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies, visit the Museum of World Treasures. Go to Explorations Place to see the area’s premier science museum. Railroad fans will appreciate the Great Plains Transportation Museum, dedicated to preserving the area’s strong railroading history. Step back in time to the former home of Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Masterson at the Old Cowtown Museum. Located on 23 acres off the Chisholm Trail, Cowtown is the oldest outdoor museum in the Midwest and has 54 historic and recreated buildings. A former airport and Air Force base, the Kansas Aviation Museum celebrates the history of flight in Wichita. Or see one of only two airworthy B-29s at the B-29 Doc Hangar & Education Center.

Wichita is home to the seventh-largest zoo in the US. The Sedgwick County Zoo is the state’s most-visited outdoor attraction. Visitors can see 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species in settings that recreate their natural habitats across the zoo’s 250 acres.

Botanica Wichita, the city’s community gardens, offers 18 acres of plant life and more than 30 gardens and exhibits, including a children’s garden. Wichita’s public park system includes 144 parks that total over 5,007 acres of land.

Tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House, an important prairie house designed in 1915 and considered among the architect’s best work. Gallery Alley downtown is Wichita’s space for music and art. It’s the site of popular Final Fridays art shows the last Friday of every month. The INTRUST Bank Arena hosts music and sports. Other music venues include the historic Orpheum Theatre, Hartman Arena, and Century II.

Sports fans can cheer on FC Wichita, a professional soccer team that competes in the Premier Soccer League. Or follow the ICT Roller Girls, a professional roller derby franchise. The Wichita Force, the city’s indoor football team, won divisional and championship titles in 2015.

Schools and Universities

Wichita public schools spend $12,527 per student each year compared to the US average annual school expenditure of $12,383. Wichita Unified School District serves the city and educates 50,098 students in grades PreK-12. The student-teacher ratio 15 to 1, among 91 schools. Six Wichita high schools rank in “US News and World Report’s Best High Schools’, however when all Wichita schools are rated, they rank below average for college readiness with a score of 4.6/10. Forty-four private schools serve the city.

The city is also home to three universities:

  • Newman University is a private Catholic university. The institution offers more than forty undergraduate and several graduate programs and serves more than 3,000 students. Popular majors include elementary education, nursing, and biology.
  • Friends University is a private Christian university founded by Quakers. The university enrolls 2,000 students on a 54.5-acre campus. It is known for its unique zoo science and ballet programs.
  • Wichita State University is a public university with over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students on a 330-acre campus. The school offers 70 undergraduate programs in 200 areas of study as well as more than 40 masters’ degrees and 12 doctoral programs.


The overall crime rate in Wichita is 139% higher than the national average. Bestplaces.net rates crime on a scale of 1 – 100, with 1 indicating the lowest crime rate. Wichita violent crime scores a 48.4, well above the US average of 22.7. The chance of being a victim of violent crime in Wichita is 1 in 98. They rate Wichita property crime at 73.6, compared to the US average of 35.4. The chance of being a victim of property crime in Wichita is 1 in 19. In Wichita, you have a 1 in 16 chance of becoming a victim of any crime. The number of total year-over-year crimes in Wichita has increased in recent years by 9%.

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Best Neighborhoods in Wichita, KS

Review the eight following neighborhoods to find the one that best suits your desired lifestyle. If you have school-age children, note that the numbers following the neighborhoods’ assigned schools refer to greatschool.org ratings.


This suburban neighborhood was rated the ‘Best Neighborhood to Live in Wichita’ and ‘Best Neighborhood to Buy a House in Wichita’ by niche.com. 83% of residents own their homes. The area borders East View Park, which includes a children’s playground, exercise and fitness trails, a soccer field, baseball diamonds, and tennis courts.

Popular local restaurants include Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza, Fizz Burgers & Bottles, and El Agave Mexican Restaurant. The Doo-Dah Diner consistently rates as one of Wichita’s best restaurants with the best breakfast, and Tanya’s Soup Kitchen is popular for great soup made with locally sourced ingredients.

  • Population: 1,557
  • Median home value: $178,900
  • Median rent price: $1,145
  • Median household income: $81,053
  • Schools: Price-Harris Communications Magnet Elementary School 3/10, Coleman Middle School 2/10, Southeast High School 1/10
  • Something to try: Walk or jog the fitness trails in East View Park

Crown Heights

This cozy neighborhood with an urban vibe was voted the ‘Best Neighborhood to Raise a Family in Wichita’ by niche.com. 70% of residents are homeowners. This area also boasts a prestigious neighbor Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House.

There are lots of places for local fare. Visit Watermark Books & Café, a local, independent bookstore and eatery. Find great pizza at Ziggys Place. Feast on Mexican food at Molino’s Mexican. Find great burgers at Dempsy’s burger pub. Try the best diner in Kansas, Jimmie’s Diner, for breakfast all day and comfort food.

  • Population: 2,450
  • Median home value: $98,536
  • Median rent price: $985
  • Median household income: $54,765
  • Schools: Hyde International Studies and Communications Magnet Elementary School 5/10, Robinson Middle School 6/10, East High School 3/10
  • Something to try: Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Allen House

College Hill

This historic residential neighborhood measuring one square mile stands on what was a section of the Osage Indian Reservation. 67% of residents own their homes. College Hill Park offers residents a children’s playground, basketball, shuffleboard and tennis courts, and a swimming pool.

Visit Dempseys Biscuit Company for chicken, biscuits, and a popular bar. Enjoy fine dining and organic locally-sourced ingredients at Vora Restaurant European. Or try something unique at Noble House Hawaiian Foods for Hawaiian plate lunches, BBQ, poke, and sushi.

  • Population: 6,374
  • Median home value: $161,798
  • Median household income: $68,504
  • Median rent price: $940
  • Schools: College Hill Elementary School 3/10, Robinson Middle School 6/10, East High School 3/10
  • Something to try: Take the College Hill Garden and Architectural tour in June to see some of the homes on the National Register of Historic Places and the neighborhood’s most notable gardens

Sleepy Hollow

This quiet neighborhood lives up to its name. It has a suburban feel and is popular with families and young professionals. 63% of residents own their homes and 37% rent. A popular spot in the area is Sleepy Hollow Park. This charming park runs along a brook, extending from Rutan to Alfred MacDonald Park.

Residents can choose from a range of restaurants, from Salsa Street Mexican Restaurant and Cantina for Mexican food and outdoor dining to Georges French Bistro for French fare, or Bocco Deli for great sandwiches.

  • Population: 2,869
  • Median home value: $128,835
  • Median rent price: $966
  • Median household income: $67,247
  • Schools: College Hill Elementary School 3/10, Robinson Middle School 6/10, East High School 3/10
  • Something to try: Walk along the winding brook that’s the centerpiece of Sleepy Hollow Park


Voted one of the best places in Wichita to buy a house by niche.com, three-quarters of the residents in this neighborhood own their home. Widely spaced homes and quiet streets make this a desirable area.

There are a variety of restaurants nearby including Cheddars Scratch Kitchen for casual, inexpensive food and drinks, Café Asia, a local Chinese takeout restaurant, or Scotch and Sirloin, a popular steakhouse named one of America’s top 20 restaurants for wine and wine service by Wine Spectator magazine.

  • Population: 2,076
  • Median home value: $230,657
  • Median rent price: $860
  • Median household income: $87,615
  • Schools: Riverside Leadership Magnet School 6/10, Marshall Middle School 2/10, North High School 1/10
  • Something to try: Treat yourself to an elegant meal at Steak and Sirloin


Voted the best neighborhood for young professionals by niche.com, this area is virtually surrounded by the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers. 64% of residents own their home while 36% rent. The centrally-located Riverside Park features walking paths, a wildlife exhibit, a children’s playground, an interactive water fountain, a tennis center, a lily pond, a gazebo, and lots of open areas with picnic tables.

Museums in the neighborhood include the Wichita Art Museum, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Botanica, the Wichita public gardens, and Old Cowtown Museum. The Keeper of the Plains, a 44-foot tall steel sculpture, is a centerpiece for the community and features a water display and nightly Ring of Fire show.

Among the many popular restaurants in the area are Riverside Café, which serves breakfast all day and offers daily specials; R Coffee House offers comfort food and live entertainment with their coffee; or visit The Muse at the Wichita Art Museum for brunch, lunch, or a snack.

  • Population: 3,840
  • Median home value: $126,197
  • Median rent price: $717
  • Median household income: $55,145
  • Schools: Riverside Leadership Magnet Elementary School 6/10, Marshall Middle School 2/10, North High School 1/10
  • Something to try: Take a stroll at Botanica, Wichita’s public garden


In this peaceful, residential neighborhood, home values are solid, and real estate and rental stock are low. Some 78% of residents own their homes. The location is convenient for commuters. The area is near Claude Lambe Park, an 11-acre green space with a children’s playground. For local fare, try The Anchor or Dempsy’s Burger Pub

  • Population: 1,123
  • Median home value: $148,000
  • Median rent price: $1,530
  • Median household income: $51,094
  • Schools: Price-Harris Communications Magnet Elementary School 3/10, Coleman Middle School 2/10, Southeast High School 1/10
  • Something to try: Take a picnic to Claude Lambe Park

Northeast Heights

This beautiful community borders Wichita State University and is home to the headquarters of Koch Industries. Here, 69% of residents own their homes, while the other 31% rent. Fairmount Park, a popular community green space, features basketball courts, a children’s playground, a softball diamond, volleyball and tennis courts, and a water playground. Nearby, Dr. Glen Dey Park offers exercise and fitness trails, a football field, a basketball court, and the Wichita Wild Habitat area. I- 96 runs through the neighborhood, making commuting easy.

Visit Abuelos Mexican for Mexican food. Or stop by Deano’s Grill and Tapworks for beer, pizza, and to catch the game.

  • Population: 5,399
  • Median home value: $147,141
  • Median rent price: $708
  • Median household income: $65,022
  • Schools: Buckner Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School 1/10, Stucky Middle School 2/10, Heights High School 1/10
  • Something to try: Take the kids to the water playground in Fairmount Park

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