"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Maybe instead of the land of Oz, Dorothy and her little dog fell into the middle of Nowhere Nowhere, Oklahoma. In that case, a few hours' drive north on I-35 would have put her back into the middle of the contiguous United States, inside the Sunflower State.
If you had to answer which state is in the precise middle of the country, Kansas is the right choice. As far west as you could go before you're no longer east, as far south before you're decidedly in the South; Kansas is truly the heartland of America. As the 15th largest state in the country by area and the 34th most populous state in terms of residents, Kansas' state song, "Home on the Range" said it best, "where the deer and the antelope play." Home to just under 3 million Kansans, Kansas boasts plenty of wide open spaces. The urban and suburban areas are few and far between, with Wichita serving as the closest you'll get to a metropolis. In the state capital of Topeka, with its 127,000 residents, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone not working in state government or kin to a state official. Still, with enough land to carve out a corner of your very own and equal access to each coast, Kansas appeals to an array of folks who appreciate nature and the charm of an exceedingly Midwestern atmosphere.
Those seeking to move to Kansas often worry about one thing over all else: tornadoes. While Kansas gets its fair share of twisters, Florida is actually targeted more frequently by Mother Nature's tantrums. Other states, like Oklahoma and Missouri, are also prime real estate for storm chasers, so despite the house pitchin' and hinge un-hitchin' from the 1939 classic, "The Wizard of Oz," there are plenty of other destinations more likely to see a tornado and other severe weather.
Because of these fun tendencies, it is highly advisable to time your move to avoid tornado season in Kansas. This includes the months of March, April, May and into early June. It also couldn't hurt to make sure whatever rental property you find has some property insurance and storm shelter area.
One thing to consider when relocating to Kansas is what type of living you fancy most. If you're the outdoorsy type, you can find a wealth of locations in the Sunflower State to establish roots. Smaller cities and towns like Dodge City or Derby, Kansas allow for a more quiet, slower-paced habitat where high school sports and community fairs are the talk of the town for most of the year.
North West: Home to former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, this area holds the largest city in the Northwest of Russell, but drops off dramatically in terms of population the further west you go. Look for some house rentals here in the denser areas.
North Central: Steeped in history as the boyhood home of President Eisenhower, this Midwestern town has Swedish themed architecture and homes for rent.
North East: The capital city, Topeka lies in the northeastern part of the state and its name originals are unknown. There are lots of property rentals and house rentals here and in the surrounding Topeka area.
South West: A sparsely populated region where a more rural setting is to be found. It's in the Southwest where you could imagine a lyricist penning the words to "Home on the Range." Towns like Scott City and Coolidge, far away from the main highways but close to all of the agriculture and oil and natural gas drilling that has Kansas ranked among the country's leaders in fossil fuel production.
South Central: For those who prefer urban locales, this area with Wichita what you're looking for. With its range of cultural and historical museums and other resources, Wichita combines some of the hustle and bustle of the bigger mid-west cities with a small-town feel for comfort. Tons of property rentals and apartment options, such as studios and 1 bedroom apartments for those with more of an urban leaning here.
South East: Home to the Ozark Mountains, this region receives the most precipitation in all of Kansas. There are much fewer apts for rent here, though you will find some stunning outdoor activities.
Mountain lovers will surely head over to the western border of Kansas to the state's highest peak, Mount Sunflower. At a mere 4,039 feet above sea level, Mount Sunflower is a far cry from the highest peaks of the Rockies, but rising above the steady plains of Kansas and bordering states, Mount Sunflower offers hiking and climbing as well as winter slope sports that allow Kansas adventurers the mountain vacation they seek without having to leave the state.
Employment opportunities in Kansas include a mixture of local businesses as well as larger corporations that serve national and international industries. The largest single employer in the state, Spirit AeroSystems, is located in Wichita along with Cessna, Koch Industries, and Bombardier Aerospace. Overland Park has Nextel as well as UnitedHealth Group. Kansas City is home to a sector of General Motors, while UPS, Tyson's Meats, Farmer's Insurance, and Garmin hold significant assets and employ thousands of Kansas residents in smaller cities like Lenexa and Olathe.
Getting around within Kansas is served by the two major highways and numerous ancillary avenues. Leaving Kansas by air often takes leaving the state by road. There is not a single international airport in Kansas, leaving residents heading overseas or even to the far reaches of the country to choose airports in bordering states. In the east, a popular option is Kansas City, Missouri's airport located in Platte County. Southern residents commonly fly out of Tulsa, OK or Joplin, MO. To the West, Denver's International Airport serves the overseas aerial jaunts for Kansans. Flying shorter distances can be handled by Wichita's Mid-Continent airport. Regardless of the flight path, when leaving from the western part of the state, Denver is probably a better bet than driving cross-state.
There's nothing plain about Kansas. A state with a storied past of political significance during the formation of the union, the birthplace of notable and historical figures such as aviator and pioneer Amelia Earhart as well as the 34th president, General Dwight Eisenhower, and a place where a variety of corporate giants call home; Kansas is rich with opportunities for new residents with a wide range of interests and pursuits. Provided you take comfort in a simpler style of living and a more modest slice of easy-going midwestern appeal -- along with all of the sunflowers anyone could safely consume over a lifetime -- you'll find all that is necessary to fashion a life so sweet that if you should ever leave for whatever reason, you'll find yourself longing to return. Never mind the air travel constraints; just click your heels three times as you say to yourself there's no place like Kansas.
Apartment List has released results for Kansas from the second annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. The survey, which drew on responses from over 30,000 renters, provides insight into what states and cities must do to meet the needs of the 105 million American renters nationwide.
“Renters in Kansas are very satisfied with their state,” says Andrew Woo, Director of Data Science at Apartment List. “They gave many categories average or above-average scores.”
Key findings in Kansas include the following: