state of the United States of America

Kansas (pronounced /kæn'zəs/)[10] is a state in the Midwestern United States. The name of the state comes from the Kansa Native Americans, whose name comes from a Siouan-language phrase meaning "people of the south wind".[11] The land that would become Kansas was bought in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Kansas's capital is Topeka, and its biggest city is Wichita.

The Sunflower State (official);
The Wheat State;[1] America's Heartland[2]
Ad astra per aspera (Latin)
To the stars through difficulties
Anthem: "Home on the Range"
Map of the United States with Kansas highlighted
Map of the United States with Kansas highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodKansas Territory
Admitted to the UnionJanuary 29, 1861 (34th)
Largest cityWichita
Largest county or equivalentJohnson
 • GovernorLaura Kelly (D)
 • Lieutenant GovernorDavid Toland (D)
LegislatureKansas Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
JudiciaryKansas Supreme Court
U.S. senatorsJerry Moran (R)
Roger Marshall (R)
U.S. House delegation1: Tracey Mann (R)
2: Jake LaTurner (R)
3: Sharice Davids (D)
4: Ron Estes (R) (list)
 • Total82,278[3] sq mi (213,100 km2)
 • Land81,759[3] sq mi (211,754 km2)
 • Water520[3] sq mi (1,346 km2)  0.6[4]%
 • Rank15th
 • Length213[5] mi (343 km)
 • Width410[5] mi (660 km)
2,000 ft (610 m)
Highest elevation4,041 ft (1,232 m)
Lowest elevation679 ft (207 m)
 • Total2,940,865
 • Rank36th
 • Density34.9/sq mi (13.5/km2)
  • Rank40th
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
 • Official languageEnglish[9]
Time zones
Majority of stateUTC– 06:00 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC– 05:00 (CDT)
Greeley, Hamilton, Sherman, and Wallace countiesUTC– 07:00 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST)UTC– 06:00 (MDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-KS
Traditional abbreviationKan., Kans.
Latitude37° N to 40° N
Longitude94° 35′ W to 102° 3′ W
Kansas state symbols
Living insignia
AmphibianBarred tiger salamander
BirdWestern meadowlark
FlowerWild sunflower
GrassLittle bluestem
InsectWestern honey bee
MammalAmerican bison
ReptileOrnate box turtle
TreePlains cottonwood
Inanimate insignia
SoilHarney silt loam (unofficial)
State route marker
Kansas state route marker
State quarter
Kansas quarter dollar coin
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

Kansas was first settled by Americans in 1827 when Fort Leavenworth was built on the Missouri River. In the 1850s, more people came to live in Kansas. This was also when people were fighting about slavery. People were allowed to move to Kansas in 1854 because of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. When this happened, anti-slavery Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery people from Missouri quickly came to Kansas. They wanted to decide whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Because of this, a lot of fighting happened, and it was known as Bleeding Kansas. The anti-slavery people won. On January 29, 1861,[12][13] Kansas entered the Union as a free state--the thirty fourth state admitted to the United States.

Kansas is in a region known as America's Breadbasket. Like other states in this area, Kansas makes a lot of corn, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat;[14][15] they make one-fifth of all wheat grown in the United States.[16] Kansas has other industries too, including aviation and communications. Kansas has an area of 82,278 square miles (213,100 square kilometers), which is the 15th-biggest state by area. Kansas is also 34th most-populous of the 50 states because 2,913,314 people live there. People who live in Kansas are called Kansans. Mount Sunflower is Kansas's highest place at 4,039 feet (1,231 meters).[17]

The terrain of Kansas consists of prairies, minimal forests, with much land being farmed for grain crops. All of Kansas is in the Great Plains.



The name Kansas comes from the Algonquian term, Akansa, for the Quapaw people. These were a Dhegiha Siouan-speaking people who moved to Arkansas around the 13th century. The stem -kansa is named after the Kaw people. They are also known as the Kansa, a federally recognized Native American tribe.[18]



Early history


In 1539, Marcos de Niza, a friar,[19] reported rumors of Cíbola, a city of gold, to Spanish colonial officials in Mexico City. Niza said the city was in modern-day New Mexico.[20] In response to the rumors, two years later, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, with an army of 3000 Spaniards and 8001 Mexicans, marched northward from Culiacán in hopes of finding the city. When Coronado did not find the city in New Mexico, he continued northeast into the Mississippi Valley, crossing the present area of Kansas diagonally. This made Conrado and his army the first Europeans to see the Great Plains, including Kansas.[21] Later, Juan de Oñate also traveled to Kansas in 1601.[19]

In 1682, Jacques Marquette, Louis Jolliet, Louis Hennepin and other French leaders took formal control of the Mississippi Valley, including the land that would become Kansas. This land, known as the Louisiana territory, was used to organize trade with Native Americans. In 1763, France ceded the Louisiana territory to Spain.

Between 1763 and 1803 the territory of Kansas was integrated into the Spanish Louisiana. The governor Luis de Unzaga 'le Conciliateur', during that period, promoted expeditions and good relations with the indians tribes, 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.[22]

However, in 1803, Spain receded the territory back to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso.[19] On April 30, 1803, Napoleon sold the Louisiana territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.[19][23][24] In the early 1800s, Kansas was used to hold Native Americans that were removed from their native lands.[25]



On May 30, 1854, the Congress signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act stated that Kansas and Nebraska were both territories of the United States.[26][27] It also stated that Kansans would vote on the legality of slavery.[28]

Upon hearing this, about 1,200 armed New Englanders came to Kansas to vote against slavery. However, thousands of southerners, mostly from Missouri, came to vote for slavery.[28] The final pre-statehood vote was to allow slavery, and Kansas adopted most of Missouri's slave laws. There was fighting between Southerners and Northerners in Kansas. In one fight, John Brown and his men killed five people in the Pottawatomie Massacre. Later, Southerners destroyed Lawrence, Kansas. Kansas was called "Bleeding Kansas".

Between 1854 and 1861, Kansas proposed four state constitutions. Out of the four proposed constitutions, three did not allow slavery.[29] Finally, in July 1859, Kansas passed the Wyandotte Constitution, which was anti-slavery.[30][31] The constitution for statehood was sent to the U.S. government in April 1860 to be voted on. The constitution was passed by the House of Representatives, but rejected by the Senate.[32] This is because southern voters in the Senate did not like that Kansas would become a state without slavery. In 1861, after the Confederate states formed, the constitution gained approval from the Union, and Kansas became a state.[25][28][32][33]

Kansas in the Civil War

The Lawrence Massacre on August 21, 1863

Four months after Kansas became a state, the Civil War started.[34] Out of the 381 battles in the Civil War, four were fought in Kansas.[35] Throughout the war, Kansas remained a Union state.

On August 21, 1863, William Clarke Quantrill led a force of 300 to 400 Confederates into the town of Lawrence, Kansas.[36] Quantrill and his troops burned, looted, and destroyed the anti-slavery town. This battle became known as the Lawrence Massacre. In total, 164 Union soldiers and 40 Confederate soldiers died in the Lawrence Massacre.[36] In the Battle of Mine Creek, on October 25, 1864, Union soldiers attacked Confederates as they were crossing the Mine Creek. The Union surrounded the Confederates, and captured 600 men and two generals. 1,000 Confederate soldiers and 100 Union soldiers died in the battle.[37] In total, 8,500 people from Kansas died or were wounded in the Civil War.[11]

Post Civil War


After the Civil War, many free slaves came to Oklahoma (before statehood) and Kansas. In fact, between the years of 1879 and 1881, about 60,000 African Americans came to this region.[38][39] This is because the slaves wanted economic opportunities, which they believed awaited them in Kansas. African Americans also came to Kansas for better political rights and to escape sharecropping.[39] These people were called "Exodusters."

Recent history


Dust Bowl


From 1930 to 1936, western Kansas and surrounding areas went through a period of time called the Dust Bowl. During this time, Kansas had little rainfall and high temperatures. Thousands of farmers became very poor and had to move to other parts of the United States. In total, 400,000 people left the Great Plains area.[40] The years from 1930 to 1940 was the only time the population of Kansas went down. The number of people living in Kansas decreased 4.3 percent.[41]

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas


During the 1950s, school segregation was required in fifteen U.S. states. However, Kansas was not one of these states.[42] Instead, school segregation was permitted by local option, but only in elementary schools.[43] In 1896, the ruling from Plessy v. Ferguson stated that segregation was allowed, but equal facilities should be made available for blacks and whites.[44] Often, however, black schools received less funding and had fewer textbooks than white schools.[45]

For these reasons, Linda Brown and her family sued the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, believing their school was not equal. Brown won the case before the U. S. Supreme Court, and the ruling overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.[46] This was considered by many a landmark case in the civil rights movement.[44][46][47]


The Great Plains of Kansas
The Flint Hills in eastern Kansas

Kansas is the 15th-largest state in the United States. It covers an area of 82,282 square miles (213,109 km2). Of this, about 462 square miles (1196.57 km2) are water. This makes up 0.60% of the total area of the state.[48]

Kansas shares borders with Nebraska to the north, Oklahoma to the south, Missouri to the east, and Colorado to the west. Kansas is just as far away from the Pacific Ocean as it is the Atlantic Ocean. The geographic center of the main 48 states is near Lebanon, Kansas.[49] The geographic center of Kansas is in Barton County.



The underground of Kansas is made of dipping sedimentary rocks, and they are slightly slanted west. A series of Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, and Permian rocks are found in the eastern and southern parts of the state. In the western part of Kansas, Cretaceous can be found sticking up from the ground. This happened because of the erosion from the geologically uplifted Rocky Mountains west of Kansas. Northeastern Kansas was affected by glaciation during the Pleistocene.



All of Kansas is in the Great Plains,[50] where the land is mostly flat with prairies and grasslands. Eastern Kansas has hills and forests, like the Flint Hills and the Osage Plains in the southeastern part of the state.

Kansas increases in elevation from east to west. The highest place in the state is Mount Sunflower near the Colorado border. Mount Sunflower is 4,039 ft (1,231 m) tall. The lowest point is the Verdigris River in Montgomery County, at 679 ft (207 m) above sea level. It is a common misconception that Kansas is the flattest state – in 2003, a tongue-in-cheek study famously said the state is "flatter than a pancake".[51] Kansas has a maximum topographic relief of 3,360 ft (1,020 m).[52] This makes Kansas the 23rd flattest U.S. state.[53]


Spring River, Kansas

About 75 mi (121 km) of the Kansas's northeastern border is the Missouri River. The Kansas River is created by the junction of the Smoky Hill River and Republican River. This happens at Junction City. The Kansas River then joins the Missouri River at Kansas City. It goes 170 mi (270 km) across the northeastern part of the state.

The Arkansas River (pronunciation varies) starts in Colorado. It goes for about 500 mi (800 km) across the western and southern parts of Kansas.

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

National parks and historic places


Areas under the protection of the National Park Service include:[54]

Plants and animals


In Kansas, there are currently 238 species of rare animals and 400 rare plants.[55] Among those include: Boechera laevigata, Virginia Rail, Cleft Ledge, Royal Fern, Turkey-tangle, Bobolink, Cave Salamander, Peregrine Falcon, and Black-footed ferret.[56][57] Common animal species and grasses include: Crows, Deer, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Mice, Moles, Opossum, Prairie Dogs, Raccoon, Tripsacum dactyloides, Prairie Dropseed, Indian Grass, Little Bluestem, Switch Grass, Northern Sea Oats, Tussock Sedge, Sideoats Grama, and Big Bluestem.[58][59]


Köppen climate types in Kansas
Clouds in northeastern Kansas
Kansas Summer Wheat and Storm Panorama
A tornado in Manhattan, Kansas

The Köppen climate classification says that Kansas's climate has three types depending on where in the state it is: it has humid continental, semi-arid steppe, and humid subtropical. The eastern 2/3 of the state (especially the northeastern part) has a humid continental climate. This means it has cool to cold winters and hot, often humid summers. Most of the precipitation happens during both the summer and the spring.

The western 1/3 of the state – from about U.S. Route 83 to west of it – has a semiarid steppe climate. Summers are hot, often very hot, and generally less humid. Winters vary a lot. Winters can be anything between warm and very cold. The western region gets 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 far south-central and southeastern parts of Kansas, including the Wichita area, have a humid subtropical climate. This means it has hot and humid summers, and it has milder winters. It also has more precipitation than other places in Kansas. Some things about three climates can be found in most of Kansas. Many parts can get droughts and varied weather. Places can be dry or humid. Places can get both warm or cold in the winter.

Temperatures in many areas in the western half of Kansas reach 90 °F (32 °C) or hotter on most days of June, July, and August. Because of the high humidity, the heat index can be deadly, especially in Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Russell, Hays, and Great Bend. Temperatures are often high in Dodge City, Garden City, and Liberal, but the heat index in those three cities is usually lower than the actual air temperature.

Temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) or higher are not as common in the eastern half of Kansas. However, higher humidity and the urban heat island effect make most summer days reach between 107 °F (42 °C) and 114 °F (46 °C) in Topeka, Lawrence, and the Kansas City metropolitan area. During the summer, the low temperatures each night in the northeastern part of the state don't get colder than 80 °F (27 °C) very often. Also, because of the humidity being between 85 and 95 percent, dangerous heat can be felt all day.

Kansas has a varied climate with an average yearly temperature of 56°F (13°C).[60] The highest temperature ever in Kansas is 121 °F (49.4 °C). This happened in Fredonia on July 18, 1936, and in Alton on July 24, 1936. The lowest temperature ever in Kansas is -40 °F (-40 °C). This occurred in Lebanon on February 13, 1905.[61] Kansas is in a temperate area of the country. Like other states in this region, Kansas has four distinct seasons.

Kansas can have extreme weather in all four seasons. For example, in spring and autumn, Kansas has many tornadoes. In fact, Kansas gets about 55 tornadoes per year.[62] This is because Kansas is in the area known as Tornado Alley, where cold and warm air masses come together to make severe weather.

In summer, Kansas has experienced severe droughts. For example, in 1934, 1936, and 1939, Kansas had less than average rainfall and widespread dust storms as a part of the Dust Bowl.[63][64]

In winter, Kansas has snow in most parts of the state.[65] The average snowfall in the northern half of the state is 16 inches, with the average snowfall in the southern half of the state being 8 inches.[66] Blizzards and related snowstorms are rare in Kansas.[67]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Kansas Cities
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 54/30 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 56/33 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 54/34 43/24
Concordia Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Dodge City Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Goodland Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Topeka Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall Wichita Weather - Kansas - Average Temperatures and Rainfall

Cities and Counties


Kansas is organized into 105 counties.[68] Each county has a county seat. There are 625 incorporated cities in Kansas.[69]

Wichita is the biggest city in Kansas; it has almost 400,000 people.[70] It is in Sedgwick County, which has about 520,000 people. Sedgwick County has the biggest city in Kansas, but it does not have the most people of any county in Kansas; Johnson County has more than 600,000 people. Johnson County has four of the biggest cities in Kansas: Overland Park, Olathe, Shawnee, and Lenexa. They are all suburbs of nearby Kansas City. Topeka is the capital of Kansas. Lawrence is a college town between Kansas City and Topeka.


Historical population
Census Pop.
A population map of Kansas, with densely populated areas in dark green

Kansas had 625 cities in 2020.[69] The largest city in Kansas is Wichita, which had a population of 397,532 in 2020. The other largest cities in Kansas are: Overland Park, 197,238; Kansas City, 156,607; Olathe, 141,290; and Topeka, 126,587.[71] Between the years of 2010 and 2020, the Kansas population increased 3.0 percent.



The 2010 Census says that the people of Kansas were:

  • 83.8% White American (77.5% non-Hispanic white)
  • 5.9% Black or African American
  • 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native
  • 2.4% Asian American
  • 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander
  • 3.0% from two or more races.

Ethnically 10.5% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).[73][74] They are mostly in southwest Kansas. Many black people in Kansas were from the Exodusters, free black people who left the South.

As of 2011, 35.0% of Kansas's population younger than one year old were part of a minority group (i.e., did not have two parents who were non-Hispanic white).[75]

Kansas ethnic breakdown of population
Racial composition 1990[76] 2000[77] 2010[78] 2020[79]
White 90.1% 86.1% 83.8% 75.6%
Black 5.8% 5.8% 5.9% 5.7%
Asian 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%



English is the most-spoken language in Kansas. About 95% of people only speak English. Spanish is second.[80]



Northeast Kansas

Aerial view Lawrence, Kansas
Kansas City

The northeastern part of the state, going from the eastern border to Junction City and from the Nebraska border to south of Johnson County, has more than 1.5 million people in the Kansas City (Kansas portion), Manhattan, Lawrence, and Topeka metropolitan areas. Overland Park is the biggest city in the county. Johnson County Community College is there, and the corporate campus of Sprint Nextel is also there. In 2006, Overland Park was ranked as the sixth best place to live in America; the nearby city of Olathe was 13th.[81]

Olathe is the county seat of Johnson County. Olathe, Shawnee, De Soto, and Gardner are some of Kansas's fastest growing cities.

There are many universities and colleges in the northeast. Baker University is the oldest university in the state (created in 1858), and it is in Baldwin City. Benedictine College is in Atchison. MidAmerica Nazarene University is in Olathe. Ottawa University is in Ottawa and Overland Park. Kansas City Kansas Community College and KU Medical Center are in Kansas City. The KU Edwards Campus is in Overland Park. Lawrence has the University of Kansas, the biggest public university in Kansas. Lawrence also has Haskell Indian Nations University.

Topeka is the state capital, and about 250,000 people live in the metropolitan area. Washburn University and Washburn Institute of Technology are in Topeka.


Wichita, the biggest city in the state of Kansas

In south-central Kansas, the Wichita metropolitan area has over 600,000 people.[82] Wichita is the biggest city in the state in terms of both land area and number of people. 'The Air Capital' is a major manufacturing area for the aircraft industry. It's also where Wichita State University is. Before Wichita was 'The Air Capital' it was a cowtown.[83] Wichita's population growth has grown by more than 10%. The nearby suburbs are some of the fastest growing cities in Kansas. The number of people in Goddard has grown by more than 11% per year since 2000.[84]

Wichita was one of the first cities to add the city commissioner and city manager in their form of government.[83] Wichita is also home of the nationally recognized Sedgwick County Zoo.[83]

Southeast Kansas


Southeast Kansas is different in that it was a coal-mining region. It has many places on the National Register of Historic Places. Pittsburg is the biggest city in the region. It is where Pittsburg State University is. Frontenac in 1888 was where one of the worst mine disasters in Kansas happened; an underground explosion killed 47 miners. Fort Scott has a national cemetery. It was designated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

Central Kansas


Salina is the biggest city in central and north-central Kansas. South of Salina is the small city of Lindsborg. Lindsborg has many Dala horses. Abilene was where President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived. It is where his Presidential Library is. It also has the tombs of the former president, First Lady and son who died in infancy.

Farmland and the Great Plains in central Kansas

Northwest Kansas

Kansas' Monument Rocks at night

The city of Hays is the biggest city in the northwest as it has about 20,000 people living there. Hays is where Fort Hays State University is. It also has the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

There are very few people that live west of Hays. There are only two towns that have at least 4,000 people: Colby and Goodland.

Southwest Kansas


Dodge City was famous for the cattle drives it had in the late 19th century. It was built along the old Santa Fe Trail route. The city of Liberal is 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.


Largest private employers (as of 2016)[85]
Rank Business Employees Location Industry
No. 1 Spirit AeroSystems 13,300 Wichita Aviation
No. 2 Sprint Corporation 7,600 Overland Park Telecommunications
No. 3 Textron Aviation 9,500 Wichita Aviation
No. 4 General Motors 4,000 Kansas City Automotive manufacturing
No. 5 Bombardier Aerospace 3,500 Wichita Aviation
No. 6 Black & Veatch 3,500 Overland Park Engineering Consulting
No. 7 National Beef 3500 Liberal Food Products
No. 8 Tyson Foods 3,200 Holcomb Food Products
No. 9 Performance Contracting 2,900 Lenexa Roofing & siding
No. 10 National Beef 2,500 Dodge City Food Products

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Kansas's total gross domestic product in 2014 was US$140,964 billion.[86] In 2015, the job growth rate in was .8%. This was one of the lowest rate in America with only "10,900 total nonfarm jobs" added that year.[87] The Kansas Department of Labor's 2016 report found the average yearly wage was $42,930 in 2015.[88] In April 2016, the state's unemployment rate was 4.2%.[89]

The State of Kansas had a $350 million budget deficit in February 2017.[90] In February 2017, S&P downgraded Kansas's credit rating to AA-.[91]

The median household income for Kansas was $47,709 in 2009.[92] The gross domestic product (GDP) for Kansas was $122,700,000,000 ($122.7 billion) in 2008. Overall, Kansas' GDP accounts for less than 1 percent of total U.S. economy.[93]

Kansas has three big military bases: Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and McConnell Air Force Base. The US Army reserve has about 25,000 soldiers at these bases, and they also have about 8,000 civilian employees there.


A Kansas farmer feeds his cattle.

40% of Kansas's economy is farming.[94] In 2017, there were 58,569 farms in Kansas.[94]

In 2020, Kansas produced more grain sorghum and wheat than any other state in the United States.[95] Kansas farmers produce about 400 million bushels of wheat per year.[16] Kansas also ranks second in the United States in cropland and silage sorghum, third in cattle and raw meat, and fourth in sunflowers produced.[15][94][95] Other agricultural products are cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt.[95]

87.5% of Kansas's land is used for farming.[96][97] As of 2018, there were 59,600 farms in Kansas, 86 (0.14%) of which are certified organic farms.[97] The size of the average farm in the state is 781 acres (more than a square mile).[96] In 2016, the average cost of running the farm was $300,000.[97]



The industrial products are transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum, and mining. 4% of Kansas's GDP is from the aviation industry.[98] Many parts of airplanes are made in Wichita. Also, many important companies are near Kansas City, Missouri. For example, the Sprint Nextel Corporation is one of the biggest telephone companies in the United States. Its main operational offices are in Overland Park, Kansas.[99]



Kansas has many renewable resources. Kansas is one of the biggest producers of wind power in the United States. In 2019, Kansas had an installed capacity of about 6,100 Megawatts (MW) from about 3,200 wind turbines. Wind produced the biggest amount of electricity from the state at 41%. An additional 700 MW of capacity was scheduled to become available during 2020. Kansas is also one of the biggest national producers of renewable ethanol and biodiesel fuels; Kansas produces about 600 million gallons per year.[100]

Kansas is eighth in US petroleum extraction. Production has slowly lowered because Kansas's limited economical reserves (especially from the Anadarko Basin) are being used up. Since oil prices reached their lowest level in 1999, oil production in Kansas has remained about the same; it had an average monthly rate of about 2.8 million barrels (450,000 cubic meters) in 2004. The recent higher prices have made carbon dioxide sequestration and other oil recovery techniques more economical.

Kansas is also eighth in US natural gas production. Production has slowly lowered since the mid-1990s with the slow depletion of the Hugoton Natural Gas Field—the state's biggest 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).

During his campaign for the 2010 election, Governor Sam Brownback said he would get rid of the state income tax.[101] In May 2012, Governor Brownback signed into law the Kansas Senate Bill Substitute HB 2117.[102] Starting in 2013, the "ambitious tax overhaul" lowered income tax, got rid of some corporate taxes, and created pass-through income tax exemptions. He raised the sales tax by one percent to make up for the loss of the other taxes. However, the sales tax was not enough to make up for it. He made cuts to education and some state services to make up for the lost revenue.[103] The tax cut led to years of budget shortfalls. The worst was 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."[90]

The economic growth that Brownback hoped for never happened. He argued that it was because of "low wheat and oil prices and a fewer aircraft sales."[101] The state general fund debt load was $83 million in fiscal year 2010. By fiscal year 2017 the debt load sat at $179 million.[104] In 2016, Governor Brownback earned the title of "most unpopular governor in America". Only 26 percent of Kansas voters approved of his job performance. 65 percent said they did not.[105] In the summer of 2016, S&P Global Ratings downgraded Kansas's credit rating.[91] In February 2017, S&P lowered it to AA-.[91]

In February 2017, a bi-partisan group wrote 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."[90] On June 6, 2017 a group of Democrats and newly elected Republicans overrode Brownback's veto. They increased taxes to an amount that is close to what it was before 2013.[101] Brownback's tax plan was described in a June 2017 article in The Atlantic as the United States' "most aggressive experiment in conservative economic policy".[101] The tax cuts had made schools and infrastructure difficult to get funding in Kansas.[101]

"The Brownback experiment didn't work. We saw that loud and clear."

— Heidi Holliday, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth 2017[101]


Interstate 35 as it enters Kansas in Rosedale.



There are two interstate highways in Kansas. The first part of the interstate highway opened on Interstate 70 west of Topeka. It opened on November 14, 1956.[106]

Interstate 70 is an important east–west highway. People can go from Kansas City, Missouri to Denver, Colorado. Cities on this highway include Colby, Hays, Salina, Junction City, Topeka, Lawrence, Bonner Springs, and Kansas City.

Interstate 35 is a major north–south highway from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Des Moines, Iowa. Cities on this highway include Wichita, El Dorado, Emporia, Ottawa, and Kansas City (and suburbs).

Interstate Highways


U.S. Routes




Kansas's only major commercial (Class C) airport is Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. It is along US-54 on the western part of Wichita. Manhattan Regional Airport in Manhattan has flights every day to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. This would it the second-biggest commercial airport in Kansas.[107] Most air travelers in northeastern Kansas fly out of Kansas City International Airport, which is in Platte County, Missouri. Some also use the Topeka Regional Airport in Topeka.

In the state's southeastern part, people often use Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Missouri. People in the far western part of the state often use the Denver International Airport. Connecting flights are also available from smaller Kansas airports in Dodge City, Garden City, Hays, Hutchinson, Liberal, or Salina.

Passenger Rail


The Southwest Chief Amtrak route goes through the state on its route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Stops in Kansas include Lawrence, Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City, and Garden City.[108] An Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach connects Newton and Wichita to the Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[109] Amtrak may change the Southwest Chief route from using train service for the entire route. Plans call for shortening the route to Los Angeles to instead end in Albuquerque. Buses would replace the train on the route between Albuquerque and Dodge City, where train service east to Chicago would continue.[110]

Freight Rail


Kansas has four Class I railroads, Amtrak, BNSF, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific, as well as many shortline railroads.[111]

Law and government


State and local politics


Executive branch: The executive branch has the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state, the treasurer, and the insurance commissioner.

Legislative branch: The legislative branch is the Kansas Legislature. It is a bicameral legislature. It has the Kansas House of Representatives and the Kansas Senate. The House has 125 members, and the Senate has 40 members.

Judicial Branch: The judicial branch is headed by the Kansas Supreme Court. The Kansas Supreme Court has seven judges. If there is a spot open, the governor picks who to replace them.

State symbols

Political culture


Since the middle of the 20th century, Kansas has been socially conservative. In 1999 and 2005, the Board of Education voted to stop teaching evolution in schools.[112] In 2005, Kansas banned same-sex marriage. In 2006, Kansas made the lowest age to marry 15 years old.[113]

Kansas allowed women's suffrage in 1912. This was nearly a decade before the United States allowed it.[114]

National politics

Treemap of the popular vote by county, 2016 presidential election.

The state's current delegation to the Congress of the United States includes Republican Senators Pat Roberts of Dodge City and Jerry Moran of Manhattan; and Republican Representatives Roger Marshall of Great Bend (District 1), Steve Watkins (District 2), Ron Estes of Wichita (District 4), and Democratic Representative Sharice Davids (District 3).

Kansas has been strongly Republican. The Republican Party was very strong since Kansas became a state. This is because Republicans were very anti-slavery, and Kansas was also anti-slavery. Kansas has not elected a Democrat to the United States Senate since 1932.

Abilene has the childhood house of Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Two Republican presidential candidates, Alf Landon and Bob Dole, were also from Kansas.



Primary and secondary schools are controlled by the Kansas State Department of Education. Public colleges and universities are controlled by the Kansas Board of Regents.

In 1999 and 2005, the Board of Education voted to teach intelligent design in science classes.[115] Both times, they changed their decision after the next election.


The Famous Rio Theatre in Overland Park

The rock band Kansas was created in Topeka. Many of the band's members are from there.

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.

Singer Melissa Etheridge is from Leavenworth. Singer Martina McBride is from Sharon. Singer Janelle Monáe is from Kansas City.

In 1947, Kansas chose "Home on the Range" as their state song.[116]

Kansas's most famous appearance in a book was as the home of Dorothy Gale. She is the main character in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).



The Plaza Cinema in Ottawa, Kansas was built on May 22, 1907. It is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest operating movie theater in the world.[117][118]




Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City
Team Sport League City
Sporting Kansas City Soccer Major League Soccer Kansas City
Swope Park Rangers Soccer United Soccer League Overland Park
Kansas City T-Bones Baseball American Association Kansas City
Garden City Wind Baseball Pecos League Garden City
Kaw Valley FC Soccer USL Lawrence, Kansas and Topeka, Kansas
Salina Liberty Indoor Football Champions Indoor Football Salina
Wichita Thunder Ice hockey ECHL Wichita
Wichita Force Indoor Football Champions Indoor Football Wichita
Wichita Wingnuts Baseball American Association Wichita



The group that governs college sports in the United States is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Their headquarters were in Johnson County, Kansas from 1952 until moving to Indianapolis in 1999.[121][122]

State symbols


The state symbols of Kansas are:[116][123]

Symbol State symbol Photograph Date adopted Notes
State flower Native Sunflower
"...[The sunflower is] the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future".[124]
State bird Western Meadowlark
Students elected the western meadowlark as the state bird in a poll conducted by the Kansas Aubudon Society in 1923.[125]
State tree Cottonwood
"The cottonwood tree can rightfully be called "the pioneer tree of Kansas"".[124]
State song Home on the Range Home on the Range, performed by James Richardson in 1939
State animal The American Buffalo
The American Buffalo provided Kansan Native Americans with meat, rope, rawhide, and other materials for everyday life.[126]

Famous people

  1. 1.0 1.1 Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.


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Book sources


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Ingalls, John James (1892). Harper's magazine, Volume 86. Harper's Magazine Co. Retrieved January 15, 2011.

Other websites



Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on January 29, 1861 (34th)
Succeeded by
West Virginia

38°30′N 98°00′W / 38.5°N 98°W / 38.5; -98