There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But which of the largest cities in Kansas are the most ghetto of all?
How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:
“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”
Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state, and then put out a list.
After analyzing the largest cities here, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places to live in Kansas:
- Coffeyville (Photos)
- Kansas City (Photos)
- Arkansas City (Photos)
- Emporia (Photos)
- Topeka (Photos)
- Parsons (Photos)
- Liberal (Photos)
- Wichita (Photos)
- Fort Scott
In case you’re wondering, Mission Hills is the least ghetto city of all we measured.
Read on below to see where your hometown ranked and why.
For more Kansas reading, check out:
What ghetto criteria did we use?
In order to rank the most ghetto places in Kansas, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.
Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.
Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.
We started by making a list of cities with populations over 2,000 based on the 2014 American Community Survey. That left us with 92 cities in Kansas to measure.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:
- Household income levels
- High school graduation rates
- Number of convenience stores
- Number of drug stores
- Number of discount stores
Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.
All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.
Income: 21st lowest in KS
Drop out rate: 20%
Crime: 3rd worst
When you look at the unbiased data, Coffeyville is the most ghetto city in Kansas. Here’s why.
First off, crime is really high here, especially for Kansas. It’s the 4th most dangerous place in the state. As it stands, you have a 1 in 90 chance of being a victim of a violent crime (attacked or raped) for every year you spend here. And in terms of property crimes, there were more than 500 robberies here in 2014.
For a city under 10,000 in Kansas, that’s a lot. To put things into perspective, in Overland Park, there were 2,100 robberies. But that city is 18 times larger.
Coffeyville residents earn about $31,000 a year as a family, which is the 4th lowest number in the state. The government says a family of 4 needs about $25,000 a year to stay out of poverty. Even in Kansas, $31,000 a year is small potatoes.
Almost a quarter of the population of Coffeyville doesn’t have a high school education. That’s the 9th highest rate in the state, so Coffeyville has a long-term problem on its hands.
2. Kansas City
Income: 18th lowest in KS
Drop out rate: 27%
Crime: 8th worst
KCKS, unfortunately, is a pretty ghetto place in large areas when you look at the unbiased data. Crime is the 8th worst in the state – where long-term residents have a 1 in 20 chance of being victimized by a property crime every year. There were also 25 murders in KC in 2014.
Incomes are the 18th lowest ($37,000 a year for a family), and the lack of education in Kansas City is even higher than in Coffeyville – at 27%.
While there are large areas of Kansas City that are great, the fact is there are other ghetto areas that are as big as tiny cities in the state.
3. Arkansas City
Income: 14th lowest in KS
Drop out rate: 24%
Crime: 11th worst
Arkansas City’s population is the 8th dumbest in the state, when you measure the high drop out rate. That trickles down to high crime (you have a 1 in 25 chance of being the victim of a property crime if you lived there for a year) and poor incomes, making this smallish city in the southern part of the state technically ghetto.
Income: 10th lowest in KS
Drop out rate: 22%
Crime: 21st worst
This medium-sized city near the intersection of I-35 and I-335 is one of the poorest, more dangerous places in the state. Additionally, more than 1 in 5 residents is walking around without a GED.
Income: 28th lowest in KS
Drop out rate: 18%
Crime: 6th worst
The data on Kansas is skewed by the fact that there are large city centers, and decent-sized cities spread out across the state.
Topeka has a higher crime rate than Kansas City does. While there were ‘only’ six murders here in 2014, your chances of being robbed are higher in Topeka. There are also a far higher number of discount stores in Topeka than in other large cities in Kansas.
Sociologists have indicated that discount stores are a staple of inner city life.
Income: 17th lowest in KS
Drop out rate: 18%
Crime: 2nd worst
Little Parsons really packs a punch. According to the latest FBI numbers, it’s the 2nd most dangerous place in the state, statistically.
The dropout rate isn’t so bad in Parsons, so that’s a good sign.
Income: Below average
Drop out rate: 41%
Crime: 24th worst
In Liberal, the income levels and crime aren’t horrible, but they’re definitely above average. The big issue in this teeny place on Route 54 along the Oklahoma border is the high dropout rate. More than 4 in 10 residents is without a high school degree. That’s by far the highest in the state, and that’s going to set Liberal back for years.
Drop out rate: 18%
Crime: 5th worst
Crime is highest in Wichita of all of the major cities we mentioned above. However, Incomes are average ($46,000 a year), and only 18% of the population doesn’t have a high school degree. That’s actually not too shabby.
But the fact remains, there are large pockets in Wichita that are ghetto.
9. Fort Scott
Income: 8th lowest
Drop out rate: 21%
Crime: 15th worst
Fort Scott ranks in the bottom 15 in every category. It’s fairly dangerous (you have a 1 in 21 chance of being the victim of a property crime), and nearly a quarter of the people doesn’t have a GED even by the age of 25.
Income: 19th lowest
Drop out rate: 29%
Crime: Above average
Columbus isn’t really dangerous, but it’s a tick above average. Nearly 3 in 10 residents is uneducated, and a large number of this teeny city struggle to make ends meet every month.
Other Highlights From The Study
Ghetto, ghetto everywhere: There really isn’t a ‘center’ for a ghetto location in Kansas. Almost all of the cities to make the top 10 are spread out in different areas of the state…The most dangerous place in Kansas is actually tiny Parsons , located in Labette County along Route 59…The city of Mission has the highest concentration of convenience and drug stores in the state, per capita. However, education and income levels are about average.
Not ghetto at all: The following are the least ghetto areas in the Sunflower State: Mission Hills, Fairway, Rose Hill, Leawood, Prairie Village.
There You Have It
If you’re measuring the locations in Kansas where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.
We also wrote about the 10 Drunkest Cities in Kansas if you didn’t happen to see it.
Desktop users, below is a chart of all large cities in Kansas, along with their crime numbers.