These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Kansas

We used science and data to determine which cities in KS are really ghetto.

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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:

  1. Coffeyville
  2. Kansas City
  3. Arkansas City
  4. Emporia
  5. Topeka
  6. Parsons
  7. Liberal
  8. Wichita
  9. Fort Scott
  10. Columbus

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.

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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
  • Crime

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.

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1. Coffeyville


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.

4. Emporia


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.

5. Topeka


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.

6. Parsons


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.

7. Liberal


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.

8. Wichita


Income: Average
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.

10. Columbus


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.

The Most Ghetto Cities in Kansas with detailed information


Desktop users, below is a chart of all large cities in Kansas, along with their crime numbers.

City Overall Rank Dropout Rate Crime Rate Incomes
Coffeyville 1 24.00% 135.1 $31,878
Kansas City 2 27.00% 128.9 $37,768
Arkansas City 3 24.00% 119.7 $37,359
Emporia 4 22.00% 108.9 $35,832
Topeka 5 18.00% 133 $40,451
Parsons 6 18.00% 161.1 $37,763
Liberal 7 41.00% 106.4 $45,891
Wichita 8 18.00% 134.2 $46,218
Fort Scott 9 21.00% 113.7 $35,276
Columbus 10 29.00% 92.3 $38,221
Garden City 11 36.00% 108.4 $45,006
Iola 12 20.00% 109.7 $32,234
Hutchinson 13 18.00% 140.3 $39,818
Fort Riley 14 7.00% 174.8 $34,266
Leavenworth 15 20.00% 120.5 $50,950
Winfield 16 17.00% 107.7 $39,445
Dodge City 17 37.00% 111.8 $48,519
Independence 18 18.00% 102.7 $39,983
Pittsburg 19 14.00% 122.5 $31,164
Great Bend 20 21.00% 131 $43,690
Junction City 21 16.00% 111.9 $46,247
Holton 22 17.00% 96.9 $37,269
Hiawatha 23 23.00% 86.8 $30,233
Salina 24 17.00% 118.2 $44,556
Chanute 25 23.00% 105.4 $37,102
Osawatomie 26 18.00% 109.9 $34,961
Atchison 27 19.00% 91.3 $41,949
Ulysses 27 28.00% 77.1 $48,141
Newton 29 17.00% 101.9 $42,630
Garnett 30 21.00% 79.6 $31,659
Galena 31 29.00% 91.2 $35,667
Ellsworth 32 22.00% 65.4 $40,982
Lawrence 33 8.00% 114.1 $44,713
Augusta 34 16.00% 94.6 $41,954
Lyons 35 21.00% 73.3 $43,227
El Dorado 36 15.00% 105.2 $42,226
Lansing 37 21.00% 84.5 $73,125
Manhattan 38 5.00% 105.4 $40,650
Wellington 39 14.00% 114.1 $39,507
Ottawa 40 17.00% 95.7 $42,986
Concordia 41 17.00% 97.5 $37,675
Hugoton 42 23.00% 59.2 $57,463
Goodland 43 16.00% 79.4 $38,941
Mission 44 9.00% 110.4 $47,267
Pratt 45 16.00% 92.4 $39,405
Bonner Springs 46 14.00% 94 $55,352
Baxter Springs 47 15.00% 81.3 $50,032
Abilene 48 15.00% 103.3 $52,240
Haysville 49 16.00% 98.1 $54,804
Hays 50 11.00% 99.5 $43,376
Larned 51 12.00% 83.4 $42,143
Colby 52 17.00% 92 $45,799
Merriam 53 10.00% 80.5 $57,500
Kingman 54 22.00% 74.3 $44,102
Marysville 55 15.00% 71.7 $36,194
Paola 55 14.00% 88.8 $50,672
Scott City 57 18.00% 54.9 $51,071
Edwardsville 58 17.00% 66.9 $54,327
Frontenac 59 17.00% 71.1 $38,272
Roeland Park 60 7.00% 101.2 $64,696
Russell 61 15.00% 73.9 $39,357
Park City 62 14.00% 85.7 $57,252
Gardner 63 12.00% 76.3 $64,566
Wamego 64 11.00% 76.5 $56,307
Clay Center 64 10.00% 65.9 $37,399
De Soto 66 12.00% 71.1 $54,983
Derby 67 8.00% 85.8 $65,837
Tonganoxie 68 8.00% 83.4 $55,793
Mcpherson 69 12.00% 83.9 $54,896
Overland Park 70 5.00% 81.4 $72,074
Shawnee 71 9.00% 78.1 $73,341
Maize 72 8.00% 81.6 $67,618
Baldwin City 73 11.00% 80.1 $57,644
Olathe 74 8.00% 75.2 $76,882
Bel Aire 75 8.00% 37.6 $69,313
Lenexa 76 6.00% 73.8 $75,091
Valley Center 77 7.00% 77.4 $54,167
Mulvane 78 8.00% 70.2 $68,462
Beloit 79 11.00% 69.9 $49,160
Goddard 80 10.00% 52.5 $68,984
Eudora 81 8.00% 76.5 $62,576
Hesston 82 8.00% 60.5 $60,583
Andover 83 6.00% 85.8 $84,280
Lindsborg 84 7.00% 58.1 $50,781
Spring Hill 85 6.00% 80.9 $73,406
Basehor 86 9.00% 55.7 $81,439
Louisburg 86 9.00% 62 $56,332
Prairie Village 88 3.00% 75.8 $83,848
Leawood 89 2.00% 49.2 $134,242
Rose Hill 90 5.00% 51.5 $75,545
Fairway 91 2.00% 32.4 $102,500
Mission Hills 92 .00% 37.6 $219,107

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7 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Kansas

  1. I’d be concerned about this survey if whoever wrote the article actually knew the correct location of all the ghetto and non-ghetto cities. Geez!!!!

  2. The sad part is that there are jobs out there, they are just to educated to take them. LOL Most want to start at the top, and we know that’s not how it works. And then we have a lot of thieves in this town. And then they want to pick their own hours to work. It’s sad. Most of them take no pride in themselves or their work, if you can get them there. The devices are here to teach and show them how to do a variety of jobs, they are just to lazy to work. Or when they get the job they steal you blind.

  3. Born in Kansas. Lived there from Dec. 1981-Dec. 2003. Unless things have REALLY changed this list is in many places inaccurate. For instance, I lived in Emporia all of 2002-2003. Extremely safe. Huge and friendly police presence. I often walked all night in the summers and never felt even uneasy. Read a paper there sometime and you’ll see how little and minor crime is there. It’s a nice university town. What about all those poor falling apart towns in western Kansas?

    1. That was a long time ago, things have changed.
      Emporia has seen a large influx of hispanics, legal and otherwise, in most ways this has not been a good thing.

      1. I was born and raised in Wichita. Moved away for 20 years and returned back home. I have lived and visited other states and countries and it seems to me that Kansas is one of the most cleanest friendliest, low crime states I’ve lived in and a great place to raise a family.

    2. It has changed drastically, I lived there in the 80s, nothing like it is now.
      It was a Collage town and a farming ranching community.
      It’s very sad now what it’s become

  4. I’ve lived in So California most of my life and was born here. I paid cash for a 3 bedroom corner house in a small Kansas town I prefer not to name some years ago. Crime is incredibly low and what I paid for the house was ridiculously inexpensive. Now I am living as duel residency renting a small place in Los Angeles and living in Kansas as little as possible. I love my house but I can’t stand the Midwest ! Crummy weather to many Heffers nothing to do no place to go. It’s the most boring stupid place on earth with white trash carnivals every year disgustingly labeled as The Jubilee and some of the worst restaurant food on the planet. I do like the race track in Great Bend though and no smog tests required for personal vehicles. You can walk in a gun store and buy what you please and walk out with it same day with most anything in the store. So it does have some perks but it’s just a matter of time before Mexico and a few other countries louse it all up with our crummy politics. I am sitting with my front door open on a Sunday morning in So Cal as I write in the middle of January. Try doing that in Kansas Lol

    And lastly – I support LGBT and for those of you who don’t remember or care, the guy who created the LBGT flag as we know it was a Kansan who as of my last reading was living in New York. I am 10 times better looking in a dress then that clown ever was and certainly more attractive looking then many women in the Midwest. My derriere alone has been viewed more then 6000 times on a single website I prefer not to name, and I’ll always remember a Kansas radio announcers statement when he said with a sense of pride in his old farty Midwest soft spoken voice. “Kansas, where the women are strong and the men are handsome”. Why or how so many unattractive women are all over the Midwest is beyond me and you can let them dig your grave to while your ate it as I am mostly for attractive females and CD’s myself. The post office in my little town in Kansas hires nothing but sorry looking women and there lazy ! refuse to climb two small steps during deliveries to my home. One in about 50 women in Kansas are worth taking a 2nd look at and the same goes for arcitechture and 10 other things. A simple minded part of the country with a handful of wealthy Hicks in between and the Kotch brothers supplying Jews with sharper tools in the shed then farmers have. I wanted the Midwest to be a fun thing and it’s not. It’s a big bang for your buck buying a house and that’s the best thing I can say about it. My kik is boo.tran have a good day !

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