These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2018


You might want to click your heels and wish home was somewhere else if you live in one of these cities.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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Not only is Kansas smack dab in the middle of the country, it represents middle America to a tee. The people are some of the hardest working in the nation, have some of the best values, and frankly, are just plain friendly.

You could do a lot worse when you pick a place to live, that’s for sure.

But is it all good in The Sunflower State? Of course not. Just like every other state, Kansas has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Kansas your home.

After analyzing 53 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Kansas:

  1. Coffeyville (Photos)
  2. Independence
  3. Parsons (Photos)
  4. Iola (Photos)
  5. Great Bend (Photos)
  6. Atchison (Photos)
  7. Liberal (Photos)
  8. Bonner Springs (Photos)
  9. Chanute (Photos)
  10. Topeka (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

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How we determined the worst places to live in Kansas for 2018

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,200 people were considered — leaving 53 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 53 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one ‘Worst Place To Live Score’.

Finally, we ranked every city on the ‘Worst Place To Live Score’ with the lowest score being the worst city in Kansas — Coffeyville. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Kansas.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

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1. Coffeyville

Coffeyville, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,796
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $52,600 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (2nd worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Coffeyville is the 1st worst place you can live in the state of Kansas — an improvement from last year when it ranked #1 overall. Let’s see why.

First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Kansas. Coffeyville is the 4th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 18.2 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $52,600, which is the 1st lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Coffeyville.

Income levels are just about $33,204, the 2nd lowest in Kansas. Plus, you’re way out in the middle of nowhere, so your options for entertainment are the same places you frequent every week or, a short drive to Independence. Does that sound like a blast?

When you add it all up, Coffeyville really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.

2. Independence


Population: 9,084
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Home Values: $68,100 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (10th worst)
Back to SEK we go. The unemployment rate in Independence is the 10th highest in the state (7.1%). Crime is above normal, and home prices are far below average. But, the schools are some of the most funded in Kansas, so if you have to live in the area, and you value good education, this might be your only option.

3. Parsons

Parsons, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,111
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Values: $61,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (11th worst)
Parsons is on Route 59 in the bottom right corner of the state. You can imagine it’s a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.

Homes are the 2nd cheapest in the state, and at $61,300, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (6.9%) is the 11th highest in Kansas, and income levels are far below the state average. And 2320.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Would you have guessed that the area around Parsons has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in Kansas? Online commenters have noted that reliance on the welfare system in southeast Kansas, combined with heavy meth and alcohol use have played a big factor in this.

4. Iola

Iola, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,560
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Values: $77,000 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (23rd worst)
Iola is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Iola is the 5th most dangerous place you can live in Kansas.

Residents in Iola have a 1 in 20.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.

When you’re considering home prices, you can’t do much lower than in Iola, where average homes are valued at only$77,000. That’s the 8th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.

5. Great Bend

Great Bend, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,741
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Values: $83,000 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (13th worst)
Great Bend doesn’t have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 6.8%, and people average less than $41,174 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $83,000, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Kansas.

And again, in terms of the overall ‘enjoyment’ factor, it’s not easy to find fun on a Friday night.

6. Atchison

Atchison, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,798
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Values: $84,700 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (3rd worst)
Atchison is the 18th most dangerous place in the state of Kansas. That’s part of the reason it’s the 6th worst place in Kansas.

The fact remains, that when you’re within Atchison city limits, you have a 1 in 28.3 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?

Did you know Atchison also has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $84,700?

Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Atchison.

7. Liberal

Liberal, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 20,709
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Values: $90,600 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.7% (6th worst)
Located on your way to somewhere else you’d want to be, Liberal has few options for some sort of entertainment.

The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (8.7%) and homes are the 16th cheapest in the state ($90,600).

Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s absolutely no demand to live in Liberal.

8. Bonner Springs

Bonner Springs, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,567
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 12)
Home Values: $157,700 (39th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (5th worst)
Bonner Springs ranks as the 8th-worst place in Kansas due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.

On top of that, residents have the 11th-worst commute of any place in the state.

9. Chanute

Chanute, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,216
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 8)
Home Values: $64,700 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (33rd worst)
The data is telling us that the a lot of the region in SEK (southeast Kansas) has some big issues to address. Little Chanute has the 9th highest unemployment rate in Kansas, and some of the lowest incomes and home prices as well.

Online commenters have noted that Chanute is ‘up and coming’, and the community involvement has made an effort to modernize the city. We’re just looking at the numbers, folks.

The schools here have more funding than in the rest of the region, however. At least they have that.

10. Topeka

Topeka, Kansas

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 127,472
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Home Values: $99,400 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.7% (15th worst)
Topeka has a 6.7% unemployment rate (15th in KS), below average income levels and the 3rd highest crime rate in the state.

This random City-Data comment sums up Topeka.

‘I visited Topeka over the weekend and I have to say the place just seemed completely depressing.

‘I saw lots people around Topeka who looked…well bad. Like former alcoholics and drug addicts.

‘And what’s with the poorish looking area, where there were a lot of people in run down homes?

‘Just looked sad.’

Wrapping Up The Worst In Kansas

If you’re looking at areas in Kansas with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Coffeyville ranks as the worst city to live in Kansas for 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Kansas:

  1. Leawood (Pop. 33,763)
  2. Bel Aire (Pop. 7,214)
  3. Overland Park (Pop. 183,775)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Kansas

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Coffeyville 1 2 9,796 9.5% $52,600
Independence 2 5 9,084 7.1% $68,100
Parsons 3 1 10,111 6.9% $61,300
Iola 4 3 5,560 5.5% $77,000
Great Bend 5 4 15,741 6.8% $83,000
Atchison 6 7 10,798 9.2% $84,700
Liberal 7 9 20,709 8.7% $90,600
Bonner Springs 8 20 7,567 9.0% $157,700
Chanute 9 17 9,216 4.7% $64,700
Topeka 10 8 127,472 6.7% $99,400
Wichita 11 11 388,033 6.6% $120,800
Concordia 12 6 5,273 6.3% $72,000
Fort Scott 13 10 7,852 3.3% $66,200
Ottawa 14 21 12,433 7.2% $95,700
De Soto 15 12 5,982 6.0% $192,700
Emporia 16 15 24,707 8.1% $87,800
Pittsburg 17 16 20,399 6.3% $84,300
Pratt 18 19 6,879 6.4% $80,500
Wellington 19 14 7,950 9.1% $73,100
Winfield 20 24 12,283 5.6% $83,000
Newton 21 17 19,103 4.7% $101,200
Eudora 22 22 6,116 12.9% $133,600
El Dorado 23 27 13,102 6.8% $88,900
Augusta 24 26 9,262 7.5% $109,600
Salina 25 25 47,676 4.8% $117,900
Spring Hill 26 30 5,863 5.3% $170,300
Paola 27 29 5,583 3.5% $117,900
Leavenworth 28 23 35,948 5.4% $115,500
Hutchinson 29 12 41,661 5.4% $93,900
Ulysses 30 28 5,768 6.8% $96,700
Lawrence 31 32 92,611 4.9% $177,600
Haysville 32 31 11,393 5.1% $101,700
Gardner 33 34 20,667 5.6% $164,300
Merriam 34 33 11,248 3.0% $152,700
Abilene 35 35 6,598 3.8% $122,700
Roeland Park 36 39 6,816 4.9% $155,100
Valley Center 37 41 6,420 2.6% $137,400
Lansing 38 36 11,706 3.3% $174,900
Hays 39 40 21,073 4.0% $161,800
Manhattan 40 45 55,909 5.4% $190,200
Basehor 41 5,167 4.7% $194,500
Shawnee 42 42 64,444 4.1% $203,200
Mission 43 38 9,490 2.2% $154,100
Mulvane 44 42 5,461 2.9% $125,900
Olathe 45 44 132,787 4.4% $201,200
Lenexa 46 47 51,206 4.2% $232,400
Colby 47 37 5,460 2.2% $109,900
Andover 48 49 12,477 3.7% $176,200
Mcpherson 49 46 13,212 2.7% $135,800
Derby 50 51 23,847 3.5% $156,900
Overland Park 51 50 183,775 4.0% $237,100
Bel Aire 52 48 7,214 1.6% $141,900
Leawood 53 52 33,763 3.8% $415,900

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22 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2018

  1. Who wrote this? First off the article says worst cities in KANSAS to live. Then the article says kcmo. Geography tells me mo is MISSOURI not Kansas. Get the facts correct if your going to write an article.

  2. You probably saw that 6 of the ten “worst” cities were in southeast Kansas. It’s interesting to note that 5 of them have a community college, and the other one has a 4-year school. Living in those communities might be as bad some critics say. But can you imagine how much worse it would be without the intellectual and cultural infusion from the faculty, staff and students of those hometown institutions of higher learning? Those educational centers are the people’s best hope and should be the focal point for creating any campaigns to turn the cities’ and the area’s quality of life around.

    1. Drugs killed southeast Kansas Independence Kansas at one time was the wealthiest city per capita in the United States Arco gas fuel that city and they even tried to pass a law that you could not carry a lunch pail on the streets. There are a lot of old mansions still in the city but run down and worthless. If you’re rich it would be a nice place to remodel a house.

    2. It could be argued that the college’s sometimes cause problems. Our daughter spent one semester at Coffeyville on a scholarship. The crime on campus was terrible. All of the female students were required to take a self defense course due to attacks on campus. There were episodes of shots fired on campus more than once and a teacher was beat up by some male students. All this in one semester. It was rumored that the school was recruiting athletes with gang backgrounds from big cities. I believe there are other reasons people migrate to these areas. This article makes it sound like Rural Kansans are a bunch of criminals, but if it were studied closer many of the offenders may be migrant workers or students.

    3. The colleges are part of the problem. Crime rates are higher because of them, not in spite of them.

      The low income nature of community colleges plus the amount of athletic scholarships handed out insure that a lot of lowest common denominator types flock to these towns during the college semesters.

      Let’s be sure and recognize what crimes we are talking about as well. You can read the police blotters for all these towns fairly easy and this isn’t violent crimes. Labette county had 0 murders last year, 1 rape, and 2 robberies. Most crime is theft.

  3. I totally disagree with Kansas City Kansas I live on the west side just a little west and a little north of the legends the crime rate here is near zero my family income is in six figures and I’ve lived here close to 30 years.
    Wyandotte County Taxes are higher than Johnson County but homes cost on average $10,000 less I love this city the only place I would rather live is on the farm where I can shoot my guns anytime I want.

  4. U forgot pawnee rock ks. And great bend cops just dont do there jobs. Clinton declared it meth capital so the cops try to make it look good now

  5. I LIVED IN SEK FOR MANY YEARS. tHE PEOPLE ARE THEGREAT PLACE BEST, BUT THERE IS NO WORK AND A GREAT PLACE TO BE FROM.

  6. Emporia’ location on I35 and 335 as well as highway 50 has put it squarely on the drugs pipeline. Our law enforcement officers catch lots of drugs on the interstates. We have one of the highest conviction rates on drug possession and intent to sell, but a large number of those convicted were traveling through Emporia, not living here.

  7. First these measurements are all for liberal criteria. When I attended primary and secondary school classes up to 30 were not uncommon and everyone agrees we received a better education then than now.

    Crime statistics can be very misleading. I lived in Emporia and at one time they had the highest increase in violent crime in the US. A transient came to town and did 3 strong arm robberies which caused Emporia to lead everyone with a 300% increase. We hadn’t had any robberies for years previous.

    Finally, SEK has problems because of excessive taxes. It kills any possible growth as businesses simply cannot afford to reside here. Add the fact that most of these towns have a population of 50% who are on a fixed income. This cannot produce growth. Also, Montgomery County has 2 community colleges sapping their taxes. This is lunacy.

  8. My parents moved from Wichita to Overland Park then to Leawood. Leawood is a lovely city, near the Plaza. Thinking of moving there? I hope you are financially successful and secure.

  9. Centralia was the site of an infamous massacre in 1919 and now it has massacred the competition when it comes to being the worst place to live in Washington. Have the writers ever visited any of these towns?

  10. As someone from Wichita KS I call BS. Most of the towns you have on here are tiny and don’t have much to do. Kansas City KS is a small portion of KC. It goes into Missouri and there is a TON to do there! As for Wichita, sure there is crime but not as much as they are saying. Wichita has small pockets of bad neighborhoods but what city doesn’t? Wichita has a thriving art and music scene. Always something to do here!

  11. According to the bottom of this article it states this was made in Durham,NC. I grew up in Southwest Kansas. I married an Army man stationed at Fort Riley,KS born and raised in TN. I now live TN with my kids and divorced the Army vet. I have family all over KS and I trust what they tell me is true about where they live. So, being that the article is from NC perhaps they are KS haters wanting to stir the shit pot. I personally do not trust anyone from NC. TN despises NC, much like KS vs. MO, KS vs. NE, or KS vs. OK. I know from my sis in Emporia that things are rough there as is in Witchita where my brother works EMS and his family lives elsewhere near Witchita. We all have good and bad places all over the map. Yes, I know not everyone is going to agree with our opinions but we do the best with what we have. Everything else can take a leap off a steep mountain cliff.

    1. I’ll second that, if you want ample meth for your kids welfare moms and ex cons no jobs and a good place to get robbed. Awww aww Kansas. land of broken hopes and dreams

  12. Have lived in 7 states and long stays in 7 more.U S as a whole has a drug problem,but being from Chicago originally,I feel blessed and safe in the beautiful
    SUNFLOWER STATE.Yes,the job situation is bad,like everywhere.Crime,however,is low in Kansas,comparitively.
    Low housing costs are in the top five reasons why i’m here.Low crime,short winters,Low housing costs,unique geological traits,such as geoliths,low traffic,best highway system in the US good sandy loam,grow your own organic food,fields of sunflowers,clean air, the Flint Hills and Tallgrass Prairie and much more.I’ve seen the worst in
    America and i’ll take so called ‘redneck’ fly-over country Kansas over a Chicago ghetto or a Minneapolis hi rise and 7 months of snow in a heartbeat.
    Basically,the author is like some New York or West Coast rich snobby brat that knows nothing about Kansas whatsoever.
    Many decent people want lower priced homes.Where do you think youngish retired people live?Do you think we are all in nursing homes or trailer parks?
    Housing costs are on the plus side–everyone here knows that.
    Don’t judge the world by what YOU THINK,because a lot of us here in redneck
    Kansas have college degrees,have lived all over and settled here for many good reasons.
    BTW,this redneck university degreed woman lives and is a home owner in the town of Goodland Kansas,and will never read one word of your garbage again.I agree with whoever it was that said it best
    YOU REALLY JUST DON’T GET IT AT ALL,POOR THING.
    However,keep flying over and keep cutting us down…we love it cause it keeps Kansas better for the rest ofl us,who will spend our lives here gratefully.

  13. calling Leawood Ks and houses that cost 415,900

    Leawood Kansas with $400-500 thousand dollar homes is on the WORST LIST
    of places to live????
    Some needs to learn basic math.Just plain dumb.

  14. BTW<LEAWOOD IS ON YOUR WORST AND YOUR TOP 3 BEST…..SMIRK….
    GUESS THAT PROVES YOU DONT KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOURE DOING.

    1. You say Leawood is what–the best of the worst?It’s also the first listed of the best cities to ive in!
      Leawood is a rich community and known in Kansas as a great and desirable place to live.The OP would be lucky to live there,but I doubt he would fit in.

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