The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2024

The worst places to live in Kansas are Coffeyville and Iola for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

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 56 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Kansas:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2024

  1. Coffeyville
  2. Iola
  3. De Soto
  4. Concordia
  5. Chanute
  6. Wichita
  7. Wellington
  8. Independence
  9. Newton
  10. Pittsburg

Worst Places To Live In Kansas Map

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Kansas, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Kansas is Leawood.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Kansas? The worst place to live in Kansas is Coffeyville.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2024.

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

For more Kansas reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2024

Coffeyville, KS

Source: Wikipedia User City of Coffeyville | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,842
Average Home Price: $49,965
Median Income: $41,220
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0404
More on Coffeyville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

When you’re looking at science and data, Coffeyville is the 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 10th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 29.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $49,965, which is the 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 $41,220, the 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.

Iola, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Gordon Huggins | CC BY 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,395
Average Home Price: $72,294
Median Income: $46,351
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0467
More on Iola: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Iola, located in Allen County, Kansas, has unfortunately earned a spot as one of the worst places to live in the state. With a population of 5,395, the city struggles with various issues that contribute to its ranking. One significant concern is its crime rate, particularly when it comes to violent crimes. In 2021 alone, there were 44 incidents reported, including 0 murders and 14.0 rapes. This translates to a violent crime rate per capita of 0.008155699721964782, which is alarmingly high for a city of this size.

Aside from safety concerns, Iola also faces challenges in terms of its economic landscape. The median income stands at $46,351, reflecting a lower average income compared to other cities in Kansas. Poverty levels are relatively high as well, with the city ranking 54.0 in this regard. These factors contribute to the overall quality of life and make it difficult for residents to thrive.

While Iola’s current situation may seem bleak, there is hope for improvement. By addressing these issues head-on and implementing effective strategies, the community can work towards creating a safer and more prosperous environment for its residents. With dedication and effort, Iola has the potential to overcome its challenges and become a better place to live within Kansas.

De Soto, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Popcorn700 | CC-BY-4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,248
Average Home Price: $375,929
Median Income: $102,685
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0626
More on De Soto: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Lots of towns end up on this list because of a terrible economy. Not De Soto. It actually provides an excellent source of jobs, with an unemployment rate sitting at a scanty 7.5%. Housing and education in the area are strong as well.

So why rank the town as one the worst hometowns in Kansas? Well, De Soto has a location problem. Located about 40 minutes outside of Kansas City, it sits on the far outer rim of suburbs, a little too far for a convenient commute. Meanwhile, the town, with only 6,248 residents, isn’t big enough to have many of its own amenities.

Concordia, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Paul McDonald (talk) | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,080
Average Home Price: $101,201
Median Income: $45,000
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0346
More on Concordia: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Concordia once had its own opera house. Not bad for a town of 5,080 residents. These days, the building serves as a general purpose theater and community center. More in keeping with the town’s current reputation, a now-closed local bar, “The Oasis,” gets namechecked in the Garth Brooks song “Friends in Low Places” (Brooks’ guitarist originally hailed from Concordia.)

Low places, indeed. Concordia makes this list because of lousy housing and shaky safety situation. In fact, this small town in the north-central part of the state has a crime rate higher than the U.S. average. The economy is also spotty, with a local poverty rate of 15.8%.

Chanute, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Ichabod | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,713
Average Home Price: $86,204
Median Income: $52,608
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0283
More on Chanute: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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.

Wichita, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Fetchcomms | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 395,951
Average Home Price: $183,706
Median Income: $60,712
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0444
More on Wichita: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

The biggest city in Kansas is also one of its worst. Per capita crime isn’t always higher in larger cities, but in this case, Wichita has a lot of issues to contend with in regards to the sheer number of crimes happening here.

Wichita is the 6th most dangerous place in Kansas, where you have a 1 in 126 chance of being raped, attacked or killed within the city limits each year. Plus, the number of robberies here is through the roof; there’s a 1 in 18 chance of having your car stolen or broken into, or having a criminal break into your home.

If all other things were equal, it might not be so bad. However, the unemployment rate in Wichita is 5.6%, which is the 9th highest in Kansas. Income levels are below average, but not too bad. The schools are overcrowded.

Wellington, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,710
Average Home Price: $96,412
Median Income: $48,333
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0283
More on Wellington: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Wellington, located in Sumner County, Kansas, has unfortunately earned a reputation as one of the worst places to live in the state. With a population of 7,710, this city faces numerous challenges that contribute to its unfavorable ranking. One key concern is the high crime rate, making Wellington one of the most dangerous places to live in Kansas. In 2021, the city reported 33 violent crimes and 185 property crimes per capita, illustrating a significant safety issue for residents.

Although Wellington’s crime statistics are concerning, it is important to note that with effort and improvement, things can get better. The city’s location within Kansas offers potential for growth and transformation. By addressing the underlying factors contributing to crime, such as poverty and unemployment rates (50.0 in poverty level rank and 16 in unemployment rate rank), Wellington could work towards creating a safer environment for its residents. Additionally, focusing on education and economic development could help uplift the community and improve overall quality of life. With dedication and investment, Wellington has the potential to overcome its challenges and become a better place to call home.

Independence, KS

Source: Wikipedia User 25or6to4 | CC BY-SA 4.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,556
Average Home Price: $95,797
Median Income: $48,514
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0369
More on Independence: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Independence is located in the southeastern part of the state, a short drive from the Oklahoma border. Unlike many towns on this list, the local economy is relatively stable. The unemployment rate stands at a scanty 2.8%. In addition, the town comes with numerous attractions, including parks and the Independence Museum.

However, there are serious issues that make this one of the worst hometowns in Kansas. The median income only reaches an unimpressive $48,514. With a lack of high-paying jobs, more than 1 out of every 6 residents lives below the poverty line. Housing and safety are major concerns as well.

Newton, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Erinmcd | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,527
Average Home Price: $152,576
Median Income: $66,528
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0329
More on Newton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Pittsburg, KS

Source: Wikipedia User Ichabod | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,610
Average Home Price: $119,185
Median Income: $42,371
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0479
More on Pittsburg: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

The residents in Pittsburg have just about the lowest incomes in the state of Kansas. The households bring in an average of $31,000 a year, and nearly a quarter of the population here is below the poverty line.

Pittsburg isn’t too far from Parsons, and as we noted earlier, crime is abnormally high in this area. Every year, you have a 1 in 20 chance of being the victim of a theft when you’re within Pittsburg city limits. Plus, this little city had a murder in 2024.

Additionally, the schools are below average, in terms of funding levels.

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Kansas for 2024

To figure out the worst places to live in Kansas, we used Saturday Night Science to idenift 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 the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 56 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 56 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 ten worst cities in Kansas. This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2024. This list is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Kansas.

Summary: 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 little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Coffeyville ranks as the worst city to live in Kansas for 2024.

The worst cities in Kansas are .

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

  1. Bel Aire (Pop. 8,341)
  2. Eudora (Pop. 6,025)
  3. Leawood (Pop. 33,784)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Kansas

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Price Median Income Crime Per Capita
1 Coffeyville 8,842 7.0% $49,965 $41,220 0.0404
2 Iola 5,395 6.7% $72,294 $46,351 0.0467
3 De Soto 6,248 7.5% $375,929 $102,685 0.0626
4 Concordia 5,080 7.0% $101,201 $45,000 0.0346
5 Chanute 8,713 7.2% $86,204 $52,608 0.0283
6 Wichita 395,951 5.7% $183,706 $60,712 0.0444
7 Wellington 7,710 5.2% $96,412 $48,333 0.0283
8 Independence 8,556 2.8% $95,797 $48,514 0.0369
9 Newton 18,527 5.3% $152,576 $66,528 0.0329
10 Pittsburg 20,610 4.0% $119,185 $42,371 0.0479
11 Topeka 126,431 5.0% $174,701 $54,052 0.0464
12 Fort Scott 7,569 4.5% $108,652 $45,206 0.0308
13 Parsons 9,564 1.6% $67,778 $48,990 0.0444
14 Winfield 11,804 6.4% $120,353 $55,850 0.0307
15 Great Bend 14,725 4.8% $109,069 $53,885 0.0268
16 Atchison 10,834 6.2% $136,676 $50,344 0.0293
17 Leavenworth 37,193 4.6% $225,494 $67,360 0.0295
18 Bonner Springs 7,770 2.5% $271,621 $82,208 0.0260
19 Merriam 11,070 6.2% $290,519 $69,414 0.0626
20 Hutchinson 39,995 4.6% $129,629 $55,265 0.0267
21 Maize 6,071 4.8% $277,240 $88,075 0.0305
22 Ulysses 5,834 4.5% $139,251 $62,138 0.0033
23 Salina 46,734 4.0% $164,317 $56,945 0.0364
24 Paola 5,742 1.8% $334,271 $69,420 0.0153
25 Valley Center 8,448 8.3% $235,417 $70,531 0.0097
26 El Dorado 12,882 3.4% $145,347 $52,921 0.0241
27 Liberal 19,099 2.7% $134,994 $55,602 0.0148
28 Lawrence 95,103 5.2% $292,989 $59,834 0.0268
29 Pratt 6,588 3.5% $93,082 $61,117 0.0188
30 Emporia 24,118 3.2% $149,266 $49,661 0.0219
31 Abilene 6,489 3.2% $133,296 $54,948 0.0145
32 Augusta 9,253 3.2% $195,681 $59,536 0.0303
33 Ottawa 12,615 2.0% $196,371 $61,927 0.0228
34 Basehor 7,004 9.9% $401,427 $100,608 0.0083
35 Haysville 10,891 5.2% $189,870 $66,382 0.0129
36 Derby 25,551 4.0% $258,532 $79,581 0.0245
37 Mulvane 6,003 7.5% $215,120 $67,766 0.0182
38 Tonganoxie 5,484 5.0% $344,779 $71,333 0.0069
39 Lansing 11,254 3.6% $286,136 $100,863 0.0142
40 Roeland Park 6,848 3.6% $294,697 $84,848 0.0423
41 Mission 9,894 3.9% $290,183 $78,915 0.0534
42 Manhattan 54,287 4.5% $252,470 $55,316 0.0205
43 Colby 5,403 0.4% $164,226 $62,937 0.0176
44 Goddard 5,119 3.6% $282,347 $87,385 0.0104
45 Shawnee 67,671 3.2% $374,543 $100,649 0.0166
46 Hays 21,111 3.5% $233,644 $55,349 0.0228
47 Gardner 23,488 4.3% $320,799 $91,232 0.0097
48 Olathe 142,114 3.2% $384,085 $108,077 0.0146
49 McPherson 13,955 2.8% $196,232 $69,807 0.0204
50 Spring Hill 8,279 2.3% $400,863 $105,194 0.0140
51 Overland Park 196,676 3.2% $423,348 $100,876 0.0262
52 Andover 15,460 1.4% $302,362 $113,538 0.0146
53 Lenexa 57,497 2.6% $421,663 $101,074 0.0179
54 Bel Aire 8,341 2.3% $258,410 $91,979 0.0170
55 Eudora 6,025 2.3% $290,892 $111,840 0.0055
56 Leawood 33,784 1.5% $681,534 $174,779 0.0207
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

24 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2024

  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


  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
    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.


    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.

  15. Lot of butt hurt kansans. I can just hear the “You come say that to mah face you commie liberal, and i’ll shoot it off” in half of these comments. Racists, the lot of ya.

  16. The fact that three cities in KS with at least 20,000 people, (and would all almost certainly be candidates for the top 10 worst), makes this list a joke. Where are Dodge City, Garden City and Junction City?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *