The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2021

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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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 54 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:

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. And the worst place to live in Kansas? That would be Coffeyville.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

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 2021

Coffeyville, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,457
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $55,800
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
More on Coffeyville:  Data | Photos

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 14th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 29.1 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $55,800, 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 $33,750, 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.

Wichita, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 389,877
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $133,400
Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
More on Wichita:  Data | Photos

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.

Chanute, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,102
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $74,900
Unemployment Rate: 6.9%
More on Chanute:  Data | Photos

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.

De Soto, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,254
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $227,800
Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
More on De Soto:  Data | Photos

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 2.7%. 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 6,254 residents, isn’t big enough to have many of its own amenities.

Liberal, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,731
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $106,400
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
More on Liberal:  Data | Photos

Liberal got its name from its founder’s liberal attitude toward travelers. Not in a political sense. He was just willing to hand out free water. Makes you wonder how unfriendly everyone else was at the time.

These days, Liberal isn’t so welcoming to newcomers. In fact, it ranks as the number 5 least appealing spot in Kansas. A spotty economy and a disappointing local school system weigh the community down.

Still, there are sights to see in Liberal. It houses an exhibit known as Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz, a recreation of Dorothy’s house from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Pittsburg, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,171
Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 20)
Median Home Value: $88,500
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
More on Pittsburg:  Data | Photos

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 2021.

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

Bonner Springs, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,782
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $167,800
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
More on Bonner Springs:  Data | Photos

You probably think of Kansas as an agricultural paradise. Well, Bonner Springs has the perfect attraction for this part of the world: the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame. Not into famous farmers? Bonner Springs can also offer a glimpse of knights and ladies of old. Just stick around for the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, held in town every year.

Otherwise, this far suburb of Kansas City has few amenities to offer its 7,782 residents. Sure, the town’s economy chugs along at a relatively strong pace, with a 5.9% unemployment rate and a $62,245 median income. But safety and education present issues, with most schools ranking a below-average grade on Great Schools.

Independence, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,698
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $80,700
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
More on Independence:  Data | Photos

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 3.1%. 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 $41,778. 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.

Parsons, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,736
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $65,000
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
More on Parsons:  Data | Photos

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 3rd cheapest in the state, and at $65,000, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (3.9%) is the 23rd highest in Kansas, and income levels are far below the state average. And 22.9% 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.

Concordia, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,070
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $76,500
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
More on Concordia:  Data | Photos

Concordia once had its own opera house. Not bad for a town of 5,070 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 13.2%.

How we determined the worst places to live in Kansas for 2021

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 5,000 people were considered — leaving 54 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 54 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. You can download the data here.

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

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 2021.

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

  1. McPherson (Pop. 13,054)
  2. Bel Aire (Pop. 7,858)
  3. Leawood (Pop. 34,670)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Kansas?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Coffeyville 9,457 6.0% $55,800
2 Wichita 389,877 5.6% $133,400
3 Chanute 9,102 6.9% $74,900
4 De Soto 6,254 2.7% $227,800
5 Liberal 19,731 5.0% $106,400
6 Pittsburg 20,171 5.7% $88,500
7 Bonner Springs 7,782 5.9% $167,800
8 Independence 8,698 3.1% $80,700
9 Parsons 9,736 3.9% $65,000
10 Concordia 5,070 5.8% $76,500
11 Topeka 126,397 4.7% $103,200
12 El Dorado 12,988 7.5% $88,500
13 Wellington 7,788 3.6% $75,400
14 Winfield 12,085 4.8% $91,500
15 Iola 5,351 5.7% $81,600
16 Spring Hill 6,626 3.9% $202,700
17 Hutchinson 40,914 4.7% $96,300
18 Haysville 11,132 3.5% $102,500
19 Fort Scott 7,742 3.1% $58,400
20 Augusta 9,368 4.9% $125,900
21 Ulysses 5,712 8.4% $111,200
22 Newton 18,877 3.1% $107,500
23 Atchison 10,598 3.8% $89,900
24 Emporia 24,607 6.6% $88,900
25 Ottawa 12,260 5.3% $109,000
26 Salina 46,998 3.4% $129,300
27 Great Bend 15,358 3.6% $95,800
28 Pratt 6,703 3.7% $84,900
29 Merriam 11,185 3.6% $169,400
30 Valley Center 7,176 5.6% $145,700
31 Lansing 11,900 3.9% $173,000
32 Abilene 6,362 3.5% $117,500
33 Paola 5,611 1.0% $134,800
34 Andover 13,062 2.5% $201,000
35 Mission 9,523 2.6% $179,700
36 Shawnee 65,540 2.9% $237,500
37 Basehor 5,951 5.1% $240,600
38 Overland Park 191,011 3.0% $276,100
39 Leavenworth 36,064 4.7% $123,800
40 Derby 24,067 3.4% $165,200
41 Roeland Park 6,769 2.6% $172,900
42 Manhattan 55,290 5.2% $209,700
43 Tonganoxie 5,359 3.3% $165,300
44 Mulvane 6,045 2.9% $129,100
45 Colby 5,473 2.7% $125,500
46 Lawrence 96,369 4.3% $195,500
47 Olathe 137,618 2.8% $238,100
48 Hays 20,899 3.3% $176,900
49 Eudora 6,602 3.7% $169,000
50 Lenexa 54,011 2.6% $260,900
51 Gardner 21,528 3.4% $189,100
52 McPherson 13,054 2.2% $143,700
53 Bel Aire 7,858 0.6% $161,000
54 Leawood 34,670 2.7% $463,200

How Is The Area In ?

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Kansas.

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.