The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2023

The worst places to live in Kansas are Coffeyville and De Soto for 2023 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 55 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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2023

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

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 2023.

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:

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

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Kansas For 2023

Coffeyville, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,032
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $52,300
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
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 12th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 31.4 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $52,300, 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 $38,582, 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.

De Soto, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,160
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $279,900
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
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 7.9%. 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 6,160 residents, isn’t big enough to have many of its own amenities.

Pittsburg, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,667
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $85,600
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
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 2023.

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

Chanute, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,737
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $80,300
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
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.

Wichita, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 394,574
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $145,300
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
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.

Wellington, KS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,745
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $79,500
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
More on Wellington:  Data | Photos

Iola, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,378
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $76,600
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
More on Iola:  Data | Photos

Parsons, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,652
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $59,500
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
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 2nd cheapest in the state, and at $59,500, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (3.3%) is the 38th highest in Kansas, and income levels are far below the state average. And 21.3% 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.

Winfield, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,817
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $101,800
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
More on Winfield:  Data | Photos

Independence, KS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,584
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $73,600
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
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 2.4%. 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 $44,565. 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.

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Kansas for 2023

To figure out the worst places to live in Kansas, 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 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 55 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 55 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.

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023. This 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 2023.

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

  1. Andover (Pop. 15,162)
  2. Bel Aire (Pop. 8,148)
  3. Leawood (Pop. 33,748)

For more Kansas reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Kansas?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Coffeyville 9,032 5.8% $52,300
2 De Soto 6,160 7.9% $279,900
3 Pittsburg 20,667 4.5% $85,600
4 Chanute 8,737 7.7% $80,300
5 Wichita 394,574 5.9% $145,300
6 Wellington 7,745 5.4% $79,500
7 Iola 5,378 6.6% $76,600
8 Parsons 9,652 3.3% $59,500
9 Winfield 11,817 6.5% $101,800
10 Independence 8,584 2.4% $73,600
11 Great Bend 14,864 4.2% $99,100
12 Topeka 126,802 4.9% $106,500
13 Concordia 5,096 6.7% $82,100
14 Fort Scott 7,579 4.2% $69,600
15 Newton 18,576 4.1% $107,500
16 Leavenworth 37,216 5.0% $142,300
17 El Dorado 12,855 4.6% $97,800
18 Atchison 10,773 6.0% $100,000
19 Liberal 19,340 3.8% $107,800
20 Ulysses 5,812 3.3% $126,600
21 Bonner Springs 7,858 3.1% $178,200
22 Maize 5,469 9.6% $184,100
23 Salina 46,896 3.8% $138,500
24 Merriam 11,110 5.3% $196,100
25 Paola 5,733 2.9% $165,300
26 Emporia 24,220 4.1% $106,500
27 Haysville 10,887 6.2% $125,800
28 Hutchinson 40,202 4.4% $103,500
29 Valley Center 8,365 7.0% $166,300
30 Mulvane 5,676 5.0% $136,400
31 Pratt 6,618 2.8% $94,100
32 Augusta 9,299 4.3% $139,300
33 Lansing 11,321 4.8% $193,100
34 Basehor 6,717 10.2% $261,500
35 Ottawa 12,592 3.2% $132,300
36 Hays 20,870 4.0% $185,700
37 Tonganoxie 5,383 6.1% $168,800
38 Abilene 6,507 2.2% $114,100
39 Shawnee 67,021 3.3% $266,800
40 Mission 9,884 4.1% $225,200
41 Manhattan 54,794 4.5% $222,300
42 Colby 5,434 1.4% $133,300
43 McPherson 13,916 1.2% $163,900
44 Olathe 140,339 3.2% $273,600
45 Spring Hill 7,883 2.4% $243,000
46 Derby 25,365 4.5% $180,600
47 Roeland Park 6,871 1.8% $211,900
48 Gardner 23,065 3.8% $213,800
49 Lawrence 94,745 4.6% $216,700
50 Lenexa 56,755 2.5% $299,400
51 Overland Park 195,249 3.1% $314,500
52 Eudora 6,457 3.5% $188,500
53 Andover 15,162 1.0% $234,900
54 Bel Aire 8,148 1.9% $168,400
55 Leawood 33,748 1.6% $498,900

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.