Kansas City, Missouri, lies on the western edge of Missouri. Among the 100 largest cities in the United States, it is the most centrally located in the lower 48 states. This central location makes it very competitive for employment involving transportation, communication and distribution.
Kansas City covers 319 square miles. The US Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program shows a 2017 population of 488,943 residents, making it the largest city in Missouri, both in area and in population. Its area is the 11th largest among United States cities that are not consolidated with counties. Its population is the 37th largest in the United States. The city lies within parts of four counties; Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and 15 public school districts. It is at the center of a 14-county metropolitan area with approximately 2,128,912 residents.
Population and Households
According to the US Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey, Kansas City, Missouri, had 481,360 residents, comprised of 246,654 females (51.2%) and 234,706 males (48.8%). The median age was 35.3 years. 23.3% of the population was under 18 years of age, while 12.4% of the population was 65 years or older. There was at least one person under 18 years old in 27.0% of households and at least one person 65 or older in 22.0% of households. Of the total population, 61.6% were White; 28.5% Black or African American; 3.3% Asian or Pacific Islander; 0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native; 3.6% some other race, and 2.6% two or more races. Persons of Hispanic Origin constituted 10.9% of the city’s population.
The 2016 American Community Survey estimated that there were 198,202 households in Kansas City. The average household size was 2.38 people. Families made up 55.7% of the households, comprising married couple families (36.5%), single parent families (10.3%) and other families (8.9%). Nonfamily households comprised 44.3% of all households. Most of the nonfamily households were people living alone (36.0%), but they also included some non-related people living together in households. Among persons 15 or older, 39.5% had never married, 40.3% were married and not separated, 1.9% were separated, 5.3% were widowed and 13.0% were divorced.
Of the population 25 years old or older, 90.0% had a high school diploma (includes equivalency) or higher, while 35.2% had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Residents currently enrolled in grades K-12 were 16.2% of the population, while those enrolled in college or graduate school were 6.5% of the population.
The 2016 American Community Survey found that 8.0% of the city’s total population were foreign born, while 92.0% were native born. Those born in Missouri constituted 53.2%. Persons identifying themselves as US citizens comprised 95.4% of the population. Among the population five years old or older, 5.0% spoke English less than very well and 12.6% spoke a language other than English at home. Of those who spoke a language other than English at home, 51.7% spoke Spanish and 48.3% spoke some other language.
Income and Employment
The median household income in Kansas City, Missouri, was $51,235 according to the US Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, Kansas City’s civilian labor force comprised 69.5% of its population 16 or older. Of them, 94.3% were employed. In terms of type of employment, 82.5% of the total employed population were private wage and salary workers; 11.7% were Federal, state, or local government workers; 5.5% were self-employed workers, and 0.3% were unpaid workers in family businesses. The leading industries for which Kansas City residents worked were educational services, health care, and social assistance (22.8%); professional, scientific, management, and administrative services (13.8%); arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (11.2%); and retail trade (10.4%).
Business and Industry
Kansas City is a regional headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank and contains the headquarters for Hallmark Cards, Cerner, DST, Russell Stover Candies, Kansas City Southern Railway, H&R Block, Boulevard Brewing, and American Century Investments. Infogroup 2017 data show that the sectors employing the most people in Kansas City were Full-Service Restaurants (12,574); Elementary & Secondary Schools (12,265); General Medical & Surgical Hospitals (12,065); Offices Of Physicians (9,146); Insurance Agencies & Brokerages (7,756); Offices Of Lawyers (7,302); Tax Preparation Services (5,589); Hotels (Except Casino Hotels) & Motels (5,306); and Engineering Services (5,192).
Between 2012 and 2017, the greatest increases in sector employment were in General Medical & Surgical Hospitals; Administration of Public Health Programs; Limited-Service Restaurants; Gift, Novelty & Souvenir Stores; Trust, Fiduciary & Custody Activities; Engineering Services; Other Urban Transit Systems; New Single-Family Housing Construction (Except For-Sale Builders); Insurance Agencies & Brokerages; and Other Scientific & Technical Consulting Services.
The main office and retail corridor extends six miles from the Downtown to the Country Club Plaza, which was developed in the 1920’s as the nation’s oldest automobile oriented shopping area. Other major commercial corridors lie along Barry Road/Highway 152, along I-29 and along the southern end of Ward Parkway. Industrial activity is most concentrated near the Missouri, Blue and Kansas Rivers, near the Kansas City Terminal Railway, and near Kansas City International Airport and the former Richards Gebaur Air Base.
According to the 2016 American Community Survey, Kansas City, Missouri, had a total of 228,329 housing units, 13.2% of which were vacant. Among occupied housing units, 53.0% were owner-occupied. Of all housing units, 69.2% were in single-unit structures, 7.2% were in 2-4 unit structures and 23.5% were in structures with five units or more. The median home value was $146,300 and the median gross rent was $857. Among owners, 15.5% spent 35% or more of their income for housing costs, while 34.6% of renters did so for gross rent.
The 2016 American Community Survey indicates that 20.3% of householders in Kansas City moved in before 2000, and 56.6% from 2010 onward. With regard to the age of the housing stock, 28.3% of the housing units were built in 1949 or before, 27.5% from 1950 to 1969, 22.0% from 1970 to 1989, and 22.2% in 1990 or later.
Land Use and Development
Kansas City’s parceled properties consist of 28.8% residential land use, 4.4% commercial, 13.1% industrial/transportation, 3.3% institutional, 9.5% recreational, and 40.9% vacant/agricultural. Currently the City is operating under a comprehensive plan approved in 1997 and a zoning and development code approved in 2011.
Kansas City is drained by the Missouri River and its tributaries, particularly the Blue River, the Little Blue River and Shoal Creek. It contains parts of 49 watersheds, 26 north of the Missouri River and 23 south of it. Extensive mining of limestone in the past has been transformed into over 20 million square feet of underground commercial and industrial space, the largest concentration in the United States. The largest development, Hunt Midwest SubTropolis covers 913 acres and contains 6.5 miles of roads and 10 million square feet of improved space. Occupants, including the U.S. Postal Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, already fill 5 million square feet of it.
Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation Department oversees a 130-mile boulevard and parkway system, 136 miles of trails, 221 parks, 48 fountains, 125 ball diamonds, 10 community centers, 93 tennis courts, five golf courses, and 24 pools. Swope Park is one of the nation’s largest city parks, comprising 1,805 acres.
Kansas City has the most freeway lanes per capita of any United States city. It is one of only six cities in the nation with four primary interstate highways within its City limits (I-70, I-35, I-29, and I-49).
Kansas City is exceeded only by Chicago as a hub for rail freight. It carries over 300 daily arrivals and departures of freight. Major intermodal centers to transfer freight containers between trucks and rail are being developed at the 1300-acre Center-Point-KCS Intermodal Center in Kansas City and the 1000-acre Logistics Park Kansas City in its suburb of Edgerton, Kansas. The 800-acre KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre will handle transfer between trucks and aircraft.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority provides mass transit service which extends into seven counties. It consists of 25 miles of bus rapid transit on two routes and 646 miles of regular bus service on 58 routes. A two-mile starter streetcar line is in operation and three expansion lines totaling nine miles are being studied.
According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 11.3% of Kansas City households did not have a vehicle, 40.3% had only one vehicle, 33.0% had two vehicles and 15.3% had three or more vehicles. Among workers 16 years old or older, 81.6% drove alone to work, 7.9% carpooled, 2.7% took public transportation, 1.7% walked, 1.5% took other means of transportation, and 4.6% worked at home. The average travel time to work was 22 minutes.
Kansas City was founded in 1838 as the “Town of Kansas” and was incorporated as a city in 1850. The original charter establishing the Council/Manager form of government was passed in 1925.
The City Council consists of six members elected within districts and six members who reside in those same districts, but whom are elected on a citywide basis. The Mayor is also elected citywide and acts as the presiding member of the City Council. The City Council sets policy and the City Manager oversees City operations.