With friendly Midwestern cities and beautiful rolling plains and prairies, Kansas has a fantastic blend of urban and rural living. Cities like Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City (which is split between Kansas and Missouri) are world-class hubs for everything from industries like aircraft manufacturing to melt-in-your-mouth barbecue. While it’s true that Kansas City is a great city with cool neighborhoods, dining and more, Kansas has much more to offer. Artsy small cities and towns have affordable, family-friendly living, and a refreshing lake or scenic wilderness preserve is never far away.
Overall, the cost of living in Kansas is also affordable. While bigger cities may have higher rents and housing prices, the diverse range of cities and towns guarantees you’ll find a place that fits your budget and lifestyle. Some are up-and-coming destinations for young professionals, while others focus on relaxed, family-centered towns. Covering everything from housing to utilities, here’s what you can expect in terms of the cost of living in different places around the Sunflower State.
Kansas housing prices
One of the biggest benefits of living in Kansas is its low housing costs. In most Kansas cities and towns, the cost of housing is below the national average. In most major cities, you’ll find reasonably-priced apartments and houses, with rents rarely surpassing $1,000 a month.
Here’s what the average rent and home prices are like in some of Kansas’ biggest and most popular cities.
Surrounded by the beautiful Kansas prairie in the center of the state, Hutchinson is a compact city with a population of around 39,712. Due to its location, some of its biggest industries are wheat farming and working in the local oil industry. In addition to being the site of the Kansas State Fair, city parks and nearby state parks make this a lovely place for outdoor recreation. It also has a zoo and the famous Cosmosphere, a space museum and STEM education center.
At 45.6 percent below the national average, Hutchinson’s total housing costs are the lowest beneath the national average of our highlighted cities. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $719, up 6 percent from last year. The monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is up 14 percent to $829.
Hutchinson’s housing market has also grown over the past year. The median sale price to purchase a home here is up 2.6 percent to $143,450.
Straddling the border of Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City, KS’s population of 154,545 makes it the third-largest city in the state. This dynamic metro area is best known for its jazz, barbecue and culture. Live sports are also a big deal here, thanks to both professional and collegiate teams, courtesy of local universities. The combination of a vibrant cultural scene, affordable cost of living and a diverse job market make it a popular Midwestern metropolis to call home.
Kansas City’s cost of housing is 0.4 percent below the national average. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $915 and a two-bedroom unit is $1,034. These rates are up 5 and 2 percent from the previous year.
If you want to buy a home in Kansas City, KS, you’ll be looking at a median sale price of $205,000, which is up 10.8 percent from last year.
Located at the confluence of the Big Blue and Kansas Rivers in northeastern Kansas, Manhattan is one of Kansas’ top college towns. It’s the home of Kansas State University, which is one of the top higher learning institutions in the state. As a college town, Manhattan has great dining, a lively cultural scene and fun activities. Nearby Turtle Lake is a regional destination for boating, hiking and other outdoor recreation.
As a college town, housing costs here are affordable, falling 19.9 percent below the national average. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $805 and a two-bedroom apartment for $952. These rates are both up 10 percent from last year.
With no significant growth or decline over the past year, houses in Manhattan go for a median sale price of $178,000.
Apart from being the state capital, Topeka in northeastern Kansas has many other claims to fame. For one, the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional, originated here. Along with the rest of its rich history, an abundance of parks, family activity centers and laidback neighborhoods make Topeka a very family-friendly city.
Extremely affordable housing is another benefit of living here, with housing costs being 20.4 percent below the national average. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $790 or a two-bedroom apartment for $857. However, rent prices have been going up slightly over the past year. The cost for a one-bedroom unit is up 1 percent and two-bedroom unit prices are up 12 percent.
Topeka offers potential homeowners a refreshing low median sale price of $140,000. This rate is up a whopping 64.7 percent from last year. With national median sale prices currently at $428,006, buying a home in Topeka is quite the deal.
Located in south-central Kansas, Wichita is the most populous city in the state. In addition to being known as the “Air Capital of the World” due to its many airline manufacturing facilities, numerous airports and Air Force base, it’s a regional hub for art, culture, healthcare and the restaurant industry (Pizza Hut and White Castle originated here). Residents can enjoy the great outdoors in both the heart of the city at parks like Botanica, the Wichita Gardens and out of town at nearby wilderness and recreation areas like Cheney Reservoir.
Even though both average rent and home prices have increased over the past year, Wichita’s housing costs are 34.3 percent below the national average. One-bedroom apartments are up 15 percent to $800 and two-bedroom apartments are up 12 percent to $964.
Wichita also has one of the most expensive housing markets in the state. The median sale price for a house here is up 16.2 percent from the previous year to $215,000.
Kansas food prices
From access to fresh, local meat and produce to delicious state specialties like barbecue and chicken-fried steak, the cuisine in Kansas is some of the best in the Midwest. Agriculture is a major industry in Kansas, with wheat being its biggest cash crop. Corn and soybeans are also top crops. Along with Texas and Nebraska, it’s one of the biggest suppliers of cattle in America. Cities like Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita have fantastic dining scenes, with nationally-renowned barbecue joints.
With so much great food to enjoy, luckily, locals pay below the national average for the cost of living in Kansas for food costs. Total grocery costs here are 7.4 percent below the national average. The average Kansas resident pays between $233 and $266 a month on food, which comes out to between $2,801 and $3,200 annually.
Although overall food costs here are lower-than-average, some cities have even more affordable food prices:
- Topeka is 22.9 percent below the national average
- Manhattan is 8.1 percent below the national average
- Kansas City is 7.8 percent below the national average
- Hutchinson is 7.7 percent below the national average
- Wichita is 2 percent below the national average
Topeka has some of the lowest food prices in the state. A dozen eggs cost $1.09 in Topeka compared to $1.60 in Manhattan and $1.70 in Kansas City. The price tag for a half-gallon of milk in Topeka is $1.55. In Manhattan, it will set you back $2.11 and $2.26 in Kansas City. Steak costs $15.09 in Wichita but $9.49 in Topeka and $13.28 in Kansas City. As you’ll see, even though Wichita is the closest to the national average, food prices are sometimes higher in other cities.
Kansas utility prices
In most cities, you’ll pay less than the national average for the cost of living in Kansas for utilities like electricity, water and internet.
Kansas boasts a diverse energy profile. The state gets its electricity from a mix of nuclear power and traditional natural gas and petroleum, as well as renewables like solar power and hydroelectric power. The majority of the state’s water comes courtesy of the Missouri River.
Here’s how total utility costs in these different cities stack up to the national average:
- Topeka is 4.1 percent below the national average
- Hutchinson is 2.5 percent below the national average
- Wichita is 2.1 percent below the national average
- Manhattan is 0.9 percent below the national average
- Kansas City is 2.6 percent above the national average
Of our highlighted cities, Kansas City has the most expensive utilities. As an example, the average monthly energy bill is around $178.88. In Topeka, the least expensive city, your monthly energy bill will likely skew closer to $154.60.
The average water bill in Kansas is $26.
Kansas transportation prices
From gas prices to the cost of mass transit, transportation is a key part of any monthly budget to figure out the cost of living in Kansas. Overall, transportation costs in Kansas are below the national average. Along with personal vehicles, most cities and counties in Kansas offer some form of public transportation. These largely consist of bus routes. The Kansas Department of Transportation helps support 145 transit programs that cover most Kansas cities. In some cases, these services are focusing on aiding senior citizens, those with disabilities and other eligible riders with getting around easily and affordably.
Not only does using mass transit help residents save money on gas and other vehicle expenses, but using public transportation has a host of other benefits. In bigger cities, it can reduce commuting times and traffic congestion. It’s also more environmentally friendly, reducing the number of vehicles on the road and, therefore, emissions.
Here’s how transportation costs vary between these different Kansas cities:
- Kansas City is 13.4 percent below the national average
- Hutchinson is 10.2 percent below the national average
- Topeka is 9.1 percent below the national average
- Wichita is 8 percent below the national average
- Manhattan is 6 percent below the national average
While each of these cities has some kind of mass transit, options are more limited in smaller cities. In Hutchinson, the Reno County Area Transit provides several fixed bus routes around the city and Reno County. It also has an on-demand service for rural routes. Fares for in-town service start at $4 and rural service at $8, with discounts for eligible citizens like the elderly.
Manhattan residents have the ATA bus system, with routes around Manhattan and surrounding counties and cities like Ogden and Junction City. There are five different routes in town, as well as dedicated routes to and around Kansas State University. All students, staff and faculty of K-State get to ride these routes for free. Bus fares within Manhattan start at $1 for a one-way ride and you can also get day, week and monthly passes.As two of the state’s biggest cities, Topeka and Wichita have some of the most extensive public transportation systems in Kansas.
Topeka Metro in Topeka
Residents of Topeka can get around their city with the help of Topeka Metro. Consisting of a fleet of buses and paratransit vehicles, it operates 12 different bus routes. In a more sustainable move, the fleet will soon acquire three all-electric vehicles.
Single ride fares cost $2, with day passes available for $4 and monthly passes for $50. Senior citizens, those with disabilities and youth between the ages of 5 and 18 are eligible for discounted rates.
However, with a low transit score of 25, having a car might be a necessity in Topeka. Car drivers may need to plan for tolls on the Kansas Turnpike. This 236-mile-long freeway starts in Kansas City and runs through several major Kansas cities, including Topeka. Toll fees vary depending on the length of your trip. You can use this toll calculator to estimate toll fees for your drive. Traveling the entire length of the turnpike would cost $11.15 with a K-tag and $15 without.
Topeka is also not the most bike- or pedestrian-friendly city, with a walk score of 41 and a bike score of 56.
Wichita Transit in Wichita
The Wichita Transit system in Wichita operates 18 different bus routes around the city. It also has paratransit services. The organization dedicates itself to making local mass transit more sustainable and eco-friendly, being the first city in Kansas to include zero-emission, 100-percent electric buses in its fleet. A single ride costs $1.75. Pass options include an unlimited day pass for $5 and a monthly pass for $55.
With a low walk score of 43 and a decent bike score of 50, it’s still necessary to own a personal vehicle to get around Wichita. The Kansas Turnpike also passes through Wichita, so you’ll need to know of tolls, as well.
RideKC in Kansas City
Consisting of buses, bus rapid transit and streetcars, RideKC provides mass transit throughout the interstate Kansas City metro area. It has 78 bus routes, three bus rapid transit lines and a downtown streetcar. Through 2023, all RideKC buses and streetcars are zero-fare.
With a transit score of 28, a walk score of 40 and a bike score of 32, having your own vehicle is likely a necessity in Kansas City. If you do plan to use a car in Kansas City, the Turnpike ends in Kansas City so you may need to pay tolls if you use it.
Kansas healthcare prices
Depending on where you live in Kansas, you may pay more or less than the national average for healthcare. While the location is a factor in healthcare prices, so is your personal health. In general, the cost of living in Kansas for healthcare is a difficult category to quantify and get accurate averages since healthcare costs vary by person. Some people may need to pay more for their healthcare due to pre-existing conditions or the need for specialized care. So, the prices below are not set in stone and are subject to change due to your individual healthcare needs.
But to give you a rough overview of how healthcare costs vary between Kansas cities, here’s the average cost to go to the doctor’s office in these different cities:
- Topeka: $129
- Hutchinson: $142.50
- Wichita: $104.40
- Manhattan: $137.50
- Kansas City: $89.77
Although Hutchinson has the highest price for doctor’s visits, it’s one of the least expensive cities to go to the dentist. A dental check-up costs $92 in Hutchinson. In Manhattan, you’ll pay high prices for both general and dental health, as a dental check-up there costs $109.50.
Now, let’s see how overall healthcare costs in these cities compare to the national average:
- Manhattan is 10.4 percent above the national average
- Kansas City is 9.7 percent below the national average
- Wichita is 2.9 percent below the national average
- Topeka is 0.7 percent below the national average
- Hutchinson is 6 percent above the national average
Looking at the overall average and individual costs, Topeka and Wichita have lower healthcare costs. But, prices do fluctuate between cities, so it’s something to know.
Another important factor to know is the quality of Kansas’ healthcare system. The state ranks 41st in the nation for healthcare, with especially low marks for quality. It also doesn’t score well for access to healthcare services and for overall public health. So, higher prices may not always correlate to the best care.
Kansas goods and services prices
Living in Kansas, you’ll pay below the national average for miscellaneous goods and services. These include routine activities like going to the movies or getting your hair cut or regular purchases like toothpaste and ibuprofen.
Overall, Kansas cities boast lower-than-average prices for goods and services:
- Topeka is 23.4 percent below the national average
- Kansas City is 8.7 percent below the national average
- Manhattan is 5.5 percent below the national average
- Hutchinson is 2.4 percent below the national average
- Wichita is 0.1 percent below the national average
Wichita is the closest to the national average. Getting your hair cut in Wichita costs $19 compared to $14.25 in Hutchinson, which is the cheapest rate in our highlighted cities. But, prices in Wichita won’t always rank higher. In many cases, costs are higher in smaller cities like Manhattan or Hutchinson. For example, movie tickets in Manhattan cost $14 but $10.12 in Wichita. Taking your clothes to the dry cleaners in Manhattan costs $17.99, the most expensive rate in the state. You can find the cheapest dry cleaning bill in Topeka at $12.20. In other instances, prices in Kansas City are higher, with haircuts costing $19.70 and a trip to the dry cleaners costing $14.63.
Taxes in Kansas
Taxes are another cost of living in Kansas factor that can vary widely between states and even between cities within that state. If you live in a city with high sales tax, those added expenses will have an impact on activities like grocery shopping.
Kansas has a statewide sales tax of 6.5 percent. If you spend $1,000 on a delicious Kansas barbecue spread, you’ll be paying $65 extra in sales tax. But, many counties or cities also levy their own sales tax on top of the statewide rate. This can significantly hike up the amount you’ll pay in sales tax:
- Topeka has a combined tax of 9.15 percent
- Hutchinson has a combined tax of 8.6 percent
- Wichita has a combined tax of 7.5 percent
- Manhattan has a combined tax of 8.95 percent (with an increase to 9.45 percent in 2023)
- Kansas City has a combined tax of 9.12 percent
This makes Wichita the most affordable city for sales tax. Instead of paying $65 in sales tax for every $1,000 spent, you’ll spend $75 in sales tax. Currently, Topeka has the highest sales tax, adding $91.50 to every $1,000 spent. But, Manhattan will claim the top spot next year when the sales tax within city limits increases to 9.45 percent. The sales tax for Riley County will stay the same. You can see exactly how much you’d pay in sales tax in different Kansas cities and counties with this tax rate locator from the Kansas Department of Revenue.
For income taxes, the tax rate in Kansas ranges between 3.10 percent and 5.70 percent depending on your income level.
How much do I need to earn to live in Kansas?
Overall, the cost of living in Kansas is below the national average. Living here has affordable rates on everything from housing to food. But, how much do you actually need to make to afford the cost of living here?
Since experts recommend you only spend 30 percent of your gross monthly income on rent, you’d need to make $3,380 a month or $40,560 annually to afford Kansas’ average rent of $1,014. Average salaries here range from $22,063 to $101,222, and a single person paying for only their expenses needs to make a minimum gross annual income of $34,073. If you work in a lower-paying field, you may need to spend more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent. But, with a median household income of $61,091, family households or renters with roommates are better able to make things work.
If you’re unsure what you can comfortably afford to pay in rent, use our rent calculator.
Living in Kansas
Whether you want a vibrant city or a laidback small town, Kansas has a diverse range of places and price points to choose from when deciding where to live. Overall, though, the cost of living in Kansas is accessible for many different people and budgets. And, no matter where you live in Kansas, you can enjoy access to its delectable local cuisine and natural beauty.
The Cost of Living Index comes from coli.org.
The rent information included in this summary is based on a calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Rent. as of August 2022.
Rent prices are for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.