Kansas is a pro-business state, has a skilled workforce and is home to many successful national and international businesses. These qualities are due to many benefits that the Sunflower state lays claim to, but one of the most important is Kansas’ superb quality of life.
“I chose to move to Kansas, and it was the best choice I could have made,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. “The quality of life here is overwhelming. I moved my business to Kansas several years ago, and I am proud to say I am raising my family here.”
The state of Kansas boasts many features that contribute to its citizens’ quality of life, including a low cost of living. Housing costs in Kansas are 21.5 percent below the national average. Transportation costs are 9.4 percent, utility costs are 6.1 percent, grocery costs are 6.7 percent and healthcare costs are 3.3 percent below their national averages.
Kansas has an excellent healthcare system. The award-winning University of Kansas Medical Center features schools of medicine, nursing and health professionals. It is also a leader in health sciences with research centers and institutes such as Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Transnational Research, the University of Kansas Cancer Center and its Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Kansas has eight regional healthcare centers and a variety of specialty clinics located throughout the state. The Kansas healthcare system is also one of the most affordable in the nation. According to WalletHub, Kansas ranks sixth overall in its “States with the Best Healthcare.” This is mostly due to its affordability and access to quality healthcare. Kansas also ranks 14th in the nation for health access.
Kansas also has a highly ranked educational system. CNBC has ranked Kansas K-12 schools at ninth in the nation. The state also has a 13-to-1 pupil to teacher ratio, which is vitally important to the learning environment for most children. The state’s student to teacher ratio is also better than the national average. According to the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, Kansas also has students with above average test scores on most standardized tests.
There are wonderful higher education opportunities in Kansas, with 32 public institutions including six state universities, one municipal university, nineteen community colleges, and six technical colleges. With over 600 undergraduate degree programs offered at the state universities alone, Kansas has been recognized as the national leader in the percentage of community college students who continue on to get a degree from a four-year institution. All veterans eligible for federal education benefits or who resided in Kansas before enlisting, and their families, along with all current members of the armed forces qualify for in-state tuition rates at all public universities and colleges in Kansas. State university tuition and fee costs average $7,199 and are among the lowest in the region. Unique to Kansas, state law requires a 'degree prospectus' be published outlining cost and earnings data from real graduates for each undergraduate degree program offered at a public university – the only state in the nation to provide such transparency. In 2010, the Kansas Board of Regents adopted Foresight 2020, a strategic plan which includes the goal that 60 percent of the Kansas workforce will have a postsecondary certificate or degree by the year 2020.
“Over the past five years, the number of certificates and degrees awarded by public universities and colleges in Kansas has increased by 14 percent, the number of Kansans holding an associate degree or higher exceeds the national average across all age groups, targeted initiatives to increase the number of nursing and engineering graduates have been successful beyond expectations, and university research continues to receive national attention in the areas of global food solutions, animal health, cancer treatment, and aviation,” said President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents Blake Flanders.
The low cost of living, as well as the healthcare and education systems contribute to Kansas’ immense quality of life. There are also attractions and activities that can be found throughout the state. There are six national parks located in Kansas and 26 state parks. These parks feature picnic areas, woodland areas, rivers and lakes. From hiking to kayaking and everything in between, these parks are havens for outdoor enthusiasts. There are also many attractions, including the Flint Hills Discover Center in Manhattan, Kansas; Prairiefire at Lionsgate in Overland Park, Kansas; the Wichita River District in Wichita, Kansas; as well as a variety of zoos and animal parks located through the state. Kansas City is home to Village West, which features a variety of entertainment, including the Kansas Speedway, Community America Ballpark, Great Wolf Lodge, Chateau Avalon winery, Sporting Park and the Legends Kansas City Outlet mall.
The quality of life in Kansas is highly ranked in many aspects, but to the millions of citizens who call the state home, Kansas is number one. The low cost of living, affordable and quality healthcare, the above average K-12 education system, as well as the competitive and affordable higher education system, and the variety of attractions and entertainment Kansas offers are second to none. Needless to say, the quality of life in Kansas makes it a great place to live.