The cost of living in Kansas is among the lowest in the country due to cheap housing and monthly rent prices, grocery costs, and healthcare premiums. To live comfortably in Kansas, a single adult would need to make at least $27,378 per year.
There may have been a reason why Dorothy wanted to get back to Kansas so badly, and it has nothing to do with wicked witches—it’s the low cost of living! This quintessential American state with endless stretches of the Great Plains and the country’s fifth largest American Bison population is bolstered by an ultra-low cost of living.
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How high is the cost of living in Kansas?
Living costs in Kansas are some of the lowest in the country. The Sunflower State’s current cost of living index (COLI) is 86.5.
For reference, the national average COLI is 100, and any state that has a cost of living lower than 100—like Kansas—has lower than average living costs. Any state with a cost of living higher than 100 has higher than average living costs.
Hawaii, the US’s most expensive state to live in, with a COLI of 192.3, nearly double the national average.
Mississippi on the other hand has a COLI of 83.3 and is the least expensive US state.
These numbers can seem a bit abstract, though, so let’s break the Kansas cost of living down to more tangible information regarding the costs of food, healthcare, housing, transportation, and more.
Food: $286 to $839 per month
Let’s start with a non-negotiable—food. Here, we’re discussing the average monthly grocery bills for single adults and families of four as estimated by MIT’s
Living Wage Calculator.
Average grocery bills in Kansas range from $3,423 to $12,257 per year depending on family size, income, and location. For single adults, the average monthly grocery bill will come out to around $286 per month. The monthly grocery bill for a family of four, however, will be closer to $839 per month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US household spends around $412 per month on groceries.
And remember that these prices cover grocery essentials only, not the added expenses of your morning coffees or lunches with friends.
Healthcare: $216 to $777 per month
Healthcare is another necessary pillar of living—and in Kansas, it can range from $216 to $777 per month. For comparison, it’s estimated that the average US household pays $477 per month on their healthcare but healthcare costs are not easily pinned down to an all-inclusive estimate.
The average cost of healthcare can be difficult to estimate because individual costs will vary widely by things like your age, location, family size, and health conditions. If you’re covering the costs for more than one person or if you have an existing health condition, you’ll be shelling out more each month than a single person with no existing conditions.
Housing: $560 to $1,645 per month
One of the major contributors to Kansas’s low cost of living is housing prices. While the average cost of a home in the US in 2022 is $428,700—and places like
California see home values surpassing $816,000—Kansas residents enjoy an average home value of just $277,329.
So, what can Kansas residents expect to pay in monthly housing costs? Here’s a breakdown of the monthly prices for different types of common housing:
Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,387
Average studio rent: $560
Average one-bedroom rent: $564
Average two-bedroom rent: $742
Average three-bedroom rent: $917
Average four-bedroom rent: $1,006
Keep in mind that these are statewide averages and your exact rent payments will vary depending on your exact location. For example, the Kansas average for a two-bedroom apartment is $742, but you’ll be paying $1,021 per month for a two-bedroom in Johnson and Linn Counties.
Transportation: $442 to $1,205 per month
Kansas does not have a ton of public transportation access, so much of the cost of transportation comes from personal vehicle ownership.
Depending on factors like your age, your family size, your location, your driving habits, and your commute, you could be looking at monthly transportation expenses anywhere between $442 and $1,205. We can look at some major transportation costs here:
Six trip tickets for North Central fixed bus routes: $5
Average commute length in Kansas: 19.3 minutes
Average cost of a gallon of gas, August 2022: $3.54
How much you need to live comfortably in Kansas: $27,378 to $77,687 per year
Taking your bare necessities for living into account, a single adult in Kansas needs to make at least $27,378 per year or $16.38 per hour while working full-time to survive. A family of four would need to be bringing in $77,687 per year or $23.24 per hour while working full-time in Kansas.
The Kansas minimum wage is $7.25, so these can be tough markers to reach. And these figures are just to meet the living minimum, they don’t take into account extra expenses for nights out, family vacations, museum trips, or other just-for-fun activities:
Average cost of a date: $54.76 (US average: $69.00)
Average cost of a night at the movies: $8.52 (US average: $9.57)
Average cost of a Big Mac: $4.07 (US average: $5.15)
Wichita Art Museum admission: $10.00 (US average museum admission: $8.00)
Average sales tax: 8.70%(US average: 5.09%)
It is still possible to live and thrive in Kansas without meeting the “live comfortably minimum”, especially when life priorities can be different for everyone. These are just benchmarks for the typical amount most folks need to make ends meet in the Sunflower State.
The Kansas cities with the lowest cost of living
There is a relatively low cost of living throughout the state of Kansas, but maybe you’re on the hunt for a new home with the lowest of the low!
While there’s no shortage of affordable places to live, here are five of Kansas’s most affordable cities. They have COLIs below the Kansas average and well below the national average:
Chanute (COLI: 73): This affordable Kansas city was named after a railroad engineer and aviation pioneer, and it sticks closely to the tradition of innovation.
Concordia (COLI: 77): With some of the best home price-to-income ratios in the state and historic WWII sites, this history buff on a budget could be quite happy here.
Arkansas City (COLI: 80): Settle in near gorgeous walking trails and closeby fishing spots while paying the lowest proportion of your income on your home.
Wellington (COLI: 81): A Kansas town with a low cost of living, bolstered by museums, golf courses, and a water park!
Newton (COLI: 86): For those looking to live out some cowboy dreams, head to this affordable city that used to be a key railroad hub for the 19th-century cattle industry.
Note these cities down if you have Kansas in your new-home sights and are looking to put your roots down somewhere affordable!
How to easily find car and home insurance in Kansas
Although Kansas indeed has a much lower cost of living than the national average, you’ll see higher than average car insurance rates. And since there isn’t a lot of public transportation available, you’re likely relying on your car for all of your movement.
Keep your car in good shape and your premiums as low as possible with a solid insurance policy you can find with ease on the Jerry app. Cut costs even more by letting Jerry help you bundle your home and auto insurance!
Jerry contacts your insurance company to get the details of your current coverage so you don’t have to scale a mountain of questions. You get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork. And if that isn’t enough for you, Jerry can even help cancel your old policy.
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