The Cost of Living Diaries: Kansas City, MO
How much does it cost to live in Kansas City? We got a local to tell us ALL the details.
How long have you lived in Kansas City?
I’ve lived here for almost three years now. I was living in Chicago and looking for a new job (but hadn't really told anyone this) when I got a phone call about a position. It was a new scope of practice for me, but it was exciting.
Within three weeks, I had done a phone screen, an on-site interview, and received and accepted an offer. I did not look back! I love my job and I am so in love with Kansas City!
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What’s your rent/mortgage in Kansas City?
I pay about $1400 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. I would say this is normal for the newer apartments and lofts — and I'm in a neighborhood (River Market) that is building a lot of new places. Also, I was very specific in that I wanted a patio (and it just so happened that most places that offer patios also have pools).
If you want to rent a house or part of a house, I have friends who paid $800 a month for a two-bedroom flat. Just like any city, there are some parts of town that are more expensive and some that are cheaper — depends on how close to the action you want to be!
Who are the main employers in Kansas City? Are jobs relatively easy to find?
Some of the big employers are in healthcare (The University of Kansas Health System, St. Luke’s), Cerner, Hallmark and Sprint. For the cost of living (low relative to my previous homes in Portland, Minneapolis or Chicago), the pay is not significantly lower. I have friends who work in healthcare and at Cerner and they all love their jobs.
What is it like to be a child-free adult in Kansas City?
I love it! There is plenty to do but not so much to do that you can't do the fun things more than once! I always have a list of places I want to try and check out.
I will say I went on more dates in KCMO in the first six months I was here than in the two years in Chicago, and I was trying equally as hard. Thankfully, I found a fantastic boyfriend and we love hanging out across the city.
I think if you’re trying, you can meet people in lots of different places. I made a bunch of new friends at my gym, CORE Strong Fitness. We keep each other motivated and also know when it’s time to have a beer together.
How walkable is Kansas City? Is there a good public transit system?
A LOT of people drive everywhere here. There is public transportation, but you really have to make an effort to use it. I don't see as many people biking here as in Minneapolis or Chicago, but there are cyclists.
This is probably the only thing I "complain" about when I compare KC to Chicago — I miss the trains there. But Uber and Lyft are super accessible also and it only costs about $7 to get to the "fun" parts of town from my apartment.
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How diverse — ethnically, politically, religiously, economically — is Kansas City?
It’s diverse in chunks. The suburbs tend to be pretty Caucasian, but there is diversity. The city is very accepting of differences in politics, religion and gender identities and sexual orientation. KC proper is pretty progressive, but farther out into rural Missouri or Kansas it gets relatively red. It makes elections interesting and unpredictable.
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To give us an idea of the overall cost of living — how much does a nice, fancy cup of coffee cost? A nice cocktail?
During my interview visit, I bought a LOCAL beer at a restaurant for $5 and I was like "WOW you can't even get a Miller Lite in Chicago for $5." Coffee is between $3 (black) and $5 (latte, cappuccino). A nice glass of wine ranges from $7-$11. Cocktails are a little more unpredictable from $8-$15. In general, the cost of living is very reasonable.
What are your absolute favorite things about Kansas City?
Honestly, it’s just an easy city to live in. My commute to work is about eight minutes. I can still see Justin Timberlake in concert. There is football and baseball and hockey. There are a TON of local artists and art fairs — after attending my first one here I committed to only buying handmade jewelry from here on out. There's enough do to keep you busy but not be overwhelmed with options.