Want to know which are the largest cities in Kansas? Here’s an updated list of the biggest and most populated cities in the state of Kansas in 2020.
Kansas has a total population of 2,911,505 and ranks as the 36th largest state in terms of population. It has a total area of 82,278.36 square miles (213,100 km2), making it the 15th biggest state in the U.S.
There are no towns or villages in the state of Kansas and all municipalities hold city status. Only five cities have a population of more than 100,000 residents, and there are a total of 627 cities in the state of Kansas.
Wichita is the most populated city with 385,518 residents. It’s also the biggest city in Kansas with a total area of 159.29 square miles. The city is located on the Arkansas River and was originally founded as a trading post.
It quickly became an important cattle destination at the end of the 19th century and thus became known as “Cowtown”. Wichita also serves as the seat of Sedgwick County.
In the 1920s, several aircraft manufacturers started their production sites here, which made the city known as the “Air Capital of the World”. Even today it remains a major center for the aircraft industry with leading names such as Airbus, Textron Aviation, Spirit Aerosystems and Learjet still operating in Wichita.
Furthermore, Wichita is home to several large museums, theaters, and universities, making it the regional center of culture, media, and trade in the state of Kansas. Unfortunately, there is also a dark side of the city where it has been ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S per violent crime rate.
Overland Park has a total population of 178,945 residents, making it the second-largest city in Kansas by population. It’s located in Johnson County and was officially incorporated as a city in 1960.
Back then, the city only had 28,085 residents and it almost quadrupled its population in just 30 years. Overland Park has been awarded “Best City to raise a family” in 2018 and it continues to grow, although at a slower pace.
Kansas City is the seat of Wyandotte County and has a population of 147,598, making it the third-largest city in the state. The city covers an area of 124.81 square miles and is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, which also includes the separately incorporated city with the same name in Missouri.
There are several buildings in the city that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Some of the major landmarks include the Union Station, Liberty Memorial, Folly Theater, and the JC Nichols Memorial Fountain.
Olathe is the seat of Johnson County with a population of 129,913 residents. It was founded already in 1857 and became incorporated later in the same year. The city is also part of the Kansas City Metro Area and borders Lenexa, Overland Park, De Soto, and Gardner.
Just like many other major cities in Kansas, it has seen rapid growth since the 60s, especially from the 80s and onwards to the last census in 2010.
Topeka is the seat of Shawnee County and the state capital of Kansas. It has a population of 127,660 people, which makes it the fifth-largest city in Kansas by population.
The city of Topeka and the surrounding area have a long history of producing corn, potatoes, and wheat, and the name Topeka actually means “a good place to dig potatoes” in the indigenous language Kansa-Osage.
It was incorporated as an American city in 1857 but was founded already in 1854. The largest employer is the State of Kansas, which employs nearly 70% of all workforce in Topeka.
Lawrence was founded in 1854 and incorporated in 1858. It’s the seat of Douglas County and has a population of 90,194 residents. The city has played an important role throughout several historic events such as the Wakarusa War, Bleeding Kansas, and the Sack of Lawrence.
Today, Lawrence is known for its art and music scene. Several notable magazines such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone have praised its music scene throughout the years.
Shawnee is located in Johnson County and has a population of 64,597 residents, making it the 7th largest city in Kansas by population. It’s also included in the Kansas City Metro area.
Since the 1960s, the city has seen tremendous growth. Between each census from 1990 to 2010, Shawnee has had an increase of over 25%. FedEx, Bayer HealthCare, EC Manufacturing, and Wal-Mart are the top employers in the city.
Manhattan City is the seat of Riley County in northeastern Kansas and has a population of 55,112 residents where more than half are students. The city is home to Kansas State University as well as the Manhattan Christian College, Manhattan Area Technical College, American Institute of Baking, and the Kansas Building Science Institute.
Between the census in 2000 and 2010, the number of residents grew by over 7000. Since then, the growth has somewhat slowed down, although it’s still increasing its population every year.
Most Populated Cities in Kansas
Wichita has well over 10% of the state’s residents. Overland Park, Kansas City, Olathe, and Topeka are the only cities with more than 100,000 residents in addition to Wichita.
- Wichita 385,518
- Overland Park 178,945
- Kansas City 147,598
- Olathe 129,913
- Topeka 127,660
- Lawrence 90,194
- Shawnee 63,597
- Manhattan 55,112
- Lenexa 49,573
- Salina 47,894
- Hutchinson 41,946
- Leavenworth 35,738
- Leawood 32,842
- Dodge City 27,950
- Garden City 26,924
- Emporia 24,787
- Junction City 24,691
- Derby 23,419
- Prairie Village 21,730
- Hays 20,886
- Liberal 20,846
- Pittsburg 20,336
- Gardner 20,128
Biggest Cities in Kansas
There are some slight differences when it comes to the biggest cities in Kansas compared to the most populous cities. Wichita is the biggest city with a total area of 163.59 square miles.
- Wichita – 163.59 sq mi (423.70 km2)
- Kansas City – 128.38 sq mi (332.50 km2)
- Overland Park – 75.6 sq mi (195.22 km2)
- Topeka – 61.47 sq mi (159.21 km2)
- Olathe – 60.42 sq mi (156.49 km2)
- Shawnee – 42.86 sq mi (111.01 km2)
- Lenexa – 34.45 sq mi (89.23 km2)
- Lawrence – 34.26 sq mi (88.7 km2)
- Salina – 25.15 sq mi (65.14 km2)
- Leavenworth – 24.06 sq mi (62.32 km2)
The fastest-growing cities in Kansas
Basehor is currently the fastest growing city in Kansas with a percentage growth of 35.2% since the latest census. Spring Hill comes in at second with a growth of 1367 residents, giving it a percentage of 27.6%.
Gardner in Johnson County has had a percent growth of 21.7% with an absolute growth of 3810 residents. Andover in Butler County has seen a 17% growth from the last census in 2010.
|City||Percent Growth since the 2010 Census|
Where are the largest cities in Kansas located?
Most of the largest cities in Kansas are located in the eastern part of the state with near proximity to Kansas City. Wichita, Salina, and Hutchinson are some of the exceptions with a more central location.
Dodge City and Garden City are the two largest cities in western Kansas with more than 20,000 residents each. The eastern part of the state is more densely populated compared to the western part.
How many of the largest cities in Kansas did you know about? Leave a comment below!