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Kansas City Metropolitan Area

Kansas City, MO-KS
Common name: Kansas City Metropolitan Area Largest city
Other cities Kansas City, Missouri
 - Overland Park
 - Kansas City, KS
 - Independence
 - Olathe
 - Lee's Summit
 - Liberty
 - GladstonePopulation  Ranked 29th in the U.S. - Total 1,985,429  - Density 363.9/sq. mi. 
140.5/km² Area5,406 sq. mi.
14,002 km² State(s)   - Missouri
 - KansasElevation     - Highest point 11601 feet (353.51 m)  - Lowest point 6901 feet (210.31 m)
Kansas City satellite map

The Kansas City Metropolitan Area is a fifteen county metropolitan area that is anchored by Kansas City, Missouri straddling the border between the states of Missouri and Kansas. In 2007, it was estimated to have 1,985,429 people.[2] The metro is the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri and largest with territory in Kansas, though Wichita Metropolitan Area is the largest metro anchored in Kansas. Satellite cities over 100,000 population in the metropolitan area include Independence, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, Olathe, Kansas, and Overland Park, Kansas.

In 2007, Worldwide ERC and Primary Relocation recognized Kansas City third overall as one of the "Best Cities for Relocating Families" in the United States. Also in March 2007, Money rated Overland Park, Kansas, 6th best city to live in the United States. Neighboring city Olathe, Kansas, was rated 13th and Lee's Summit, Missouri, 44th best. Kansas City is one of 2 metro areas to have 2 cities in the top fifteen.[3]


Geographic overview

See Also: The Districts of Downtown (Kansas City, Missouri)

The core of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area can be visualized roughly by the following divisions:

The Northland is locally referred to as "north of the river" (Missouri River) or "Kansas City North". (Often confused with Northtown, a nickname for North Kansas City) Contained wholly within Missouri, it encompasses portions of Clay County and Platte County including the northern half of Kansas City, Missouri, and the cities of Liberty,North Kansas City and Gladstone. The sharpest part of the river bend forms a peninsula containing the Charles B. Wheeler Kansas City Downtown Airport.

Midtown is the core of the metro area just directly to the south of downtown (south of 31st Street) and is mostly urban terrain. Contained within Kansas City, Missouri, it is broken up into the historical neighborhoods of Westport, The Country Club Plaza, Hyde Park, Ward Parkway, Brookside, West Plaza, Southmoreland, Valentine, Coleman Highlands and Rockhill. It contains the majority of the metro area's businesses, visitor attractions, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

South KC or "South Kansas City" is the southern half of Kansas City, Missouri as well as the suburbs of Lee's Summit, Grandview, Harrisonville, Belton, Raymore. It is sometimes called "the southland."

The Eastside is an area of the metro that contains the eastern urban side of Kansas City, Missouri as well as the suburbs of Independence, Blue Springs and Raytown. This part of town is best known for the Truman Sports Complex where the Royals, Wizards and Chiefs play.

Johnson County (the southwest portion of the metro) indicates all of Johnson County, Kansas, which includes the cities of Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Shawnee, and De Soto. Interstate 35 runs diagonally through Johnson County from the southwest toward the northeast and downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Wyandotte or the western side of the metro contains Wyandotte County, Kansas. Wyandotte County, sometimes referred to as just 'Wyandotte' or 'The Dot', contains Kansas City, Kansas, Bonner Springs and Edwardsville, and it is governed by a single unified government similar to a consolidated city-county. Often the Wyandotte government is referred to simply as 'The Unified Government'. This area is best known for NASCAR's Kansas Speedway. Another bend in the Missouri River forms the county line between Wyandotte and Platte counties to the north and northeast.

In all, nearly 2 million people live in the metropolitan area. It is difficult to state exactly the size of the population because there are few natural boundaries and suburban expansion (or sprawl) is ongoing.

Metropolitan Area

Anchor city

100,000 or more inhabitants

10,000 to 100,000 inhabitants


Fewer than 10,000 inhabitants

The metropolitan area is experiencing continued growth. Between July 2000 and July 2007, the population in the Kansas City MSA grew from 1,842,965 to 2,037,357, an increase of 10 percent.[4]


The Kansas City metropolitan area includes all or part of the following counties:

As of 2003, the United States Census Bureau included the following counties as part of Kansas City's metropolitan statistical area:

Associated areas

Although associated with Kansas City, Lawrence, Kansas; St. Joseph, Missouri; and Warrensburg, Missouri, are identified as separate MSAs.


The Kansas City metropolitan area has by far more freeway lane-miles per capita than any other large metropolitan area in the United States, over 27% more than the second-place Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, over 50% more than the average American metro area and nearly 75% more than the large metro area with the least, Las Vegas.[1]

Some of Kansas City's interstates include:

Other major highways:

Other notable roads:

  • Ward Parkway - A scenic parkway in Kansas City, Missouri near the Kansas-Missouri state line where many large historic mansions and fountains are located.
  • Broadway - A Street where in the middle of downtown contains various bars, live jazz outlets and restaurants. It is also the eastern border of Quality Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City

Local navigation tips

See related article: WikiTravel entry on Kansas City, Missouri

Street numbers

The Missouri side of the Metropolitan Area shares a grid system with Johnson County on the Kansas Side. Most east-west streets are numbered and most north-south streets named. Addresses on east-west streets are numbered from Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri, and on north-south streets from St. John Avenue (or the Missouri River, in the River Market area). The direction 'South' in street and address numbers is generally implied if 'North' is not specified, except for numbered 'avenues' in North Kansas City. In most of Wyandotte County, Kansas the north-south streets are numbered and the address numbers are measured from Riverview Avenue. A few suburbs use completely independent numbering schemes.


  • Kansas Citians tend to express US and Missouri highway designations with the number before the word "highway". This colloquialism tends not to apply to interstates or Kansas route numbers ("I-70", "K-10").
  • 69 Highway "The Overland Parkway": Southbound on I-35 from Kansas City, Missouri towards Johnson County there are two exits marked South 69. The first or northern one (Metcalf Ave/I-635) is a left lane exit and leads to Metcalf, an at-grade trafficway, before turning west along Shawnee Mission Parkway, to rejoin I-35. The southern US-69 exit is a two lane right lane exit between the 75th and 87th street exits and begins a four lane highway known as the Overland Parkway.
  • Bruce R. Watkins Drive is the name of the new section of U.S. Route 71 in Kansas City, Missouri. The old US 71 ran mostly on Prospect Avenue.
  • When traveling north on I-35 from Johnson County the first signs that say I-70 east actually guide the driver through the southern portion of I-670 which takes motorists into the southern part of the Downtown Freeway Loop and goes underneath the Bartle Hall Convention Center and some downtown overpasses. This is sometimes referred to as "going under downtown".

Navigation landmarks

  • The KCTV pyramid shaped television and radio tower can be seen from many parts of the city and is well lit at night. It is next to the KCPT studios at the corner of 31st and Main.
  • The twin red brick towers of American Century Investments are oriented north and south along Main at 45th street. They are just north of the Country Club Plaza. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is slightly east. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is east and slightly south.
  • Kansas City Community Christian Church at 4601 Main has a group of lights that shoot a beam straight up at night. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s, it is slightly south of and across the street from the American Century Investment Towers. The Nelson Atkins is to the east and the Kemper Museum is to the north and slightly east.
  • Bartle Hall has a section that looks somewhat like a north-south suspension bridge crossing over I-670 at the southwest corner of the downtown loop. It has four towers with metal sculptures on top of each tower.
  • The Veterans Affairs Medical Center has a large "VA" emblem. It is near the intersection of I-70, Linwood and Van Brunt.

Areas of the metro

See Also: The Districts of Downtown (Kansas City, Missouri)

The center of Kansas City is roughly contained inside the downtown loop (shaded in red).
  • Downtown Kansas City refers to the downtown area of Kansas City, MO, where a large majority of the area's employees work, and where much of the entertainment is located. It has been going through a massive revitalization since 2000, and gained over 7,000 people from 2000 to 2005.
  • "The Northland" refers to the area of the metro area that is north of the Missouri River, comprising Clay and Platte counties in Missouri. This area includes the northern half of Kansas City, Missouri, which is referred to as "Kansas City, North" to distinguish it from the rest of the Northland and North Kansas City.
  • River Market refers to the area north of downtown, south of the river, and west of highway 9. It is home to a large farmer's market.
  • "North Kansas City" is a separate city that is completely surrounded by Kansas City, Missouri (abbreviated NKC). It is also called Northtown.
  • Shawnee Mission, Kansas, is an area recognized by the United States Postal Service that includes many towns in Johnson County, Kansas.
  • Waldo refers to the Waldo Residential District in Kansas City, Missouri, near 75th Street and Wornall Road.
  • Country Club Plaza (or simply "the Plaza") is an upscale shopping district built by the J.C. Nichols Company in 1923. It was the first suburban shopping district in the United States.[5]
  • Country Club District is the name for the associated group of neighborhoods built along Ward Parkway by J.C. Nichols just south of the Country Club Plaza, and includes Sunset Hill, Brookside, Crestwood, and Mission Hills, Kansas.
  • 39th Street usually refers to the small section of West 39th Street between State Line Road and Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City, Missouri. It has many restaurants, bars and shops, and is just across the state line from the University of Kansas Medical Center. The area is also referred to as the Volker neighborhood.
  • University of Kansas Hospital (KUMED) is the corporate name of the hospital on the KU Medical Center campus.
  • Benton Curve, a curve located where Interstate 70 crosses Benton Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri, is a site of many accidents.
  • Pendleton Heights is a historic neighborhood in the Northeast, home to the city's largest concentration of Victorian homes. It is bordered to the north by Cliff Drive, the east by Chestnut Trafficway, the south by Independence Avenue and to the west by the Paseo Trafficway. It is Kansas City's oldest surviving neighborhood.
  • Grandview Triangle is the intersection of three major highways: Interstate 435, Interstate 470, and U.S. Route 71 (Bruce R. Watkins Drive). Notorious for fatal accidents, as of February 2005, improvements and upgrades on the Triangle have mostly been completed.
  • Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard, named for former mayor and current Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, comprises recently renamed portions of 47th Street and Brush Creek Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • 18th and Vine refers to the 18th and Vine Historic District that contains the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum.
  • The Library District is a recently defined district around the new Central Library[6] at 14 West 10th Street in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Strawberry Hill is a historical area in Kansas City, Kansas that was home to many eastern European immigrants. Later, the neighborhood became home to many Latino/Chicano families. However, with recent immigration from Eastern Europe, Strawberry Hill is currently seeing immigration once again from Eastern Europe.
  • Hospital Hill is the area near 23rd and Holmes in Kansas City, Missouri, and consists of two major hospitals (Truman Medical Center, The Children's Mercy Hospital) and the University of Missouri, Kansas City's School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy and School of Nursing.
  • Argentine is a part of Kansas City, Kansas, near 30th and Argentine. It is one of the oldest Mexican/Chicano neighborhoods in Kansas City with Mexican immigration to that area dating to the 1800s.
  • The Crossroads Arts District is a Downtown neighborhood between the Central Business District and Union Station, centered around the intersection of 19th Street and Baltimore in Kansas City, Missouri. It contains dozens of art galleries and is considered by many to be the center of the arts culture in the metropolitan area. Local artists sponsor exhibits there on the first Friday of each month.
  • Quality Hill is a residential and commercial neighborhood on top of a western hill in the Central Business District Downtown Kansas City, across the river from the Charles B. Wheeler Airport.
  • Washington-Wheatley is a historically Black neighborhood southeast of the 18th and Vine District.
  • The Westside is a historically African American and Chicano/Latino neighborhood near Southwest Blvd. and Interstate 35.
  • Westport is a historic district offering much of the metro area's entertainment and nightlife.
  • Valentine
  • West Bottoms
  • Rosedale
  • Squier Park
  • Union Hill
  • Armordale, in Kansas City, KS, is one of the historically Chicano(a) neighborhoods of the Kansas City metro.
  • Sheffield
  • Northend
  • East Bottoms
  • Brookside
  • Northeast, refers to the Historic Old Northeast District, a working-class immigrant collection of neighorhoods. It is between downtown Kansas City and the smaller city of Independence. It was originally one of the more fashionable areas in the city, and the oldest residential neighborhoods. It is also home to peoples from dozens of nations, representing cultures from Africa, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Though a vital part of the KCMA and unique, it is often overlooked by non-Kansas Citians for political and economic reasons.
  • Truman Sports Complex, located at the corner of I-70 and I-435 east of downtown Kansas City, MO, is the sports center of the KCMA. It features Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs and MLS Kansas City Wizards; and Kauffman Stadium, home of the MLB Kansas City Royals.

Educational institutions


In Kansas City, Missouri:

MCC-Penn Valley
MCC-Maple Woods
MCC-Business and Technology Center
MCC-Blue River

On the Missouri side:

On the Kansas side:

In nearby Lawrence:

Other nearby Missouri educational institutions:


Missouri schools Kansas schools



Print media

The Kansas City Star. is the region's major daily newspaper. The McClatchy Company, the owner of The Star, also owns the suburban weeklies Lee's Summit Journal and Olathe Journal.

The five-day daily Kansas City Kansan serves Wyandotte County. Additional weekly papers in the metropolitan include the Liberty Tribune, Sun Newspapers of Johnson County and the Northland, The Examiner in Independence and Eastern Jackson County, and The Pitch. Two newspapers serve the area's faith communities: "The Metro Voice Christian Newspaper" and the "Jewish Chronicle". "Dos Mundos" is the area's primary newspaper that serves the Spanish speaking community with articles printed in Spanish and English.

Broadcast media

Main article: Broadcast Media in Kansas City

According to Arbitron, about 1.5 million people over the age of 12 are part of the Kansas City DMA, making it the 30th largest market for radio and 31st for television Nielsen ratings.


Kansas City metro television stations, with all major network affiliates represented, include:


Over 30 FM and 20 AM stations broadcast in the Kansas City area, with stations from Topeka, St. Joseph, and Carrollton also reaching into the metropolitan. The highest rated radio stations according to Arbitron:

KANU-FM and KTBG-FM, both college radio stations, are also NPR affiliates
  • KKFI-FM Locally-owned not-for-profit station

Hispanics account for five percent of the market and are served by three AM radio stations (KCZZ, KDTD, and KKHK) and a Univision affiliate, KUKC-LP.

Business interests

The Kansas City Metropolitan Area's largest private employer is Sprint Nextel Corporation. The international telecommunications company maintains its world headquarters at its 200-acre campus facility in south Overland Park. During 2005, the company employed nearly 18,500 people in the five-county metropolitan area, with wages of more than $1.16 billion generating $58 million in local and state income taxes. Sprint spent more than $21 million on property taxes and $1.74 billion for goods and services from area businesses. Sprint's headquarters was temporarily moved to Reston Virginia in 2003 after it merged with Nextel. Since then, the world headquarters has been reconsolidated in Overland Park. [8]

Other major employers are AT&T, BNSF Railway, Asurion, Cerner, Citigroup, Garmin, Hallmark Cards, Harley-Davidson, General Motors, Honeywell, and Ford Motor Company. Kansas City also has a large pharmaceutical industry, with companies such as Bayer and Aventis having large presences.

Future Business Growth

Bombardier has announced that Kansas City is in the running for a $375 Million assembly plant for its future C-Series aircraft. Bombardier cites Kansas City's prime location in between Wichita and St. Louis, both cities having a very sizeable workforce in the aerospace industry. The proposed building site of the new facility would be slightly southeast of the 1R runway at Kansas City International Airport. The proposed facility would be responsible for 2,100 jobs. If approved, construction of aircraft would begin in 2013, with full production in 2015 or 2016. [9]


The following companies and organizations are headquartered in the area:

Kansas City has a Federal Reserve Bank.

Shopping Centers

Local organizations

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ County Population Estimates-U.S. Census Bureau
  3. ^ [ Best Places to Live 2006 - Money
  4. ^ County Population Estimates-U.S. Census Bureau
  5. ^ Country Club Plaza: Official web site of the Country Club Plaza
  6. ^ About - Kansas City Public Library
  7. ^ Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City
  8. ^
  9. ^ | 03/24/2008 | Kansas City in the running for Bombardier aircraft plant

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